Bilateral trade between France and China has developed dramatically over the last twenty years. From about 10 billion in 1995, trade volume increased to more than 40 billion today. The annual growth rates of these exchanges apart from 2009, marked by the global crisis have reached 15% per year for a decade. However, the goods trade is strongly unbalanced. In 2009, for instance, for 30 billion of imports from China, France exported only 10 billion to China. The two countries must strive to reduce this imbalance to maintain mutually beneficial business relationships in the long term.
Recognition of Communist China on January 27, 1964, was the starting point for official relations between PRC (People's Republic of China) and the French Republic. France, led by General de Gaulle, is the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with China. Its support won France a great deal of goodwill, but bilateral relations became much more intense with the policies of reform and greater openness that China adopted in 1978.
In 1995, President Jacques Chirac opted for a special relationship with China. On the occasion of his visit to China in 1997, the two countries signed a "Joint Declaration for a Global Partnership" which sets targets for closer political, economic and cultural exchanges between Paris and Beijing. This pioneering partnership is based on a central mechanism: the Franco-Chinese strategic dialogue which is designed to offer to the two presidents an ideal forum for consultation in which all subjects albeit bilateral or/and global may be addressed.
This dialogue is led by Special Representatives of the two heads of state. The mechanism provides for a regular plenary session, alternately in France and China. Informal sessions also occur. The strategic dialogue has gradually structured by the formation of working groups on particular themes. Its covers a lot of areas such as the non-proliferation, strategic issues, geographical development issues (e.g. in Africa).
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