Nations to jointly tap nuclear markets
France also vows to simplify visa procedures to attract Chinese tourists, businesspeople
China and France will jointly explore the international nuclear power market, while pushing ahead with existing nuclear projects.
This was announced by Premier Li Keqiang and visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Friday at a news briefing after they met.
“We agreed to jointly exploit third-party nuclear energy markets. China hopes the two countries can find broader space in the markets,” Li said.
He also urged Chinese and French businesses to expand cooperation in areas such as urban sustainable development, new energy, healthcare, modern agriculture and information technology.
He said he hopes that France will play a constructive role in the negotiation of a China-Europe investment agreement.
Li said he expects France to make efforts to push the European Union to stick to the free trade principle and be cautious in using trade remedy measures.
Ayrault, who arrived on Thursday for a week-long visit to China, told reporters that France will streamline visa procedures to two days from next year for Chinese tourists and businesspeople making short-term visits to the country.
He said he would welcome more Chinese tourists visiting France, adding that it aims to host 50,000 Chinese students by 2015.
Ayrault said the two countries have had substantial results in joint work on food and agriculture. “Chinese consumers will soon taste French pork and other products,” he said.
It is Ayrault’s first visit to China in his current capacity, and the second by a French leader this year, after President Francois Hollande’s in April.
Vice-Premier Ma Kai said when meeting Ayrault that nuclear energy cooperation has been highlighted in bilateral exchanges. He told the French guests that construction of new nuclear reactors will follow the highest international safety standards.
He also sees plenty of opportunities for Chinese and French companies to cooperate on nuclear reactors, recycling of nuclear fuel and nuclear safety supervision.
Lu Chunhua, an engineer at the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, said Chinese nuclear companies are confronted with technical barriers when going global, and cooperation with France can make up for the technical disadvantages.
Jean- Christophe Niel, director-general of the Nuclear Safety Authority, an independent agency supervising civil nuclear safety in France, said exchanges between the authority and China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration are going well.
“A key principle in nuclear safety is that each country is responsible for its own safety. But we are willing to exchange good practices and learn from each other,” Niel said.
He said he is looking forward to discussing upgraded safety standards for newly established reactors with his Chinese counterparts.
The latest Sino- French nuclear cooperation project, in Taishan, Guangdong province, is expected to become operational next year.
Ayrault said, “In Taishan, our cooperation on nuclear power is reaching new heights.” He said work is progressing steadily and he hopes it will pave the way for a deal for another two reactors.
A joint investment of 50.2 billion yuan ($8.13 billion) has been made on the first phase of the plant by China Guangdong Nuclear Power and Electricite de France.
In another development, Premier Li also met visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday. Both leaders pledged to deepen cooperation.
Premier Li Keqiang and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault unveil a logo on Friday at the Great Hall of the People in celebration of next year’s 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.