China signs $20bn deals with France

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The Independent Online

The Chinese President Hu Jintao oversaw the signing of multibillion-dollar aircraft and nuclear fuel contracts with French companies yesterday and pledged close co-operation as Paris prepares to take over the G20 presidency.

Chinese officials signed contracts to buy 102 Airbus planes for a number of Chinese airlines and deals with Areva to build a nuclear-fuel treatment factory in China and supply uranium over 10 years. The contracts totalled $20bn (£12bn).

Mr Hu's three-day state visit to France, after which he travels to Portugal, comes at a time when European Union leaders have closed ranks with Washington in urging China to allow its yuan currency to appreciate more quickly, unsettling relations between Beijing and Brussels.