Call it Cognac diplomacy. France offered China’s Xi a special drink, in a wink at their trade spat

How do you smooth over trade tensions with the all-powerful leader of economic powerhouse China

Via AP news wire
Monday 06 May 2024 19:47 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

How do you smooth over trade tensions with the all-powerful leader of economic powerhouse China? Charm him with a bottle of Cognac, or two.

That seemed to be French President Emmanuel Macron’s strategy with his carefully selected gift list for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.

China recently opened an anti-dumping investigation into European brandy — which mainly means French Cognac. It’s seen as retaliation for EU investigations into Chinese subsidies for electric cars and medical devices.

Those disputes were central to talks between Xi and Macron on Monday. Macron said afterward that he thanked Xi for his “openness about the provisional measures toward French Cognac.”

According to the protocol of formal state visits, the two leaders then exchanged gifts.

Xi presented the French president with a striking stuffed bird, French-language books published in China, and a painting. Macron offered rare volumes by Victor Hugo, the first French-Chinese dictionary, a sculpted glass vase from Amboise — and two bottles of Cognac, a Hennessy X.O. and a prized Louis XIII by Remy Martin.

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