Industrial cooperation is high on the agenda during Premier Li Keqiang's stay in France. China's deals with the world's third largest container shipping group - CMA CGM was highlight.
"July 1st will be a milestone in our Group’s history. The Chinese Prime Minister’s visit is a great recognition of the unique links our Group has developed with China, a strategic country in the Group’s development history. Those two agreements signature reinforces those links and offer new perspectives. We are proud of the honor and of the confidence that this visit demonstrates," said Jacques R. Saadé, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CMA CGM Group
Two major agreements were signed by Jacques R. Saadé, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CMA CGM Group, Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Vice Chairman, Doctor Hu, Executive Vice President China Merchants Group Limited and Mr Liu Vice Chairman and Chairman of CEXIM.
A finance agreement worth a billion US dollars will be in place, providing loans and guarantees for ship and container orders from China. The group will also build a strategic partnership with China Merchants to investigate and evaluate investment opportunities on the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
Both agreements is signed on Wednesday during Premier Li's visit to the China Merchants headquarters in Marseilles.
One Belt, One Road involves around 300 major projects to link Asia to Europe via road, rail, electricity
and Internet networks, gas and oil pipelines, as well as other sea and land infrastructure.
CMA CGM, which opened its first office in Shanghai in 1992, nearly 10 years before China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO), says it has a 10 percent share of the container shipping market in China.
The French firm, whose rivals include Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company and part of AP Moeller-Maersk, already has a partnership with China Merchants, to which it sold 49 percent of its Terminal Link subsidiary that operates container ports.
Last year, it joined forces with China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) in a vessel-sharing alliance also including United Arab Shipping Co. (UASC) to boost efficiency on key routes in a container shipping sector
battling with overcapacity.