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May 26, 2017

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Sarkozy nets US$30 bil. in trade deals with China

BEIJING -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday oversaw the signing of about US$30 billion in aviation, nuclear and other deals in what he described as an unprecedented day of trade with China.

The two major agreements announced on the second day of Sarkozy's visit to China were contracts for European aerospace giant Airbus to deliver 160 aircraft and French firm Areva to build two nuclear reactors.

Sarkozy said the value of all the deals, signed after he met Chinese President Hu Jintao in the Great Hall of the People, was worth about 20 billion euros (US$29.6 billion).

"The total amount of these contracts has never been matched before," Sarkozy told Hu shortly before the official signing ceremony, according to an AFP journalist there.

"I want to thank President Hu for his personal involvement," he said afterwards.

The most lucrative contract was for Airbus to deliver 110 A320s and 50 A330s in a deal a spokesman for the European firm said was worth US$17.4 billion, based on the list price.

Airbus spokesman Robin Tao said the agreement was its biggest ever in dollar terms with China, which has the world's fastest-growing aviation market.

Areva said its agreements to build two third-generation nuclear reactors for China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) in southern China was worth eight billion euros (US$11.9 billion) and was also historic.

Those deals also included the delivery of uranium from three African mines controlled by Areva and a joint venture to market the third-generation technology in China.

"It's a record. In the history of the civilian nuclear industry, there's never been a deal of this magnitude," Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon said.

With China seeking to rapidly build up its nuclear power industry, the deal was important for Areva after losing out in July to U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric in a bid to build four other nuclear reactors.

Other deals announced on Monday included a 750-million-euro telecommunication contract between Alcatel of France and China Mobile, and oneworth 80 million euros for Eurocopter to provide China with 10 helicopters.

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