During a trip to Beijing on Sunday, the Finance Minister of France stated that completely shutting off economic ties with China was unrealistic. This comes when some Western countries are beginning to reconsider their reliance on the Asian superpower.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters at the French embassy that “decoupling” is a myth, an illusion, and they strongly reject the entire concept of decoupling.
The economies of the United States of America, Europe, and China can’t be decoupled from one another, says Le Maire.
Despite the proclamation, Le Maire supported France’s goal to enhance its economic autonomy in several vital sectors. But, as he explained, the idea of de-risking, the latest buzzword in Western countries, doesn’t imply that the PRC is a risk, as he put it. De-risking refers to the process of becoming more self-sufficient.
Le Maire said the French don’t want to realize, as they did during the Covid crisis, that they depend too much on some very specific components. He noted the use of microchips as an example of this. He said France doesn’t want to acknowledge “our excessive reliance on certain specific components.”
The remarks from Le Maire coincide with Western nations’ efforts to reduce their dependence on China’s economy. Germany considers the Asian country its most significant trade partner and an essential market for its automobile sector.
During a visit to Beijing earlier this month, United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that it would be challenging for the economies of the United States and China to decouple. The United States has also called for de-risking from China.
Just one month ago, Premier Li Qiang of China stated that de-risking is a false proposition. China opposes Western initiatives to de-risk.
Le Maire is currently in China for high-level economic discussions. On Monday, he will visit the southern technology capital of Shenzhen to meet with business executives.