Since taking office just in September, the new Consul General of France in Guangzhou, Mr. Bertrand Furno, talks to us about French culture, life in China and those important trade figures…in his first formal interview with the local media. Expert and experienced in economics, Bertrand confirmed that the priority during his tenure will be given to economy.
China is France's second largest economic partner worldwide, second to Germany, and Guangdong's input accounts for up to 20% of the total bilateral trade.
'I should be pleased to see a gradual transformation of the image of France as more as a technological partner and not only a provider of good food and good wine and luxury products, it's very important for our exports. France is not only that.'
After working overseas for almost two-decades, Bertrand has managed economic services in various embassies across Europe, North-Africa, the U.S. and at the French institute in Taipei. He is ready to tackle the dramatically decreasing trade figures between the two regions.
Trade between France and China reached a staggering 9.4 billion USD in 2013, but in just one year, from 2012-13 trade figures dropped drastically by over 16%.
Good news for Guangdong though as exports saw a slight increase but France was hit yet again but an almost 40% decrease in imports, potentially resulting in over a billion USD supplementary loss for France.
'So it is positive news for Guangdong's exports to France, but it is clearly a concern for us.'
In 2013 there was a slowdown in the wine and spirits market in china, so it could explain a part of the decrease in French exports to GD, otherwise maybe some slowing down in industrial sectors…If we have some recovery of the economy in Europe we can expect some more positive results in 2015.'