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China airlines sign US$9.7b Airbus deals
(China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2005-12-06 05:49

PARIS: China and France yesterday demonstrated their commitment to stronger bilateral ties with lucrative commercial deals and firm political pledges on the second day of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit.

China airlines sign US$9.7b Airbus deals
French President Jacques Chirac (right) greets Premier Wen Jiabao on the steps of the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday. Wen is on the second day of a four-day visit to France. [Reuters]
Wen and his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin oversaw the signing of 14 agreements in a wide range of fields following 80 minutes of talks.

In the largest-ever deal with Airbus, China ordered 150 A320 mid-range single-aisle aircraft for six airlines.

The jumbo order, worth US$9.7 billion, will give the European plane maker a big boost in the fast-growing Chinese aviation market, where its rival Boeing currently holds a market share of around 60 per cent.

On Sunday, Airbus also signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Development and Reform Commission that could lead to the opening of an assembly line in China.

Harbin Aviation Industries Group yesterday inked an agreement with European helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter to jointly produce a new civil aircraft.

The new helicopter of six to seven tons named the EC175 will go into development in 2006 and production is due to start in 2011, Eurocopter said in a statement.

Other contracts signed included one under which French company Alcatel would make a Chinasat 6B telecommunications satellite and a US$175-million financing agreement for the construction of a high-speed rail line in China.

Villepin said all the secured deals added up to "nearly 9 billion euros".

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