The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

French president meets Chinese leader in visit to Beijing to seek business amid economic woes

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BEIJING, China - President Francois Hollande is in China on a visit aimed at shoring up trade relations amid France's worsening economic woes.

Hollande was welcomed Thursday by President Xi Jinping. Hollande is the first head of state from a major Western nation to meet with Xi since he became China's head of state last month.

Hollande is travelling with a delegation representing scores of French businesses and will visit the financial hub of Shanghai on Friday to deliver a speech.

French businesses hit by domestic declines are hoping to sign deals in China in areas from aircraft sales and car making to nuclear energy and food exports. France registered a $34 billion trade deficit with China last year and accounts for less than 2 per cent of the Asian giant's foreign trade.

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