The Chinese have never seen so many European leaders beating their path to Beijing.
This year, France opened up the European search for stronger economic growth by a three-day visit to China in late January of its Prime Minister Manuel Valls. He was accompanied by heads of top French companies.
The Chinese Prime Minister reciprocated with a three-day visit to France last July, concluding more than 20 billion euro deals covering aircraft orders, energy and holiday villages.
Mr. Valls took that opportunity to promise that Chinese businesses would get in France "the best welcome in all of Europe."
These invitations will be high on the agenda of the French President Francois Hollande's visit to Beijing today and tomorrow (November 2 and 3), even though the French media are emphasizing the environmental issues tabled for discussion at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris on November 30-December 11, 2015.
Not to be outdone, Germany dispatched to China in mid-July its Vice-Chancellor and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel with a large group of business leaders.
That paved the way last week for a visit from his boss – the eighth since Chancellor Merkel took power in 2005 – culminating in 13 economic and industrial agreements and a $17 billion order for 130 Airbus planes. The Sino-German bilateral trade came in at $177.8 billion last year and accounted for nearly one-third of the China-EU trade transactions.
A "Eurasian honeymoon?"
If you want to bet on this, please note that these wide-ranging cooperation agreements are bringing the two countries – a "dream team" of the Chinese prime minister -- closer in the areas of finance, urbanization projects, agriculture, electric vehicles and environmental protection.
The German chancellor emphasized that her country was particularly interested to work with China in industry and finance, to participate in China's huge Belt and Road Initiative and in AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) infrastructure projects.
The Dutch King Wilhelm-Alexander also visited China last week, with a delegation of 250 business leaders representing 150 companies. He witnessed, with the Chinese president, the signing of 15 agreements in areas of trade, finance, aviation and technology.
The Chinese were apparently particularly interested in Dutch advances in agriculture, shipbuilding and in the operation of their innovative small- and medium-sized companies.