French President Emmanuel Macron has told China to open up its markets or face a protectionist backlash, during a three-day trade mission aimed at tapping more business from the global superpower.
One of the chief executives who traveled to China as part of Macron's 50-strong trade delegation told CNBC on Wednesday what the atmosphere was like during the trip.
"We've been listening to each other, we've been building some trust, we've been building pretty good and straightforward things, whether it be on access or rebalancing (trade), so it's been forthcoming, straightforward trust buildup," Sebastien Bazin, the chief executive of AccorHotels, said.
Bazin said the trip had been "extremely helpful" for France's corporate sector, although the visit, which took the delegation from the ancient imperial city of Xian to Beijing, had been a "long journey."
"It's been 2.5 days here (so far) and it's been a long journey. We've met a lot of people and our French president has been extremely well-prepared and to be in China and be talking with the Chinese government."
The Chinese and French governments have yet to announce any major deals, but have signed some smaller agreements.
Those announced include a 10 billion euro ($11.9 billion) nuclear contract for Areva and a partnership between Sodexo and Huawei. Airbus has agreed to boost its aircraft production from four to six planes per month in Tianjin, while President Macron said he was close to finalizing the sale of 184 A320 jets.
The AccorHotels group includes 20 hotel brands, ranging from economy to luxury, and is represented in 95 countries. It said it hosts 500,000 guests a day at its 4,200 hotel locations and has 250,000 employees.