- Previous talks between Paris and Beijing broke down in January.
- State-controlled China Eastern is seeking 150 single-aisle jets.
- China has said it will buy lots of planes in 2018.
The French government and the European planemaker have been working to salvage the contract since a visit by Macron to China in January, when he said China would buy 184 Airbus A320 narrow-body jets, an order worth $18 billion at list prices.
Industry sources said Macron returned home empty handed after a diplomatic gaffe and some of his own separate comments upset Chinese officials
Macron sent his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, to Beijing this weekend partly in a bid to move the negotiations forward.
At a joint news conference, Li said China had long been a large customer for Airbus aircraft, and noted their joint manufacturing facility in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.
"I explained to Mr Prime minister that in recent years we have bought quite a lot of passenger aircraft, and there needs to be a period to digest this. In spite of this, we are still willing to strengthen cooperation with France's Airbus," Li said, adding China planned to buy lots of planes in 2018.
"We are willing to continue discussing the issue of buying Airbus aircraft and in due course to sign agreements to buy Airbus aircraft," Li added.
Philippe said he was glad China had expressed its willingness to soon firm up its purchase commitment.
State-controlled China Eastern is seeking 150 single-aisle jets like the Airbus A320 or the competing Boeing, industry sources have said. They also say China's ICBC Financial Leasing has expressed interest in placing an Airbus order.