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China, France sign plane, nuclear deals worth $27 billion

China and France signed major deals for passenger jets and nuclear reactors worth $27 billion  on Monday, after the nations’ presidents vowed to promote cooperation in trade and international affairs.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao attended signing ceremonies for 21 agreements at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. Aviation firm Airbus signed two deals worth an estimated €10 billion ($14.8 billion) for 160 passenger jets. The Airbus deals included a framework agreement with China’s state-run aviation export company for the purchase of 110 A320 passenger planes and 40 A330s, plus an order by China Southern Airlines for 10 A330s. An Airbus official said the larger deal was a “general terms agreement,” with the purchasing airlines and time scale for delivery to be worked out later. The total list price of the 160 aircraft was €11.7 billion ($17.4 billion), the official said.

French nuclear power firm Areva signed what it said was the biggest-ever contract in the industry, an €8 billion ($11.8 billion) deal to build two European pressurized-water reactors in Taishan city in the southern province of Guangdong. Areva it also planned to set up an engineering joint venture with the Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, which agreed to buy 35% of the uranium produced by Areva’s African-based subsidiary UraMin.

The China National Nuclear Corporation signed a separate agreement to cooperate with Areva on feasibility studies for the construction of a spent fuel reprocessing-recycling plant in China. “This partnership represents a major step in the history of the Areva group,” Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon said after the signing. “It is the largest international commercial contract ever won by the French nuclear industry,” Lauvergeon said. “It reaffirms our global nuclear leadership and reinforces our presence in one of the most promising markets for the decades to come.” Other documents signed on Monday included a joint statement on fighting climate change, and cooperation agreements on urban sustainable development, disease prevention, product safety and telecommunications. (m&