Airbus China appoints Eric Chen as Chairman, George Xu as CEO

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Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to maintain order volumes and parity between Airbus and rival Boeing, Macron told a news conference Wednesday. Meanwhile, French beef producers hailed a deal reached during Macron's visit that Beijing would end its embargo on French beef imposed in 2001.

"On the order for 184 A320s, it's something that will be finalized shortly", Macron said of a potential sale for aeronautics giant Airbus, Channel NewsAsia reports.

Reuters says that the larger significance of the visit may be Macron's calls for European unity in dealmaking with China.

At Airbus list prices for the single-aisle planes, the deal could be worth at least €15 billion ($18 billion).

There were also rumours that Airbus would offer to build an A380 cabin completion centre in China as part of an effort to win more orders for the superjumbo from Chinese airlines.

Airbus' industrial footprint in China dates back to 1985, when the first product subcontracting agreement was signed with Xi'an Aircraft Company.

Simultaneously, George Xu has been appointed CEO of Airbus China.

On paper, it could therefore be an excellent fit for Chinese carriers.

Xu has considerable manufacturing experience, having helped set up the Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, of which he was chairman from 2011 to 2014.

Ninety percent of China's beef imports come now from Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand. "As the Chairman of Airbus China, I will continue to support Airbus' development in China", said Chen.

During Macron's visit, French power group Areva signed a memorandum of understanding with China National Nuclear Corp for cooperation in nuclear waste processing.