President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday offered to open up France to Chinese investment in exchange for greater access to Chinese markets for French companies, warning that existing trade imbalances would lead to protectionism.
Xi, who had already hosted Macron and his wife Brigitte for dinner on Monday night, treated the French leader to a military honour guard at the hall before their meeting.
Macron is keen to sign more trade and investment deals, but wary of giving too much away to China, a country that has been roundly criticized for not opening up its own markets to investment and trade while making the most of openness elsewhere.
Despite their amicable tone, the visit produced no breakthroughs on Europe's mounting frustration over China's market barriers and complaints its exports of low-priced steel are threatening European jobs.
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"This requires a strong France".
Other business deals were made during the visit, including one for French state energy giant Areva to help build a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing plant in China.
Chinese online retailer JD.com has unveiled plans to sell €2bn of French goods to Chinese consumers in the next two years.
Unveiled in 2013, the Belt and Road project is aimed at connecting China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
"China supports France to play a bigger role in the integrity of Europe", said Xi.
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Macron forged the slogan - an echo of United States president Donald Trump's "make America great again" - previous year to show his continued support for the Paris Agreement in the face of Trump's decision to withdraw the US.
Accompanied by students from the French worldwide school, Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte walked through the imperial palaces of the Forbidden City.
At the Forbidden City's pavilion of Supreme Harmony, Macron drew a parallel with the 19th Communist Party congress.
Its president, Dominique Langlois, is part of the delegation of about 50 business leaders who joined Macron for his trip. "This also comes from a profoundly anchored history in this country".
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