China and France celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties on Saturday.
In 1964, France became the first major Western power to establish diplomatic relations with China.
Economic and trade cooperation
Over the past six decades, China-France economic and trade cooperation has expanded, with bilateral trade volume and mutual direct investment growing steadily.
Currently, France is China's third-largest trading partner in the European Union, with bilateral trade totaling $78.9 billion in 2023, and China is France's top trading partner in Asia.
France is the European country with the largest investment in China. It has over 2,000 foreign-invested companies in China with more than 300,000 employees.
2024 is also the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. France was the first Western power to carry out youth exchanges with China and also the first to set up a foreign cultural center in China.
Hundreds of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and France will be held in 2024, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism has said.
A series of activities covering performing arts, visual arts, cultural heritage and tourism promotion, among others, will be held, including an opening concert, a tourism promotion event, and an exhibition featuring China's Forbidden City and France's Palace of Versailles.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was France's largest source of tourists from Asia, and France was the most popular EU country for Chinese tourists. More than 2 million Chinese tourists visited France in 2019.
Under a new visa-free policy, with a trial period from December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024, ordinary passport holders from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia can enjoy visa-free travel to China for up to 15 days.
China and France currently have 111 pairs of sister cities and provinces.
The 60th anniversary, the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024 are expected to further bolster the China-France friendship.