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Thursday, October 29, 2015, 17:11

China to buy 130 Airbus jets

By Agencies

China to buy 130 Airbus jets
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right), shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct 29, 2015. (Muneyoshi Someya/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING - China has committed to buying 130 Airbus jets worth US$17 billion during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also attended the signing Thursday of agreements between Nokia Corp. and phone carrier China Mobile Ltd. and between Volkswagen AG and a Chinese bank, ICBC Ltd.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System and Deutsche Borse, which operates the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, also agreed to set up a joint venture.

The Airbus sale calls for China to buy 30 A330 jets and 100 A320 jets. Airbus has headquarters in France and Germany and employs 15,000 people at its German factory.

China is leading the world in air passenger growth, Airbus said. China's domestic air traffic will surpass that of all other countries within the next 10 years, the company predicted.

Around 5,400 new passenger and cargo planes will be needed in China in the coming 20 years, including about 1,700 wide-body aircraft such as the A330, Airbus said.

The A330 Family, which seats 250 to 440 passengers, is one of the most efficient aircraft in the world, with the lowest operating costs in its category.

Merkel, who was on her eighth visit to China since taking office in 2005, endorsed the addition of China's yuan to the basket of currencies used by the International Monetary Fund, along with the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen.

Merkel also said Germany wants to play a role in operating the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Berlin is a founding member of the bank proposed by Beijing to finance construction of ports, railways and other trade-related infrastructure.

The German leader said Berlin "would like to make our own contributions" to Chinese-led initiatives to expand trade links between Asian countries and between the region and Europe.

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