French President Emmanuel Macron revealed on Wednesday that China intends to purchase 184 A320 jetliners from European aviation giant Airbus.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said his government "will preserve parity" in market share between Airbus and its US rival, Boeing, said Macron at a news conference.
China often times announcements of purchases of aircraft and other big-ticket items to coincide with visits by foreign leaders in an effort to defuse trade tensions.
Macron said details have yet to be completed and he gave no financial figures. At the list price for A320s, the order could total $18 billion, but large buyers often get deep discounts.
"China will preserve its volume of purchases in the future and will preserve parity in market share between Airbus and Boeing," Macron said.
Concluding his three-day visit to China, Macron, who has become the leading voice of the European Union, endorsed Xi’s massive $1 trillion program to revive ancient Silk Road trading routes.
But the French leader also warned Europeans to stay on guard to protect strategic sectors as China makes inroads through the project, known in Beijing as One Belt One Road, which seeks to build rail, maritime and road links from Asia to Europe and Africa.
"We must come up with a common position at the European level" regarding the Silk Road, Macron told a press conference.
"We can't disregard this initiative. It would mean dealing with its consequences and would be a profound strategic mistake," he said, while noting that Europeans are divided about the Silk Road revival.
"Some countries are much more open to Chinese interests, sometimes at the cost of a European interest. We can't blame them for that because we have forced very tough privatizations on them," he said.
Other business deals were made during Macron’s visit, including one for French state energy giant Areva to help build a nuclear spent fuel reprocessing plant in China.
Macron and Xi also saw eye-to-eye on the battle against climate change, with both voicing their commitment to the Paris accord in the face of US President Donald Trump's pledge to withdraw from the pact.
But the French leader defended his decision to avoid condemning China's human rights record in public, adding he and his Chinese counterpart had discussed the issue behind closed doors.
"I can entertain myself by giving China lessons while talking to the French media," he said.
"It has been done before. It doesn't produce any results."