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Head of French luxury group LVMH meets Trump, mulls US investments

US President-elect Donald Trump (left) and French businessman Bernard Arnault speak to reporters at Trump Tower, New York, on January 9, 2017.

Bernard Arnault, the head of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, told reporters he was considering expanding his US factories after talks with President-elect Donald Trump at the Trump Tower on Monday.

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Arnault, 67, is the first French executive to meet the next US president at his opulent mansion, located a stone’s throw away from Louis Vuitton’s flagship New York store.

Addressing reporters after the talks, Trump described France’s richest man as “one of the great men” who “love this country”, adding that Arnault planned to create “jobs, lots of jobs”.

The French executive said his company planned to expand its Californian facilities, citing the “immense success” of Louis Vuitton products manufactured in the Golden State.

LVMH, the world’s leading luxury group, owns a factory in San Dimas, California.

Arnault also mentioned plans to open a new plant either in Carolina (without specifying whether North or South) or in Texas.

“We haven’t decided yet, but it will be done very soon,” he said.

Earlier, Trump met with Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Ma said he would help US businesses create a million new jobs by using his website to sell to China.

The Chinese tycoon described the US president-elect, who often railed against Chinese trade practice during his campaign, as “smart” and “open-minded”.

After both meetings, Trump deflected journalists’ questions about how he planned to disentangle himself from his extensive international business interests, claiming it would be “simple” to do so.

A real estate magnate and former reality TV star, Trump said he would address the topic at a press conference planned for Wednesday.

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