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17 Oct 2012

Québec - France: A direct and privileged relationship based on innovation and creativity

Québec Premier Pauline Marois said she was very pleased with this first visit to France: “We received a warm welcome. Our relations with France are grounded in a common history as well as in a deep bond of friendship.” (Photo: Patrick Lazic)

The Premier of Québec carried out her first mission to France at the invitation of President François Hollande to establish contact with French political authorities. During her visit, both governments laid the groundwork for a new stage of relations based on innovation and creativity, especially with regard to youth, culture and the economy in order to further affirm the uniqueness of relations between France and Québec in concrete terms.

“Québec and France have maintained a direct and privileged relationship for over 50 years. This visit has enabled us to initiate a new phase that will deepen that relationship on political, cultural, social and economic levels,” said the Premier.

Alternating visits by the Premier and Prime Minister

In addition to President Hollande, Ms. Marois met with her counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who will come to Québec in early 2013 within the scope of alternating visits by the Québec Premier and French Prime Minister.

She likewise met with:

  • Pierre Moscovici, Minister of Economy and Finance,
  • Jean-Pierre Bel, President of the Senate,
  • Claude Bartolone, President of the National Assembly.

Ms. Marois also addressed the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), one of France’s most influential research institutes.

Importance of economic relations

The Premier concluded her mission with a discussion with a group of business people gathered at the initiative of MEDEF International (Mouvement des entreprises de France) and Investissement Québec. During the discussion, she stressed the importance of economic relations between France and Québec.

“France is a natural and essential economic partner for Québec. In fact, France is the country with the second largest number of foreign companies operating in Québec. This equates to some 300 French subsidiaries that are contributing to the development of our economy. Furthermore, close to 150 Québec companies have operations in France,” said the Premier.

Innovation and cooperation between France and Québec

Ms. Marois also stressed the fact that the joint actions carried out in connection with the proposed Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement as well as the Québec-France Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications illustrate the capacity for innovation inherent to cooperation between France and Québec.

Additionally, the Premier presented a set of economic development measures that Québec intends to put forward. They include:

  • creating an Economic Development Bank
  • devising a development strategy for the manufacturing sector
  • implementing an aid program for young entrepreneurs.

In 2011, trade with France totaled 4.1 billion dollars, making France Québec’s fifth largest foreign trading partner.

Québec Premier Pauline Marois met her French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault (Photo: Patrick Lazic)

Ms. Marois also met with French Minister of Economy and Finance Pierre Moscovici (Photo: Patrick Lazic)

Québec-France Relations
Recognition of Professional Qualifications
Exporting to France (in French)
French Institute of International Relations – IFRI (in French)

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