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7 May 2009

Québec-Japan meeting

Mr. Isobe and Mr. Arcand in Québec City.

Strengthening economic ties between Québec and Japan topped the agenda at the meeting between Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, and Hiroaki Isobe, Japan’s new Consul General in Montréal, on April 30 in Québec City. During his first official visit to the capital, Mr. Isobe also met with Premier Jean Charest and several members of his government, as well as with other Québec political figures.

Mr. Arcand began by emphasizing that Japan is a priority country for the Government of Québec and an essential economic partner. He noted that bilateral trade flows are expected to grow in the future, particularly in key innovation sectors in which Québec and Japan have mutual interests (nanotechnologies, video games, photonics, environmental technologies), as well as in the areas of agrifood and culture. The Minister also informed the Consul General that he planned to lead a mission to Japan in the coming months.

In 2008, Québec’s exports to Japan grew by 10% to $866 million. Agrifood, which accounted for 56% of the total, is unquestionably the leading export category, with Japan forming the second largest international market (after the US) for Québec’s agrifood products. Aerospace and culture are also major export earners: Japan is the number one market in Asia for Québec’s cultural exports, primarily in the performing arts field. More than 650 Québec companies operate in the Japanese market, while some 50 Japanese firms are active in Québec, representing a key source of investment and jobs.

During the meeting, Mr. Arcand also noted that an initial structured cooperation program is currently being developed with a Japanese prefecture (regional government). The Québec-Kyoto Declaration, signed in Québec City in April 2008, opens the way for initiatives in the areas of forestry, climate change, academic and scientific relations, culture and heritage. Last month, Laval University and Kyoto Prefectural University agreed to promote scientific exchanges and cooperation in the forestry sector.

In addition to meeting with Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne and National Assembly Speaker Yvon Vallières in Québec City, Mr. Isobe also held discussions with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women and with the Minister Responsible for Seniors.

The Québec Government Office in Tokyo, which was inaugurated in 1973, is Québec’s largest in Asia.

Québec’s Government Office in Tokyo
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