The Minister of International Relations leads a mission to the United States - Strengthening ties, a priority for Québec

Québec City, June 25, 2007 - The Minister of International Relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, today begins a one-week mission to the Southeast and Western United States. In Georgia, she will formally open the new Québec Government Office in Atlanta, in a region of tremendous economic growth, where Québec is committed to strengthening its trade ties. During her trip, the Minister will meet with key economic partners, city officials in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as, business leaders, in addition to attending various events to highlight successful ventures by Quebecers in the United States.

A growing level of trade between Québec and the United States

Québec has had an office to promote its interests in Atlanta since 1978, and an increased role in the US Southeast is one of the priorities set out in Québec's new International Policy, adopted last year. This region is experiencing sustained economic and demographic growth and many states offer business opportunities for Québec firms, which are already active in such important industries as aeronautics, information technology, biotechnology and automotive manufacturing. Trade with Georgia alone has reached almost $2 billion each year, while Québec firms employ over 7,600 people in the state.

“The United States is our principal trading partner. Potential in the South and Southeast is strong, not only for business but also for collaboration between universities and governments. This is a natural step forward in our relations with the US, since trade is already well-established with the East Coast and the states along the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes axis”, said the Minister.

The Québec Government Office in Atlanta promotes Québec's interests in eleven US states from the Carolinas to Florida, and westwards as far as Texas. Although it will target states with strong economic potential, Québec also intends to strengthen its historic ties with Louisiana, in tribute of the cultural heritage and historical ties shared by French-speakers in the Americas.

Minister Gagnon-Tremblay will also take advantage of her stay in Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a US government agency responsible for infectious disease prevention, study and control, in the company of representatives from Québec's Department of Health and Social Services, Department of Public Security and National Public Health Institute. The goal of the meeting is to plan possible joint action by Québec and the internationally-renowned Centers in the field of public health.

A key presence in the Western US

The Minister will also travel to Los Angeles, completing her grand tour of the six US cities with a Québec Government Office. “California is the world's fifth largest economy. It has a far-reaching influence and sets worldwide trends. Québec can only benefit from familiarity with and a presence in this zone of influence,” the Minister pointed out.

Québec and the thirteen-state territory covered by the Québec Office are already major trading partners. In 2006, the total value of trade was almost $7 billion. The priorities and recent achievements of the Québec government in the region include the development of political relations with California and Arizona, cooperation in the life sciences field, the promotion of culture, the identification of sources of investment and ongoing support for Québec studies programs.

Québec success stories in the United States

During her mission to the United States, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay will meet Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council, and Oscar Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas, to discuss the contribution made by Quebecers to the life of each city. Many Quebecers live in Los Angeles, contributing to the city's stimulating atmosphere where they have the opportunity to work with leaders in their profession. They are also increasingly likely to live in Las Vegas, the fastest-growing US city where Cirque du Soleil, Céline Dion and other Québec artists are a key part of the entertainment and services industry.

The Minister will also meet with the representatives of Québec firms doing business in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. She will attend a Québec National Day celebration in Los Angeles, an event that has been a regular feature for several years, and a reception to mark Quebecers' successes in Las Vegas.

“The creative energy of Quebecers is in demand around the world, and the theme of the National Day celebration, which focuses on success, is entirely appropriate. I would like to acknowledge the dynamic attitude of the women and men who have helped raise Québec's profile in the United States,” concluded Minister Gagnon-Tremblay.

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Information: 418 649-2400 poste 57861

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