Visit by Vermont delegation: The economy and agrifood dominate discussions

Québec City, March 11, 2010 – The Québec government played host on March 10 and 11 to Vermont Governor James H. Douglas, accompanied by some dozen representatives of his government and the agrifood industry. The visit, held under the auspices of the Québec–Vermont multisectoral cooperation agreement, was part of a broader the Québec government's U.S. strategy. Its purpose was to promote economic ties between Québec firms and Vermont and to showcase Québec agrifood expertise.
Promoting economic ties
The Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Mr. Pierre Arcand, accompanied the Vermont delegation as it met with Québec City area businesses at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Québec City Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Québec City chapter of Amcham.
“A third of our exports to New England are to Vermont, making it the third biggest buyer of Québec goods and services in the U.S,” noted Minister Arcand. “We need to join with our Vermont partners to find ways to leverage business opportunities and spur trade in key sectors, particularly green energy, machinery, IT, agrifood, and tourism.”
Boost cooperation in agrifood
Vermont agrifood representatives were also part of the delegation, making stops on Île d'Orléans (Cidrerie Steinbach, Vignoble de Sainte-Pétronille, and the local development center), in Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly (Fromagerie Bergeron), and in Charlevoix (Laiterie de Charlevoix and Éboulmontaise Lamb Farm). Their visit was not only an opportunity to talk agriculture, but also for their hosts to showcase Québec expertise in reserved designations and apprise them of regional initiatives in agritourism.
In further news, Québec Premier Jean Charest together with Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Robert Dutil, Governor James H. Douglas, and the secretary of Agriculture Vermont signed a protocol to the Québec–Vermont multisectoral cooperation agreement aimed at the sharing of data and expertise in agriculture and agrifood.
“I am delighted with this formal agreement with Vermont on agriculture and agrifood,” said Minister Dutil. “Our shared geography and history give us tremendous development potential in agritourism that's particularly worth exploring in Estrie and Montérégie.”
The United States is the number one export market for Québec food products, accounting for 56% of sales. Biofood sales in Vermont were $296 million in 2009. MAPAQ has been promoting Québec food products in east coast states since 2009 under the slogan “Foods of Québec – Secrets of the Past, Taste of the Future.
Photos available on request.

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