Pierre Arcand pleased with initiatives undertaken in the U.S.

Montréal, June 25, 2010 – The Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, Pierre Arcand, is pleased with the meetings he had with influential figures from the political, economic and institutional sectors during his mission to Des Moines, Boston, Washington D.C. and New York. The mission's purpose was primarily to further advance plans for a high-speed train, increase awareness about Québec's hydroelectricity as a clean, renewable energy source and promote the opening of markets.
“Americans are facing challenges linked, among other things, to consolidating the economic recovery and fighting climate change, as well as to becoming energy independent. It is important to make U.S. decision-makers aware of the fact that Québec is a key partner and that, as such, it can be part of the solution. The expertise and innovation of our business people and our leadership in the area of sustainable development are advantages that were of enormous interest to those with whom I spoke,” indicated Minister Arcand.
Judging that the current U.S. situation is more favourable than ever for carrying out major rail projects and using clean, renewable, safe energy sources such as hydroelectricity, Minister Arcand took advantage of this mission to expand business opportunities and promote the opening of markets to American authorities in those areas.
“I campaigned for U.S. states to recognize, as Vermont has, Québec's hydroelectricity as a clean, renewable form of energy. Québec can contribute to the goal of Americans to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and decrease their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this regard, the potential for exporting Québec's hydroelectricity represents a part of the solution,” said the Minister.
Regarding the high-speed train project, Pierre Arcand reiterated the Québec government's commitment to and interest in working with U.S. authorities to examine various options for developing Montréal–Boston and Montréal–New York rail corridors. “These projects are mutually beneficial because they constitute tremendous levers for economic development both for Québec and the U.S. states. In addition, they contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions in the region. The input I have received from Americans during these meetings has been very positive. I am confident the plans will move forward,” added the Minister.
While in Boston, the Minister met with a number of important players including Congressional Representative William Delahunt and the Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Brian P. Murphy. This was the Minister's first mission to Massachusetts.
While in Washington and New York, Pierre Arcand spoke with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, New York Representative Louise Slaughter and New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.
Additionally, the Minister made the most of various opportunities to promote the Québec government's U.S. Strategy during conferences at the New England-Canada Business Council in Boston and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He also spoke with a network of special contacts maintained by the Québec Government Office in New York.
As a reminder, Minister Arcand launched his mission in the United States last week by participating in the Leadership Meeting of the 6th Conference of the North America's SuperCorridor Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa. He apprised representatives of NAFTA's three member countries of the advantages to the solutions put forward by Québec for dealing with common challenges such as transportation efficiency, border security and sustainable development.
The United States is the world's largest buyer of Québec products. With 300 million consumers, the U.S. market holds considerable business potential for Québec companies. Over 300,000 jobs in Québec are linked to U.S.-bound exports.

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