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16 Oct 2009

Environment: Minister Arcand highlights positive results of mission to China

At the end of the recent mission that he led to China, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie Pierre Arcand announced the signing of a higher education agreement and took stock of the agreements signed by the representatives of various companies who accompanied him on the trip. Among other things, the mission was aimed at raising awareness of Québec’s environmental products and services in the strategic Chinese market.

The Minister was accompanied by people from 45 Québec companies — the largest environmental business delegation to participate in a mission to China led by a Québec government minister. For a number of these companies, the trip generated tangible results. The wastewater treatment company Premier Tech Environment, for instance, announced the signing of an agreement with Wuhan Trust Communication Ltd. to build a treatment plant in Huangmei, in the province of Hubei. Unima, a multimedia technology firm that took part in an earlier mission to China in 2006, signed two partnership agreements regarding the development of its technology in China, thanks in part to support from the Québec consortium Prompt.

The Minister’s trip to China also featured the opening of the offices of the firm Sinologik, which is currently carrying out a study for the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation (MDEIE) of the potential in northern China for Québec businesses in the field of the environment.

In Shanghai, the Minister was welcomed by the Science and Technology Commission and the city’s Foreign Enterprise Office. He then opened an exhibition on the life of Dr. Norman Bethune, in the Montréal Garden pavilion in Pudong Century Park. Before an audience of more than 50 Chinese journalists, he announced Montréal’s participation in Expo 2010 Shanghai, where Québec’s largest city will showcase its urban development expertise.

One of the main thrusts of the mission consisted in a series of environmental forums and talks, followed by networking sessions for the Québec delegation who accompanied the Minister to Beijing, Tianjin, Jinan and Shanghai. These events were an opportunity for Pierre Arcand to tell several hundred participants about Québec’s environmental expertise and the initiatives deployed by the Government of Québec in the areas of sustainable development and the fight against climate change.

At the political level, Pierre Arcand met with China’s Vice-Minister of Education, Hao Ping, with whom he signed a new cooperation agreement in the area of higher education. In addition to bursary and exemption programs for students and researchers, the agreement covers important aspects such as professor and student exchanges. Minister Arcand also met with the Vice-Governor and Executive Director of the Environment Department of Shandong, a Chinese province with which Québec already has a cooperation agreement.

The mission included a tour of Tianjin Eco-City, an ambitious sustainable development project flowing from a cooperation agreement between the governments of China and Singapore. The visit was an opportunity for the Québec delegation, consisting mainly of businesspeople, researchers and representatives of government agencies, to appreciate the scope of China’s needs with respect to mitigating the environmental impact of developments and the country’s governance challenges.

The mission was also aimed at promoting Québec in China as a business tourism destination. Deputy Minister of Tourism Louise Pagé established the terms of a cooperation agreement with the Shandong Tourism Bureau, aimed at stimulating tourism between Québec and China, and launched a Chinese-language brochure on business tourism in Québec.

Mission wrap-up (video and transcript of the Minister’s press conference)
Relations between Québec and China
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