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17 May 2010

Economic growth and diversification: Québec looks increasingly to East Asia

Pierre Arcand with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng and Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay.

Québec must bolster its presence in East Asia, according to Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, who recently returned from an economic mission to South Korean and China (May 9-14). With both countries recording sustained growth and showing increasing openness to international markets, Québec companies and institutions will have to position themselves accordingly.

South Korea

“My visit to South Korea provided me with insight into high-potential areas for Québec. The country is part of the larger integrated Asian market, which includes Japan and China. We must forge stronger ties with South Korea, which has gained impressive momentum in economic, technological and cultural terms,” said Mr. Arcand.

The main objective of the Minister’s mission was to position Québec with respect to a growing market that is opening up to the rest of the world. “Needless to say, building our relationship will be a long-term process, although Korea’s business leaders and authorities have made their intentions clear, as I found out during meetings with potential investors. With South Korea currently investing more in non-traditional export markets, Québec is a partner of choice in many respects, particularly since we offer a strategic gateway to North America and have abundant natural resources,” added the Minister.

During the mission, the University of Montréal signed education cooperation agreements with Seoul National University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. While boosting the research and training capacities of the institutions involved and promoting student/faculty exchanges, the agreements underscore the value of Québec’s education offer. They also set the stage for broader cooperation, particularly in the area of language training.


During his visit to China, Mr. Arcand met with the Mayor of Shanghai, the Director General of the Shanghai Education Commission and the Director General of the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office. Various promising cooperation opportunities were discussed with a view to fostering exchanges in areas ranging from trade, science and technology to education, training and culture.

On May 14, Mr. Arcand and Montréal Mayor Gérald Tremblay attended the official opening of Espace Montréal, located in the Best Urban Practices section of the Shanghai Universal Exhibition, which is expected to draw upwards of 70 million visitors.

“This is a unique opportunity to showcase Québec’s world-class expertise and green technology industry for an international audience. Highlighting the contribution of the City of Montréal is another way of raising Chinese awareness of Québec. In addition, China recently recognized Canada as an authorized destination, which will enable Québec to tap into a large pool of potential tourists,” concluded Mr. Arcand.

China is one of the priority countries outlined in Québec’s international policy. In addition to promoting trade and investment, Québec’s initiatives in China are aimed at fostering exchanges in the areas of education, science and technology. Québec’s cultural products are also gaining ground in the Chinese market, thereby contributing significantly to efforts to promote Québec’s identity, language and cultural industry.

Québec Trade Branch in Seoul
Québec Government Office in Shanghai
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