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17 Jun 2010

Economic recovery dominates Montréal Conference

Premier Jean Charest.

Issues relating to the worldwide economic recovery dominated the proceedings at the 16th annual Montréal Conference, which ran from June 7-10 and attracted approximately 3,000 participants, including a number of prestigious guest speakers. Premier Jean Charest chaired the opening luncheon meeting.

Holding a gathering of this magnitude in Montréal provides the Government of Québec with an unprecedented opportunity to take part in discussions and forge ties with influential political and economic stakeholders.

During the conference, Mr. Charest held talks with Éric Besson, France’s Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Solidarity Development. Mr. Besson’s visit coincided with the inaugural meeting of the task force examining immigrant mobility and integration. Among other objectives, the task force is seeking to define an area of bilateral labour mobility drawing on France and Québec’s shared expertise in terms of immigration and integration strategies, policies, processes and projects.

The Premier also met with José Rovirosa, Governor of the Mexican state of Queretaro. The leaders discussed economic links between Québec and Queretaro, which has a record of strong growth. Queretaro is also the site of Québec’s largest direct investment in Mexico; in 2008, Bombardier Aerospace was the first aircraft manufacturer to launch operations in the state, which is capitalizing on the development of its aerospace industry. In addition to business opportunities, Queretaro offers a range of interesting possibilities in the cultural and educational fields. Mr. Charest and Mr. Rovirosa held their talks a few days following the Premier’s official meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, chaired the Conference’s opening session. In a reference to the proposed Canada-EU economic agreement, Mr. Arcand said: “The world needs a strong trans-Atlantic relationship.” He also raised the issue of financial sector regulation: “The market is a key source of wealth and innovation, but seems incapable of regulating itself. Regulation may be essential to globalization.” Participants in the session included Jonathan Spector, CEO of The Conference Board; Christian Noyer, Governor of the Bank of France; Jochen Sanio, President of Germany’s Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority; and Alan B. Krueger, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist for the US Department of the Treasury.

Mr. Arcand also met with Canada’s Ambassador to the EU, Ross Hornby, and discussed the ongoing bilateral negotiations aimed at reaching a new trans-Atlantic economic agreement. He subsequently held talks with the United Arab Emirates’ Foreign Trade Minister, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi.

Also attending the Conference were Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States; Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; Paul Volcker, Chair of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former US Federal Reserve Chairman; and John Major, former British Prime Minister.

The Government of Québec has played a partnership role ever since the Montréal Conference was established in 1994 under the auspices of the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

International Economic Forum of the Americas – Conference of Montréal focusing on the theme of “Innovating to Succeed in a New Global Market”
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