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23 Aug 2011

The Premier promotes the Plan Nord in Japan

From August 24 to 27, Québec’s Premier, Jean Charest, will conduct a mission in Japan, accompanied by the Minister of International Relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, and the President of Investissement Québec, Jacques Daoust. He will take part in several political and business meetings in an effort to strengthen relations between Québec and Japan, a key partner in the growth and diversification Québec’s economy. He will also promote the Plan Nord.

“Our relations with Japan are not yesterday’s news. They are definitely progressing. Since 2005, large Japanese companies have invested some CAD $400 million in Québec. The some fifty Japanese subsidiaries present in Québec have created over 6,000 jobs in high value-added sectors and in many regions of Québec. The Plan Nord is an ambitious project that will capture the attention of the economic and political decision-makers in Japan,” emphasized the Premier.

During this mission, Mr. Charest will stop first in Tokyo, a true economic hub of Asia, where he will meet with potential investors from the financial world and the natural resources sector to discuss the huge potential of the Plan Nord. He will also take the opportunity to strengthen Québec’s relations with political decision-makers in Japan, particularly since Canada and Japan are planning negotiations for an economic partnership agreement. In addition, he will meet many important political leaders, such as four Japanese government ministers, including the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Takeaki Matsumoto. Then, he will travel to Kyoto, where he will meet with the governor of the Kyoto prefecture, Keiji Yamada.

“Relations between Québec and Japan transcend trade. This visit will also allow me to express in person, on behalf of Quebecers, our solidarity with the Japanese people, who have once again shown extraordinary resilience in the face of the tragic events of March 2011,” added the Premier.

Japan is one of three priority Asian countries for the Québec government, in addition to China and India. The main aim of developing Québec’s relations with Japan is to diversify our economy and promote our culture. Japan is Québec’s 8th ($885 million) export destination (2010). In the Asian-Pacific region, only China buys more Québec products than Japan. However, Japan is the top export market in Asia for value-added products. Two large export sectors have experienced a lot of success in Japan in recent years: agri-food and aerospace. Pork is still Québec’s most exported product to Japan and accounts for over one-third (37%) of our exports to the country.

It should be noted that this is the first visit by a Québec Premier to Japan since 1999 and the first visit by a Canadian dignitary since the terrible events of March 2011.

Relations between Québec and Japan
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