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The Québec Government s European Strategy SUMMARY Ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur All rights reserved Legal deposit

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The Québec Government s European Strategy SUMMARY Ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur All rights reserved Legal deposit Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec National Library of Canada ISBN : (print) ISBN : (PDF) Gouvernement du Québec, 2012 This document is printed using ecological inks on paper produced entirely from recycled fibre. The Québec Government s European Strategy Summary EUROPE A KEY PARTNER FOR QUÉBEC Open to the world and active on the international stage, Québec has equipped itself with a network of offices and representatives in Europe 1 that contribute to its prosperity. Since the creation of the first Québec government offices in Paris and London, and as a result of the Quiet Revolution, Québec s presence in Europe has spread to other territories and is now reaching Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy. The present strategy will focus on increasing synergy and improving the coordination of these offices, which are currently evolving in a European political environment that is dominated by both the growing political importance of the European Union (EU) and national interests, which are expressed just as forcefully. To this end, the network will work toward further developing its relations with the authorities of member states responsible for European affairs. The Québec Government Office in Brussels will assist in coordinating these efforts in order to influence European decisions as they are being made decisions that will have an effect on strategic issues for Québec. Every day, Québec representatives abroad work toward attaining tangible results for Québec society by helping to: promote Québec s visibility among political and economic decision makers, foreign opinion leaders and civil society; assist Québec companies in breaking into the European market; bring together researchers and scientists from Québec and Europe; promote Québec to potential immigrants; attract investment; market Québec cultural events and products; attract European students to Québec educational institutions. I France THE Québec Government Office in Paris REPRESENTS Québec ACROSS france. Québec s International Policy names France as one of its two strategic partners in the world, alongside the United States. This can be explained not only by our close historical and cultural ties but also by the fact that France possesses many assets in which Québec has a vested interest. The world s fifth largest economic power, France is an important and innovative player in highly specialized fields such as aeronautics, space, health, agri-food and digital technology. It is a pillar of European construction and holds considerable cultural influence. 1 In this document, Europe refers to the continent, from Portugal to Russia, plus the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Iceland. 3 THE QUÉBEC GOVERNMENT S EUROPEAN StratEGY Political relations with France are unparalleled, and regular political discussions bear ample witness to this fact. France is an essential stakeholder in all issues that are of concern to Québec. France is Québec s third most important economic partner in the EU. There are approximately 400 French companies in Québec and over 160 Québec subsidiaries in France. In the research field, France is Québec s second most important partner in terms of joint publications. In the cultural industry, France is Québec s largest market. The flow of people between France and Québec is truly remarkable. Every year, 600,000 tourists from Québec and France travel across the Atlantic. Close to 4,000 French citizens are admitted annually to Québec as permanent immigrants, alongside 10,000 temporary workers. Approximately 8,000 French students are registered at Québec universities and over 1,000 Québécois study in France. This close, privileged relationship was born of a common political will. It transcends all partisan allegiances within political classes in France and Québec. No intermediaries are used by the Consulate General of France in Québec and Québec Government Office in Paris, which coordinate communications between the two governments. The office benefits from privileges and immunities usually reserved for embassies. In 1965, Québec signed its first international agreement with France, laying the foundation for future cooperation. Today, bilateral agreements have reached such maturity that France and Québec carry out joint initiatives in third countries, forge alliances on multilateral issues and conclude agreements to facilitate the mobility and integration of workers. Following the official visit of French prime minister Raymond Barre in 1977, the two governments instituted alternating meetings between the Québec premier and French prime minister, at which the direction and priorities of the bilateral relationship are formulated. Many visits and ministerial missions have since maintained a constant political dialogue regarding common concerns. Every year, the Commission permanente de coopération franco-québécoise, created in 1965, and the Fonds franco-québécois de coopération décentralisée, established in 2005, support about 100 programs and projects involving researchers, academics, artists and entertainers, as well as representatives from public authorities, associations and the private sector. Six organizations strengthen this relationship, most notably the Office franco-québécois pour la jeunesse (OFQJ) (France-Québec Youth Office), the Groupe franco-québécois de coopération économique (France-Québec Economic Cooperation Group) and the Conseil franco-québécois de coopération universitaire (France-Québec Council for University Cooperation). Over the past 20 years, the remarkable expansion of decentralized cooperation with French regions has given bilateral ties a strong territorial anchoring. In that time, the office in Paris has concluded action plans with six regional councils in France: Alsace, Aquitaine, Île-de-France, Midi-Pyrénées, Poitou-Charentes and Rhône-Alpes. I the united kingdom the québec Government Office in London represents Québec in the united kingdom, the republic of Ireland and all nordic COUNTRIES. The United Kingdom is a major player on both the European and international stage, a world economic and financial power, a public-policy innovator and an avant-garde cultural and scientific centre. It is one of Europe s leading economies, and the City of London is a world centre for financial services. In more than one respect, the United Kingdom is therefore a great source of opportunity for Québec. As an example, in 2010, Québec exports reached two billion dollars there. The United Kingdom is also an important foreign investor in Québec, where more than 100 British-controlled corporations are established. As a major cultural centre, the United Kingdom particularly London, its capital constitutes a launching point for breaking into other markets. Under the devolution process, which began in 1998, Scotland and Wales have been acquiring more and more powers, and their new fields of expertise often coincide with those of Québec, opening up new areas of collaboration. These regions also become potential partners in efforts geared toward the recognition of 4 Europe a key partner for QUÉBEC the role played by federated states in the international arena. Finally, Nordic countries present interesting possibilities for public-policy partnerships, as they have set many initiatives in motion that could inspire Québec, particularly within the context of the Plan Nord and the fight against climate change. I germany the québec Government Offices in Munich and Berlin cover germany, austria and switzerland. Germany is Europe s largest economic power, its most populated country and, along with France, the engine of European construction. Europe s leading exporter, due in large part to high-tech products, Germany distinguishes itself by its competitiveness, the quality of its products, its highly skilled workers and its constant concern for the environment. In the cultural sector, it boasts an international reputation in regard to both heritage, with its prestigious museums and classical culture, and contemporary sectors. What s more, Berlin is recognized as the world capital of visual arts. Companies from Québec generate many jobs in Germany; for instance, Bombardier Transport s international head office is located in Berlin. Conversely, German companies, such as Siemens, create quality employment opportunities in Québec. Culturally, Québec puts on hundreds of cultural performances there every year. There are also currently six Québec academic centres in operation in Germany, on top of the many student mobility programs that exist and the 50 or so agreements between Québec and German universities. In addition, Québec is also developing relations with several of the länder that make up the German federation, particularly Bavaria, with which close to 500 cooperative projects have been registered since 1989, and Saxony, which recognizes Québec as a privileged international partner. As for Austria, Québec accounts for close to half of the country s trade with Canada, in addition to having a special relationship with the Land of Upper Austria. Québec has also developed political ties with the Swiss canton of Jura. I belgium the québec Government Office in Brussels has a mandate to promote québec s interests in Belgium, Luxemburg, the netherlands and with european institutions. Belgium is at the heart of Europe in more ways than one. Economically speaking, its central geographic location, between the most important countries of Western Europe, and excellent port infrastructure are commercially strategic. Politically, it is a nerve centre for international relations, with over 1,000 international organizations, both public and private, located in Brussels. Governments interested in having any influence over international decisions must therefore be present, especially since Brussels is also home to the institutions of the EU, which brings together 27 countries 2, making it the world s second largest economic power, with a market of half a billion inhabitants and a single currency used by 17 countries 3. The EU s institutions are constantly evolving, and Québec must take note. The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into effect in December 2009, reinforces the powers of the European Parliament: Euro-parliamentarians will now have to approve international accords negotiated by the EU, at a time when it is negotiating a free-trade agreement with Canada. Furthermore, the creation and filling of the post of High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have significant implications on actions outside of the EU. Entities in the federation of Belgium have full autonomy in their spheres of competence on the international scene. Québec has therefore developed fruitful institutional cooperation with the Communauté française de Belgique (CFB) (French Community of Belgium) and with Wallonia-Brussels and Flanders. The CFB is one of Québec s important partners within the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) (International Organization of La Francophonie). 2 As of February 7, Other countries are likely to join the EU during the period covered by the present Strategy. 3 Idem. 5 THE QUÉBEC GOVERNMENT S EUROPEAN StratEGY Québécois artists are very active in Belgium. Promoters regularly book our performing arts companies as part of their regular seasons or for special events, and cultural cooperation with the CFB and Flanders supports many dance, music, film and literary projects. What s more, for the past 25 years, the Office Québec Wallonie Bruxelles pour la jeunesse (OQWBJ) (Québec Wallonia-Brussels Youth Office) has supported exchange programs for 800 young francophones every year. I Italy the québec Government Office in Rome covers italy and the Vatican city state and monitors the MEDITERRANEAN BASIN. a trade branch is also located in Milan. The EU s fourth largest economy and one of its founding members, Italy is characterized by a system of innovative and dynamic small to medium-sized businesses, which often complement the activities of Québec companies. Bilateral cooperation is also expressed in the field of research and in science and technology. Italian investors growing interest in Québec and vice versa have reinforced the already substantial economic contributions made by both territories in high-value-added sectors. With its top-notch infrastructure and cultural events, Italy is an important market for the distribution of Québec s cultural products. Every year in Italy, hundreds of cultural activities create career opportunities in all forms of cultural expression. On the academic front, there are over 40 interuniversity cooperation agreements, allowing for an impressive exchange of both students and professors between Italy and Québec. Italy is also home to the Interuniversity Centre for Québec Studies, which links nine Italian universities and is the only such centre abroad. Although most cooperative exchanges in the last 20 years have taken place within the scope of the Québec-Italy Joint Subcommittee, the cornerstone of bilateral relations, Québec has also developed strategic partnerships with certain regions of Italy. Such is the case of Lombardy one of the Four Motors for Europe with which Québec is taking part in an administrative partnership for industrial and technological cooperation (PAIT). Lombardy also plays host to the World Regions Forum, bringing together the world s 17 most innovative regions and federated states, Québec among them. I spain the québec Government Office in Barcelona covers spain and Portugal. Spain is the fifth largest economy in the EU and the twelfth largest in the world in terms of GDP. It is among Québec s most important commercial clients in Europe. Spain s geographic location makes it a bridgehead for Québec businesses, institutions and artists into other countries in Europe and on the south shore of the Mediterranean. Partnership opportunities for Québec abound in scientific research centres and networks, in the aeronautics industry and in the information and communications technology, transportation, health and science, green technology and agri-food sectors. Québec constitutes the hub of economic relations between Canada and Spain, which have been on a rising trend over the past decade. The number of Spanish investors in Québec has been steadily increasing for a number of years now, and in terms of tourism, travel between Spain and Québec has grown considerably since the establishment of direct flights. Spain is also an essential market for Québec s performing artists and artistic productions. Whether large (like Cirque du Soleil) or small, every year they meet with tremendous success in the Spanish market. In addition, Catalonia, which has expressed a desire to be recognized as an important player among federated states and regions, constitutes a strategic partner for Québec, particularly in international forums regarding such fundamental issues as climate change. Since 1996, the government of Québec has had a framework cooperation agreement with the government of Catalonia, the Spanish autonomous community with the highest GDP. 6 Europe a key partner for QUÉBEC I Russia, an emerging economic power Québec must also look beyond the EU to Russia, the meeting point of Europe and Asia. Commercial trade between Québec and Russia is growing. Russia s immense needs in terms of infrastructure and technology, combined with the country s modernization plan and its internal market of 140 million consumers, offer promising business prospects for Québec in many of the sectors in which Québec companies have a strong expertise: construction and infrastructure, agricultural machinery and equipment, logging equipment and forestry, consumer goods and fashion. The present Strategy will therefore be implemented on a priority basis in the following territories and with the following partners: territories covered by the network of Québec government offices in Europe; European institutions, particularly the European Commission and the European Parliament; Russia, as an emerging economic power. It will concentrate on the following objectives: 1) Boost Québec s economic prosperity; 2) Bolster cooperation in the areas of research and innovation; 3) Foster individual mobility; 4) Promote Québec culture; 5) Increase Québec s capacity to take action and develop its expertise. 7 THE QUÉBEC GOVERNMENT S EUROPEAN StratEGY 1. BOOST ECONOMIC PROSPERITY Europe constitutes Québec s second largest trading partner after the United States. In the context of a stillfragile economic recovery and the importance for Québec companies to diversify their export territories and business partnerships, the European continent presents Québec with many interesting prospects. Europe s economic weight, its technological prowess, its geographic proximity and its business approach represent a strong growth potential for Québec. For this reason, the Québec government will continue to provide Québec companies with services that are adapted both to their business projects and to European requirements, primarily through Export Québec. The agency has a mandate to support businesses in developing, strengthening and diversifying their markets outside of Québec by offering services that are adapted to the businesses needs and which complement the services offered by the agency s governmental, regional, associative and sectoral partners. Export Québec also intends to support the establishment of Québec companies in Europe, mainly through the creation of a network of incubators in collaboration with the Entreprises Rhône-Alpes International organization. Sending trade missions to Europe, which permits Québec businesses to take part in important trade shows and fairs, and welcoming European buyers to Québec are other preferred strategies. Québec s priority territories in Europe are targeted to maximise economic results for businesses in certain sectors: France (green technology, ICT, aeronautics, textile techniques and life sciences); United Kingdom (aeronautics, life sciences and green technology); Germany (ICT, life sciences, transportation equipment and green technology); Italy (life sciences, aeronautics and agri-food technology); Spain (aeronautics, ICT and biotechnology); Belgium (life sciences, aeronautics and green technology); Russia (construction and infrastructure, agricultural machinery and equipment, logging equipment and forestry, consumer goods and fashion). Québec will also strengthen economic cooperation with European regions in order to bring together Québec and European areas of excellence. Particular attention will be devoted to developing the European market for Québec wood products and promoting Québec as a travel destination for Europeans. Finally, new projects such as the Plan Nord and Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement point to the increased development of Québec-Europe economic relations. the Plan Nord Québec boasts many assets with which to entice European investors to participate in the Plan Nord: an economy that is developed and diversified, an abundance of natural resources, a rapidly growing mining sector and the world s fourth largest production of hydroelectricity. This is why the Québec government is working to generate business opportunities in the territory covered by the Plan Nord by soliciting future European investors with the support of Québec s network of government offices abroad. 8 Europe a key partner for QUÉBEC canada-eu comprehensive economic and trade agreement Through this agreement, Québec hopes to: eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers that impede our c
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