Legault wants to “double up” trade with France

Legault veut «doubler» les échanges avec la France

PARIS — prime minister François Legault has said they want to “double” the commercial exchanges between Québec and France on Sunday in the first day of his official visit to Paris.

The commercial exchanges between France and Quebec have reached a plateau at less than $ 5 billion, less than half of the trade between Quebec and Texas for example.

“Five billion is nothing. It should be double that,” said Legault in an interview with the French-language channel TV5Monde.

France is the third largest trading partner of Quebec in the european Union, behind the Uk and Germany.

The commercial exchanges between Québec and France, despite the close friendship that unites them, “represent almost three days of discussions with the United States,” said Mr. Legault.

“In Quebec, 70 % of our exports go to the United States. Seventy per cent of our eggs in the us basket,” lamented the businessman multimillionaire, elected on the promise to give the international relations of Quebec a “focus much more commercial”.

“There is an urgency to diversify,” he estimated, pointing the finger at “us protectionism, which is not good.”

“Trio” economic

To do this, Quebec will form a trio with its network of delegations abroad, Investissement Québec and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Finished the work in silos, the Quebec action will now be better coordinated, promises the prime minister Legault.

“In Quebec, 70 % of our exports go to the United States. Seventy per cent of our eggs in the us basket. […] There is an urgency to diversify ”

The premier of Quebec, François Legault

The government’s action plan giving birth to this “trio” of economic prospecting should be ready in the next few weeks, said the prime minister, on Sunday, in an interview with The canadian Press, on the sidelines of the three-day mission he heads to Paris.

Everything will be implemented to both increase the prospecting of foreign investment and increase trade.

The plan will contain targets.

“I am a man of results and what I want is to create wealth in Québec. To create wealth, it is necessary to do two things : it is necessary to increase our exports, because it comes from the manufacturing sector, where jobs pay, secondly, there is a need to attract more investment in Québec in order to increase productivity,” observed the prime minister, who will not hesitate to multiply the missions abroad.

Other missions

The canadian Press has learned that after Boston, in November, Paris and Davos in January, Mr. Legault will be in New York and Washington, d.c. in February, to carry his message, on the economic front, but also energy, with search of customers for our surplus electricity.

“We will change the role of Investissement Québec, we will better align Investment to Quebec with the delegations and conditions abroad,” added Mr. Legault, confirming that he was looking for a new president at the head of this Crown corporation, to better match the desired profile.

Investissement Québec already has 12 foreign offices, but the results are not there, in the eyes of the prime minister.

The new president will have a clear mandate : “”closer-of-deals“, as we say in English”, so multiply the investment in Québec of foreign companies who are able to offer good wages, of more than 50 000 $ annually.

The Caisse de dépôt, which has according to him “the best network in the international”, will also be utilized.

The mandate of the Québec delegations relating to diplomacy and the culture will remain unchanged, assured the prime minister, but the “commercial”, it will be significantly strengthened.

An addition of financial resources and staff to the study.

The example of France

During his three-day mission to Paris, Mr. Legault will multiply the meetings with executives of French multinationals, which could potentially invest in Quebec.

Despite its close proximity with France, Québec, ranks sixth of its trading partners.

“It’s almost ridiculous,” he says, calculating that our trade in a year with the France equivalent to “three days in the United States”.

On Tuesday, Mr. Legault will preside over a large dinner-conference on Tuesday in the Paris stock Exchange, in front of 350 guests sorted on the shutter, in majority from the cream of the business world of the Hexagon.

Mr. Legault was able to speak Sunday with the writer Dany Laferrière, member of the French Academy, in a famous cafe of the City of light, Les deux Magots, who have seen how many celebrities, such as Picasso, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

Busy Agenda

His agenda also includes meetings with some leaders of major French companies subscribing to the CAC 40 (the stock index that displays the performance of 40 of the largest French companies listed in the stock Exchange, representing the different sectors of activity).

The day of Monday will be devoted to exchanges on the political and diplomatic. The prime minister Legault will travel to the Elysée palace to greet the president and Emmanuel Macron, and will confer with prime minister Edward Philip, the president of the national Assembly, Richard Ferran, and the president of the Senate, Gérard, The Archer.

Wednesday morning, he leaves France towards Switzerland to participate in the 49th world economic Forum in Davos, around the theme of globalization. The event gathers each year the political and economic leaders from around the world.

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