The Premier’s mission to Washington
WASHINGTON D.C., June 26, 2018 – Today Québec Premier Philippe Couillard completed his two-day mission to the American capital to defend the economic interests of Québec’s workers, farmers, entrepreneurs, families and regions.
He met with:
- Wilbur Ross, United States Secretary of Commerce and member of the Cabinet of the United States;
- Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture and member of the Cabinet of the United States;
- Pat Toomey, Senator for Pennsylvania and member of the Finance Committee;
- Bill Pascrell, Representative for New Jersey in the House of Representatives and member of the Committee on Ways and Means;
- Richard Neal, Representative for Massachusetts;
- Sander Levin, Representative for Michigan;
- Suzan DelBene, Representative for the State of Washington;
- Ron Kind, Representative for Wisconsin;
- Mike Thompson, Representative for California;
- Brian Higgins, Representative for the State of New York and Co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus;
- David MacNaughton, Canadian Ambassador to the United States.
- The current economic uncertainty and its consequences for workers and businesses;
- The NAFTA renegotiation process;
- The consequences of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum;
- Supply management and the agricultural sector;
The Premier will be in New York on Thursday for more meetings and to participate in a ceremony, during which the Foreign Policy Association (FPA) will award him the prestigious Statesman Award.
This mission is our opportunity to defend the interests of Québec’s workers, farmers, entrepreneurs and families. We are all aware that we are currently in a period of economic uncertainty with real consequences. I reiterated the importance, for us as well as for the United States, of reducing this uncertainty by reinforcing our partnerships, even as rivalries become more and more intense on the world stage. Each meeting I attended during this mission had specific objectives. During meetings with the members of the Cabinet of the United States, I indicated that the protectionist measures instituted by the Trump administration will have consequences for both the American and the Québec economy. When I met with members of Congress, I emphasized the presence of Québec companies in their districts and the consequences for workers in their respective regions. Our economies are intertwined. Political and economic stability will help maintain investor confidence on both sides of the border. These meetings were cordial and honest, but frank, because Quebecers’ economic interest is at stake.
– Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec
- After the United States imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium on May 31, 2018, the Government of Québec deployed measures to support affected Québec businesses: $100 million was released through the ESSOR program in order to help Québec’s steel and aluminum sector. The Government of Québec has also established two partnership tables for the softwood lumber, steel and aluminum sectors in order to encourage concerted action in these sectors.
- The Ministère des Relations Internationales et de la Francophonie created an action plan after the American elections in 2016. The plan included increasing Québec’s presence in the United States and developing a network of political partners. These efforts helped to mobilize Québec’s allies. Over the last 18 months, 41 ministerial missions and 4 missions by the Premier have been carried out in the United States, including the current one. In total, the Premier and many ministers have met with American governors 40 times, American senators 20 times, 4 lieutenant-governors, 15 mayors, and the Canadian Ambassador to the United States (as well as the chargé d’affaires ad interim) 10 times. American governors, representatives, senators and mayors have visited Québec 22 times over the last year, including members of the Committee on Ways and Means, who traveled to Québec during the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations.
Facts about the Québec–United-States relationship
- In 2017, trade between Québec and the United States rose to almost $92 billion ($71 billion American).
- The United States is Québec’s biggest trade partner.
- Québec is the United States’ eighth biggest trade partner.
- The value of Québec’s exports to the United States in 2017 was over $60 billion. Almost 71% of Québec’s exports are sent to the United States.
- More than 12,000 Québec companies do business in the United States, and over 9 million American jobs depend on Canadian trade and investment (including with Québec).
- Over 1,000 American companies have a branch in Québec. The North American free trade zone is the world’s largest economic region, with a regional market of almost 480 million consumers.
- The United States and Mexico buy almost 75% of Québec’s international export goods.
- Canada is the United States’ most important customer. In 2016, Canada bought more goods and services (almost $322 billion American) from the United States than China, Japan, Mexico or the United Kingdom.