Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, will be making an official visit to Russia until June 7 aimed at exploring opportunities to boost exchanges between Russia and Québec, particularly in the areas of trade, education and culture.
Over the past year, Québec has undertaken numerous activities in Russia, including a trade mission by Economic Development Minister Raymond Bachand in September 2008.
Mr. Arcand’s visit, which began on June 1, is also aimed at discussing the possibility of an official visit to Russia by Premier Jean Charest.
“Our 2009-2014 Action Plan emphasizes the need to pursue business opportunities in Russia and recognizes the country’s key role on the international stage. In this regard, Québec wishes to expand its areas of cooperation with Russia and to initiate the implementation of a permanent cooperation mechanism,” said the Minister.
Mr. Arcand will be in Moscow until June 3 for a series of important political and institutional meetings with senior officials from the Russian government and the city of Moscow. He will also visit the Moscow-Québec Interuniversity Centre, which is marking its 10th anniversary this year. The Centre, which manages a major student and faculty exchange program aimed at promoting Québec culture, has welcomed nearly 300 students and professors over the past decade.
Mr. Arcand will then travel to St. Petersburg to attend the 13th annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (June 4-6). Known as the “Russian Davos”, the event attracts leading international decision makers and high-ranking political and economic officials from the Russian Federation, including President Dmitry Medvedev.
Québec is the most active Canadian province in Russia in several areas, particularly in the economic arena, accounting for nearly 25% of the total value of bilateral trade.
News in pictures: Minister Arcand in Russia