Chicago, December 1, 2015- From October 29th to 30th, the Premier of Québec, M. Philippe Couillard, headed his first mission in the Midwestern United States. This territory, served by the Québec Delegation Chicago, is an integral part of the strategic area of Québec.
In fact, approximately 25% of the goods exported to America are intended for the Midwest (increasing towards 30% since 2010) and Québec – together with the Great Lakes states and Ontario – is greatly involved in the management of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin (18% of the world’s freshwater reserves.
This mission had three main objectives:
1. Maritime strategy promotion in the territories most directly implicated by the Strategy (Great Lakes and the Midwest). A delegation of more than 20 business people from the maritime sector of Québec accompanied the Premier for this event.
2. The promotion of Québec exports and to demonstrate the importance of supporting Québec businesses in the territory.
3. To develop the network of institutional and political contacts in the territory.
In 24 hours, the Premier's mission was able to accomplish all three goals:
Maritime strategy: Organized by the DQC and the Ministre de l’économie, innovation et exportations (MEIE), this component included high level meetings with potential investors; a visit to Burns Harbor (Indiana) and Chicago; a working meeting with industry stakeholders; a reception offered by the Ports of Montreal where the Premier addressed approximately 180 participants.
Exports component: The Premier held working meetings with Québec exporters. One of their businesses, (St-BeauboisGeorges-de-Beauce), has recently obtained an important contract for the construction of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (one of the top 15 American universities).
Agri-food partnership: Without question, one of the most important aspects of the mission was the announcement of an important agri-food partnership with the Roundy’s group, one of the most important grocery store chains in the U.S. The product of the hard work of the DQC, this partnership, in four components, of which the actualization will take place over the next twelve months, constitutes a way for excellent Québec products to be showcased and to facilitate their distribution and marketing in a priority market for Québec.
Political and Institutional component: The Premier took advantage of his visit in the economic and cultural hub of the Midwest to meet with governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. He also gave a speech before a distinguished platform, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. This speech, which dealt with the themes such as maritime strategy, climate change, and Québec-Midwest relations, was well received by an audience composed of important political and economic decision makers from Chicago.