The Governor of the State of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, was in Montréal on February 18 to sign a new multisectoral cooperation agreement with the Premier of Québec, Pauline Marois. The agreement strengthens the commitments between Québec and Vermont, notably in the areas of trade relations, energy and transportation in addition to adding the health and culture sectors.
Taking collaboration a step further
In the area of trade, this agreement, which replaces the one signed in 2003, aims among other things to foster the smooth flow of people, goods and services and, at the same time, to improve security. In the energy field, it will expand the exchange of information and expertise to intelligent network technologies, innovative energy efficiency programs and clean energy supplies in the Northeast region.
Expanded commitments in the area of transportation range from the harmonization of transportation service standards to the exchange of information on highway safety, repairs to the international bridge at Sutton/East Richford and improvements to cross-border cycling links.
On the cultural front, Québec and Vermont agreed to stimulate exchanges in the performing arts while in the health field they agreed to explore new avenues of collaboration in the area of healthcare policies and service delivery systems. Other sectors covered by this cooperation agreement are the environment, security and agriculture.
In addition to being a key institutional partner, Vermont is Québec’s largest trading partner in New England. Trade with this region totalled CAD $3.6 billion in 2011. Conversely, Québec is by far Vermont’s largest international trading partner. Last year, 90% of Vermont’s exports to Canada were shipped to Québec while 80% of Vermont’s imports came from Québec.