(London) If the United States has long been the natural outlet for our exporting companies and today has a monopoly over 70% of our total exports, it is time to seek to take advantage of trade agreements that have opened doors to other markets, but which we still very shyly cross.
Posted at 6:30 a.m.
Two weeks ago, at the Farnborough International Airshow, I met the directors of two small and medium-sized companies in the aviation sector who were firmly committed to continuing their advances beyond the northern market alone – America.
Shockform, of Boisbriand, founded in 2006, has developed repair tools in the mechanical surface treatment sector for the repair of aircraft parts. Every year, the company improves its order book by diversifying its customers.
“We have grown by doing business with distributors, mainly in the US, but we have decided to have our own offices abroad, one in the US and one in France, to cover the European market,” explains Brigitte Labelle, CEO and Co-Founder of Shockform.
Four years ago, Mr.I Labelle has appointed Charlie Clouet as Head of International Development, as part of a talent acquisition program sponsored by Investissement Québec.
“Over four years, we have recorded 30% annual growth in our international sales, which have tripled in France and now make up 35% of our income. We are now ready to open an office there to be present at once,” explains Charlie Clouet.
I’ve been in this field for 16 years, and Investissement Québec’s international backing is unique. During the pandemic, when major salons were closed, we were helped to reconfigure our website.
Charlie Clouet, Head of International Development at Shockform
Shawinigan-based Delastek, which designs and manufactures cockpits for the Airbus A220 and Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000 business jets, opened a factory in Queretaro, Mexico, in 2017 to better meet growing demand.
“We are working with Investissement Québec to break into new markets in Mexico, but also in Europe. We can set our feet there,” explains Andy Lessard, Director of Business Development at Mauricie.
Delastek had the backing of Investissement Québec to set up in Mexico and is now tapping into a network of contacts of professionals from the state-owned company to drive the progress it wants to make in Europe.
Marie-Yves Jean, Vice President, Exports, Investissement Québec International emphasizes that Québec exporting companies have every interest in diversifying their markets and not limiting themselves to the United States alone.
There is a Canadian market that we often neglect. However, the export volume is $80 billion that we are not tapping enough and it is in our interest to do so.
“We also have a free trade agreement with Mexico, which we are not taking sufficient advantage of, and we also have a free trade agreement with Europe, where France and Germany are markets with strong potential,” explains Marie Ive. Jan.
Delegations related to the economy
The economic transformation that Legault’s government made to Quebec delegates abroad was well understood. All the general delegates I spoke with assured me that economic issues now occupy a large part of their activities.
The Minister of International Relations and Francophonie, Nadine Girault, explains that economic development has always been part of the work of Quebec delegations abroad, but since the new strategy was put into practice in 2019, we dedicate ourselves to it in a more systematic way. road.
We’ve maintained our strong diplomatic foundations, but added the economic phase. We want to increase our companies’ exports and we want to educate businessmen about the potential of foreign markets. We now measure progress by calculating the increase in fixed export sales for the companies we support each year,” explains Nadine Girault.
In Mexico, delegate general Stephanie Allard Gómez wants Quebec companies to benefit more from the Canada-US-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (CUSMA), particularly in the auto sector where European and Asian manufacturers must meet the 75% N standard. American content.
“We have a Director of Economic Services and five Trade Attaches that are looking to build bridges between Quebec companies and the Mexican market, where there is a lot of potential,” notes Ms.I Allard Gomez.
Martine Hebert, delegate general of Quebec City in New York, herself an economist by training, has been immersed in her world since among the delegation’s team of 30 employees, twelve are assigned to economic and business affairs.
We are involved in many front-end coils, but we rely a lot on Quebec’s expertise in transportation electrification. I just met the governor of Pennsylvania and they have a budget of $60 billion for energy and transportation. It gave him our competitive advantage.
Martin Heber, delegate general of Quebec in New York
“We also supported Technostrop in setting up a plant in Albany to collect signals for offshore wind turbines,” explains Martin Heber.
Arriving as the new delegate general of Quebec City in Munich amid the pandemic, Elisa Valentine was especially relieved to organize her first official reception in the delegation last May to highlight the founding of Optel in Quebec in the Bavarian capital.
We establish economic, political and cultural relations, but the economy is taking an increasing place in our activities. Quebec has been represented in Germany for 50 years, and we have a cooperation agreement with Bavaria for 30 years,” said the delegate general.
Finally, newly arrived last March as General Delegate of Quebec City in London, Line Rivard, who has worked for 25 years as a capital market expert at BMO, has the perfect profile to give more economic impetus to the delegation.
Our sales associates share market information and have been very busy during the Farnborough Air Show. The appointment was after the appointment. We are very satisfied with the work done with the Quebec corporate delegation.
Laine Rivard, Quebec delegate general in London
It is worth noting that the team of trade attaches in London used fellow aviation specialists from delegations in Rome, Brussels, Paris and Munich throughout the Farnborough Air Show.
For the president of the Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce (FCCQ), Charles Milliard, the economic support work that Quebec delegations are doing abroad deserves more publicity.
SMEs in regions need to develop a reaction to discover existing programs to support them in developing new markets. We must take advantage of the international agreements we have signed that are not being used enough. The French are more active in Quebec than we are in France,” the FCCQ chief laments.
To correct these shortcomings, the consortium signed a three-year partnership agreement with the Department of International Relations to organize an annual tour for Quebec heads of overseas centers in the regions where they discuss with entrepreneurs to explain their services and present their markets.
Round tables were organized in Quebec, Laval, Tribune, Trois-Rivieres, Victoriaville and Sherbrooke. Let’s hope that these meetings have motivated our entrepreneurs in the region to want to export and even focus on the urgent need to do so. Quebec is small, but the world is vast.
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