No doubt, Quebec is open for business. After years of low export growth, Quebec companies are forecast to have two years of solid sales growth this year and next. This kind of success speaks to Quebec exporters’ ability to capitalize on opportunities stemming from the lower Canadian dollar and a stronger U.S. economy.
And right now, one third of these growing exports are headed to the seven Northeastern United States; Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Hampshire; to the tune of more than $13 billion last year.
“We hope to get those numbers higher,” says Claudine Carpentier, Director of Trade Corridors for the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ).
No doubt, trade is key to economic development in both Quebec and the Northeastern United States. In fact, businesses on both sides of the border have a vested interest in increasing the trade relationship, says Carpentier, and for many reasons.
For one, the geographic proximity between Quebec and the Northeastern US certainly encourages localized trade, as do the similarities of the main industry sectors for both regions.
“Not to mention the quality and expertise of our respective markets which are recognized worldwide, and can serve as a competitive advantage,” adds Carpentier.
With a network of more than 140 chambers of commerce, the FCCQ represents more than 60,000 businesses throughout Québec. The FCCQ’s main goal is to promote an innovative and competitive business environment for Quebec business.
Particularly in sectors like aerospace, defense and maritime transport; the food industry; construction, green building and technology; energy; life sciences; information technology; roads and transportation and new manufacturing technologies, says Carpentier.
“That’s the Quebec advantage,” says Carpentier, “where we see the most promise moving forward. And the FCCQ plans to help promote this innovation and make Quebec companies more competitive.”
So what do Quebec companies need to penetrate the Northeastern US?
Qualifying and finding buyers is one the biggest hurdles, says Carpentier. “In order to take advantage of opportunities, companies need to know how to find markets for their goods and services, how to find the right business partners and how to develop the right network,” she adds.
“There is a huge market, right next door to our province, says Carpentier. “And with today’s low dollar, there are so many more opportunities in the region that Quebec companies can take advantage of.”
Which is why the FCCQ launched COREX; a program developed to spur trade between Quebec and the Northeastern United States. The goal of COREX is to promote trade between the two regions, to encourage more Quebec companies to export and help make it easier for them to do so, to increase total exports to the region from Quebec and to help companies better target the market in order to grow internationally.
COREX Portal for Quebec exporters
To do so COREX has created two tools for exporters; an information portal and a networking platform to support growth for Quebec specifically in the Northeastern US.
The web portal is designed to help companies evaluate if they are ready to export, identify the best sector of activity and propose trade corridors with the most potential for their goods or services. Essentially it contains all the information they might need to access key trade corridors in the North East US, says Carpentier.
COREX Opportunities B2B networking platform
The COREX Opportunities B2B networking platform is designed to strengthen and grow trade between companies in the Northeastern United States and Quebec by assuring properly targeted networking; how find buyers and suppliers; target new markets and connect to new business partners.
“No doubt, Québec’s potential in terms of economic development is strong,” says
Carpentier. “But we have a small domestic market, so we need to focus on developing international trade, specifically in niches where we excel. That’s what will keep Quebec competitive in the long-term.”
To pre-register with the COREX Opportunities B2B networking platform and find opportunities this September, at www.corexb2b.com