Our Friendly (Francophone) Neighbors to the North
As part of our Export Development committee work, I was invited to take part in the Massachusetts-Quebec Cooperation Conference. Visitors from Quebec included the President of the National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon, and several of their own legislators. I was pleased to serve in the role of host with my Senate co-chair of the Export Committee, Senator Eileen Donoghue of Lowell, and other members of the committee.
Canada is Massachusetts’ top trading partner, with our closest neighbors Quebec figuring significantly in that relationship. For example, Massachusetts imports significant amounts of lumber from Canada, and exports medical devices, among many other goods.
Discussion focused on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the uncertainty in global trade right now. The Trump Administration is currently renegotiating NAFTA, with new barriers to trade that could hurt businesses on both sides of the border, something that we discussed at length with our guests.
We look forward to further engagement with our Quebecois friends as we learn more from them, and they from us on issues such as the environment, jobs training, trade, and more.