Interviewees: Mr. Denis Turcotte, Quebec Gov't LA Represenative together with Ms. Caroline Normandin, Director, Economic Affairs (Date: July 6, 2007; Place: Westwood, Los Angeles, California; Interviewer/Writer: Takahiro Miyao)
Summary of Mr. Turcotte's Interview
Our mission here in California is diverse, ranging from economic and investment purposes to cultural and public affairs. As far as economc matters are concerned, our main objectives are (1) to develop markets for Quebec products, such as Trader Joe's chain stores handling a lot of maple syrup, cheese and other products from Quebec, for example, and (2) to encourage US investments in Quebec, especially in such advanced fields as multimedia, energy, aerospace, defense, etc. From the Californian viewpoint, currently the hottest areas include optoelectronics and gaming.
In competing with other regions, Quebec has an advantage because of its excellent work force as well as safe and comfortable living conditions, especially in and around Montreal, with multi-cultural backgrounds. Nowadays, high quality labor force has become a more and more imporant factor for business decisions rather than simply low cost labor availability. In this respect, Quebec has been improving its competitive position in terms of education, research and immigration policies.
Here at the LA office with few staff members covering so many fields and so wide geographical areas, we must focus our efforts as pointed out above, while always keeping in mind that we in the public sector are working for the private sector to succeed by promoting a cooperative relationship between the public and the private sectors for the sake of Quebec citizens.
Finally, we often use the example of products "made in Japan" to illustrate the importance of branding and perception in promoting our own products. The meaning of the word "made in Japan" has completely been changed since the 50s and 60s, due to the high quality of Toyota and Honda automobiles these days. We are trying to change our perception in the US, following Japan in this regard. Reference: Quebec Government Office Los Angeles: http://www.quebec-losangeles.org/