hspace=6International trade agreements between Canada and the European Union could pave the way for similar negotiations between the U.S. and the EU, says Quebec's international relations minister, Pierre Arcand, speaking as part of a panel discussion on transatlantic relations at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. The panel was hosted by Jeffrey Rosensweig, an associate professor of finance and the director of Goizueta's Global Perspectives Program, and included Lutz Görgens, Atlanta's German Consul General.

One in five jobs in Canada is linked to international trade, says Arcand. That's why the premier of Quebec has promoted the negotiation of next-generation partnerships. In fact, we have said to the EU, you should start with Canada. It will be the template for your negotiations with the United States.

An example of such partnerships is an agreement signed in 2008 between Quebec and France, the first of its kind, to allow skilled workers, such as doctors or plumbers, to practice freely in either territory by the end of 2010. This kind of innovation creates momentum for the negotiation of an economic partnership between the EU and Canada, says Arcand.

He adds that in his view, protectionism is just hiding the problem. He cites Quebec's pulp and paper industry, which has been in decline over the last 10 years due to lack of demand, combined with competition from South America. If we had protectionist measures we would just be buying a few years, because we still wouldn't be able to compete, he says.

Arcand's successful record in business and academia, as well in politics, made him an ideal speaker to invite to Goizueta, says Rosensweig. Indeed, prior to Arcand's election to the Quebec National Assembly in 2007, he held senior management positions in the radio industry and co-owned several radio networks.

In a follow-up podcast with Knowledge@Emory, Arcand discusses trade between the U.S. and Canada, the Quebec business environment, and how his business background has helped him in government.

To hear the Q&A discussion with Quebec's Pierre Arcand, please click here.

Photo: Pierre Arcand, Quebec's international relations minister, left, and seated from right, Professor Jeffrey Rosensweig and Lutz Görgens, Atlanta's German Consul General.