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Québec’s gross domestic product (GDP) is approximately CAD$376 billion and its per capita GDP is $45,511. The economy is dominated by the services sector, which produces over 75% of all goods and services. Numerous economic assets contribute to Québec’s growth:
- abundant natural resources
- hydroelectric power at relatively low production costs
- a strategic geographical situation
- a highly educated and skilled workforce
- innovative and dynamic R&D as shown by excellence in advanced technologies
- a capacity to export products across the world
Québec’s economy is also highly diversified, due in particular to the numerous advantages afforded by its physical geography. Each of its 17 administrative regions offers at least one special feature, thus helping to enhance the influence and reputation of its economy.
Natural resource development
Every Quebecer derives benefits from forest resources, be it in the form of wildlife, plants, water or wood. In addition to forest management and timber harvesting activities related to wood processing, forests are used for a wide range of recreational and educational activities, such as fishing, hunting and nature observation.
Forests are a key driver of Québec’s regional economies. The forest industry, in particular timber harvesting, wood product manufacturing and paper production, is a major pillar of the Québec economy. With over 400 primary processing plants across the regions, the industry generates approximately 80,000 direct jobs in forestry and wood processing. Over 250 Québec municipalities reap significant benefits from forestry activities.
The development of new materials, many of them energy-efficient, also contributes to the excellent reputation of the Québec forest industry.
Its abundant mines make Québec one of the world’s leading producers of iron, zinc, nickel, silver and gold. Québec also extracts non-metallic minerals, including industrial minerals and construction materials. The industrial minerals extracted in Québec are chrysotile, graphite, ilmenite (titanium ore), mica, salt, silica, sulfur, steatite and peat. The major construction materials are limestone, cement, industrial stone, clay products, sand and gravel, which are sold primarily in Québec.
The three main mining regions in the province are Abitibi-Témiscamingue (gold, silver, zinc, copper), Côte-Nord (iron) and Nord-du-Québec (nickel, gold, zinc).
Québec has made energy a centrepiece of its development. It is one of the few places in the world with an abundance of clean energy. Québec has earned international recognition for its leadership in electric power generation. Some 97% of the electricity produced in Québec is produced from a renewable source. Hydro-Québec, a government corporation, has seen a steady increase in its electricity exports.
Québec’s expanding expertise and know-how in the area of energy technologies is reflected in its development of hydroelectric projects, wind power, shale gas and bioenergy.
Québec enjoys a unique geographical location as a natural gateway to North America. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the new Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which facilitate market access, Québec is open to the world more than ever before.
Foreign markets are essential to growth of Québec companies and provide singular business opportunities for, in particular, increasing and diversifying production and creating jobs.
Although the United States is the top destination for Québec exports, European, Asian, African and Latin American markets are of increasing importance to the Québec economy.
Québec has a highly efficient export infrastructure consisting of:
- the road network
- marine terminals dotting Québec’s strategic port network
- rail terminals of the major transcontinental railway companies
- world-class airports
In addition, initiatives under the Maritime Strategy, such as developing 16 industrial port zones and establishing logistical hubs, will help boost national and international exports.
These initiatives will give firms that set up business in industrial port zones or tap into logistical hubs a definite competitive edge by enhancing integration with global supply chains and thereby attracting investment in Québec and boosting exports.
The signing of the Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement will also spawn business opportunities for Québec companies. The Agreement will enable Québec to promote and market its mining resources, which are in high demand in Asia, as well as help consolidate the position of Québec’s pork producers in the large South Korean market.
Sectors of activity and fields of excellence
Québec is world-renowned for its know-how and creativity. It excels in many industries thanks to the expertise and innovations of its specialized, high-quality workforce.
Québec is a leader in several strategic sectors, including:
- life sciences
- information technologies and communications
- environment and green technologies
- transportation and logistics
It also stands apart in the following niches of excellence:
- wood-based construction
- environment and green technologies
- technical textiles and material
- marine technologies
- mines and metals
- land transport
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