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Quebec Premier Couillard to meet with policy-makers in Washington

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard speaks at a news conference on June 16, 2017, in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard will be in Washington, D.C., today for a one-day visit that will include a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump's point man on trade.

Couillard is expected to meet with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as well as Canada's ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, and several senators during a series of meetings that are expected to focus on Canada-U.S. business relations.

It is not possible to know exactly what will be on the agenda, although NAFTA talks, softwood lumber litigation, supply management and the trade complaint filed by Boeing against Bombardier could well be on Couillard's list of priorities.

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According to government data, Quebec exported $59.4 billion worth of goods to the United States in 2015, accounting for more than 72 per cent of its international exports.

Couillard's visit comes weeks after a delegation of eight provincial and territorial leaders travelled to Washington to meet with U.S. administration officials, lawmakers, and business leaders.

Last week, Couillard said he wanted to send the message that trade agreements were beneficial to both Canada and the United States.

"Our message to the Americans is that trade agreements are good for you too," he said Friday at the close of the latest session of Quebec's legislature. "Nine million jobs in 35 American states are dependent on it."

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