The Strategic Forum “Montréal: alive with the international” was held on April 27; it was developed jointly by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, Montréal International and Investissement Québec. The event brought together over 500 business leaders, decision makers and students who wanted to know more about the impact of exports, international talent and foreign direct investment on the city and its economy. The conference took place with Québec Premier Philippe Couillard and the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, François Blais, in attendance. Here are three messages to retain from the Strategic Forum.
1. Greater Montréal’s integration to the global economy has a big impact on our collective wealth
The morning got started with the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and Montréal International releasing the results of a study entitled Greater Montréal: Connected globally for more collective wealth. This study, carried out with the support of the Government of Québec, demonstrates the contribution of international trade to the prosperity of cities based on a new indicator: the connectivity index. The index takes into account four types of trade: exports, people, capital and data.
The study shows that Montréal ranks seventh in North America with respect to connectivity and third in its economic space, the eastern part of the continent. The city’s strong connectivity results in faster increases in GDP, productivity and median household income for Montrealers. The study shows that Greater Montréal was one of the winning regions in internationalization: our economy and household income are strengthened by our being open to the world.
2. International talent and investment are an integral part of the city’s prosperity
Local business leaders and experts universally agree: foreign subsidiaries and international talent who choose the city make a strong contribution to our prosperity. Québec and Montréal are facing a demographic crunch resulting in difficulties recruiting labour in a number of high-value-added sectors. International talent and students are essential to growth for local companies. Furthermore, foreign subsidiaries who establish operations here contribute to the development of Greater Montréal in a number of ways: through quality jobs, strategic investments, technology transfers, school funding and business opportunities for local companies.
3. Greater Montréal needs to increase international trade and connectivity
While internationalization is a driver of growth for the city’s economy, it plays a particularly important role for a significant number of local small businesses and multinationals based in Montréal. In light of the Forum’s findings, we need to keep promoting Greater Montréal internationally and pursue initiatives to support the export of local business know-how and creativity to foreign markets.
We should note that global competition is increasingly intense. To reinforce Greater Montréal’s internationalization, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal and Montréal International propose six avenues for action.