Officials: Quebec-New York Corridor to focus on going green

PLATTSBURGH As the future of international trade and commerce goes forward, it must go green, officials say. In a visit with members of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce March 28, representatives of Canadian government and chambers of commerce emphasized the importance of establishing the Quebec-New York Corridor as the continents first green corridor. The designation would mean more than the province of Quebec and state of New York being more conscious of the environment, said Robert Keating, recently appointed delegate general of Quebecs Ministry of International Relations. It would mean the advancement of the economies of both regions, which have essentially become one binational region through the efforts of leaders on both sides of the international border. With the Quebec-New York corridors export market being a multi-billion dollar operation, its success relies heavily on border fluidity, collaboration within the region and the corridors overall ability to compete with regions across the world. The environment is an important part of the issue, said Mr. Keating. The province of Quebec has already shown its commitment to the environment, he said, through its support of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an effort of northeastern states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and end global warming. Quebec is also investing $30 billion into clean, renewable energy initiatives, which includes hydroelectric power and wind energy. Leaders are looking to make a long-term commitment, the delegate general said. That commitment shouldnt stop at the federal and state levels, noted Francoise Bertrand, president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec. The success of the Quebec-New York Corridor also relies on similar efforts by members of the entire supply chain. The green aspect of the corridor is a major element, said Ms. Bertrand. We need to work together and keep in line the economics of competitiveness to make our place in the global market. Green is already present, but we need to develop a green alliance that will be a long-term, sustainable relationship. Larger manufacturers and corporations are already examining reducing their environmental footprints, said Benjamin Teitelbaum, special assistant to the Commission for Environmental Cooperations executive director for partnership development. Energy efficiency and the methods in which they transport their goods are among the means businesses are looking at these days, he said. The choices are there for these large, global corporations to go anywhere. It becomes really a competitiveness issue, not just an environmental issue, said Mr. Teitelbaum. Leaders are getting behind major companies who work with smaller suppliers in greening the whole supply chain. Every company needs to green their operations, simply to lower their costs and increase productivity across the board, because of, if for no other reason, the continuing rise in energy prices and, related to that, the rising cost of raw materials, said local chamber of commerce president Garry F. Douglas. The intersection thats now upon us is that the right thing to do is also the economic thing to do. Thats a nice convergence. The focus of an upcoming Quebec-New York Economic Summit which will bring governments, other local leaders and businesspeople together in Quebec City May 20 will not only be on how the corridor can improve cross-border trade and travel, but also how the region will advance as a green corridor. The summit will also include discussions about how businesses can find the right balance between economic development and environmental protection and what innovations and services are available for creating environmentally-friendly buildings including what financing is available to assist in what are expected to be long-term cost-saving measures. As a follow-up to the Quebec-New York summit, the Plattsburgh chamber of commerces annual North Country Industrial Summit, which will be held in September, will focus on bringing North Country companies into the concept of greening their operations. Information about either summit, including how to register for the May 20 summit in Quebec City, is available at the chamber of commerce Web site, www.northcountrychamber.com.

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