Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
Increased collaboration between economic development officials in Georgia and Quebec will introduce Canadian aerospace and logistics companies to the Southeast U.S. next month.

Jim Blair, business development official with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, will travel to Longueuil, Quebec, near Montreal, for a Wednesday, June 21, seminar to discuss business opportunities in the Southeast.

“[Longueuil] has many of the industries that complement Atlanta like logistics and aerospace,” said Mr. Blair, who is senior manager of business development with the department’s Global Commerce Division.

The upcoming trip is a result of a close working relationship Mr. Blair has developed with the Longueuil Economic Development office since returning to Georgia from a Brussels, Belgium-based post last September.

The office represents 380,000 people in and around the city of Longueuil, which is located across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal.

Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc. and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada have offices in the city. The Canadian Space Agency, or Canada’s equivalent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is headquartered there.

Alonso Restrepo, export director at the Longueuil development office, who is working with Mr. Blair to organize the June 21 seminar, said that once Longueuil-based companies find a market for their products in the Southeast, they would likely set up an office here to defray the high costs of cross-country distribution.

He also hoped that Atlanta companies might consider Quebec as an investment destination.

“We think that perhaps the same thing would happen for Atlanta companies looking at Quebec,” Mr. Restrepo said in a telephone interview with GlobalAtlanta from his office in Longueuil.

In addition to hosting Mr. Blair in June, Mr. Restrepo will lead a delegation of 10 businesspeople from Longueuil to Atlanta in the fall, representing aerospace, information technology and security companies.

“We’re very happy to have this relationship with Georgia,” he said, adding that many Longueuil-based companies already export to the Northeast U.S., but fewer export to the South.

Mr. Restrepo and Mr. Blair have met three times since Mr. Blair took over his Georgia-based post in September.

Prior to September, Mr. Blair served as director of Georgia’s European economic development office in Brussels.

He will be joined at the Longueuil seminar by Anton Mertens, partner with the Atlanta office of law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP. Representatives from approximately 70 Quebec-based companies are expected to attend.

For more information on the upcoming seminar, contact Mr. Restrepo at (450) 645-1201 or

Contact Mr. Blair at

The Quebec Trade Office in Atlanta also works to develop business ties between Georgia and Quebec. Louise Fortin, director of the office, can be reached at (404) 815-4979.

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