French automaker PSA is planning a return to the US and Canada, and the executive leading the way says that Canada will play a big part in that return thanks to a new trade agreement.

"Canada to us is a very important market," PSA North America CEO Larry Dominique told Automotive News. PSA is the automaker that owns Peugeot and Citroen, as well as Opel and Vauxhall.

Dominique says that Canada will lead the return because of the new Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that went into effect last fall. That trade agreement makes it easier and cheaper to import vehicles into Canada by removing a 6.1 percent tarriff. Dominique also said that French-speaking Canadians in Quebec and the Maritimes are likely to find the French brands appealing.

But the brands under the company's umbrella won't be arriving just yet. Dominique said that it would be several years before that happens. The company is also planning to start with mobility services like the company's car and bike-sharing Free2Move service. That will happen, even if it uses other brands of vehicles before PSA starts retail sales.

Canada has another advantage over the US for an incoming manufacturer. Dominique said that less restrictive dealer franchise laws are appealing. "From a distribution perspective, it’s more flexible than the United States."

Citroen left Canada way back in 1974, but Peugeot's departure was much later. That brand ended Canadian sales in 1991.