Bilateral relations between Canada and Algeria are excellent. Algeria is Canada’s top trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in terms of value of total merchandise, in addition to being a key partner for Canada in the global fight against terrorism.
Canada recognised Algeria upon independence in 1962, and diplomatic relations were established in 1964. Approximately 60,000 people of Algerian origin reside in Canada, primarily in the Montreal area, and today Algeria is the third largest source of immigrants to Quebec. Canada is an attractive destination for Algerian students, and over 9000 Algerians visited Canada in 2012. The number of visitors and students visiting Canada has been steadily growing over the past several years, with an average of 6000 permanent resident visas issued to Algerians each year. The three weekly flights between Montreal and Algiers offered by Air Algérie is set to double to six weekly flights for the 2013 summer season.
In January 2011, Canada’s Foreign Minister visited Algeria, meeting with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his Algerian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci. Canada and Algeria signed a Protocol of Understanding, paving the way for a new era of cooperation between the two countries. In addition, Canadian Governor General Michaëlle Jean travelled to Algeria in November 2006 as part of an African tour.
Algeria is a major regional player in the global fight against terrorism. Recognizing Algeria’s unique role, Canada is committed to strengthening its cooperation with Algeria to work towards building a safe and secure region. In September 2011, Canada participated in an international conference hosted by Algeria to explore ways to improve cooperation to combat terrorism in the region. That same month, Algeria and Canada participated in the launch of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF), within which the two states co-chair the Sahel Working Group.
Algeria has supported various international initiatives spearheaded by Canada. Algeria signed and ratified the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, and has been active in promoting the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), particularly within the African Peer Review Mechanism. Although not a member of La Francophonie, Algeria is the second largest French-speaking country in the world, and has participated in Francophonie summits, including the 2008 Quebec City Summit. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika also participated in the 2010 G8 summit in Muskoka in the context of the G8 Africa Partnership, and his representatives have played an active role in the G8 Africa Personal Representative Process (APR).
Canada is represented in Algeria by the Embassy of Canada in Algiers, while Algeria is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and a consulate in Montreal.
Algeria is Canada’s largest bilateral trading partner in Africa and the Middle East and its 12th largest bilateral trading partner, behind Brazil. It has been the largest foreign supplier of crude oil to Canada since 2007. Canada has long had a substantial trade deficit with Algeria. In 2012, Canada’s bilateral trade with Algeria totalled C$6.4 billion. Canadian exports totalled C$419.67 million and imports C$5.98 billion. In 2012, Canadian merchandise exports to Algeria were primarily cereals, legumes, machinery, and scientific and precision equipment. In 2012, top Canadian imports from Algeria were oil (99.9%). The activities of Canadian companies doing business in Algeria span from basic foodstuffs to hydrocarbons to aeronautics. Canada and Algeria also share important cultural and academic ties, including a range of exchange agreements between universities.
The Canadian International Development Agency’s (CIDA) bilateral program for Algeria, which focused on promoting private sector development through vocational training reform and support for civil society, came to a close in 2012. At the local level, the Canadian Embassy in Algeria uses the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) to support small projects proposed and implemented by local organizations in Algeria.
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