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Canada-Argentina Relations

Canada and Argentina have enjoyed diplomatic relations since 1940. Canada’s first Ambassador to Buenos Aires, Warwick Chipman, began his assignment in 1945, although trade relations date back more than 100 years. Canada’s first Trade Office in South America was in fact opened in Buenos Aires by Trade Commissioner H.R. Pousette in 1911. 

In Argentina, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Buenos Aires, and also maintains a Visa Application Centre to facilitate visa applications for residents of Argentina. In Canada, Argentina is represented by the Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Ottawa, and also maintains consulates in Toronto and Montreal.

Canada and Argentina enjoy a multifaceted relationship built on a commitment to multilateralism and similar perspectives on many global issues including peacekeeping, nuclear non-proliferation, human rights, the environment, strengthening democracy and combatting terrorism. Canada and Argentina share a similar approach to reforming the United Nations in order to make it more effective and provide a better representation of today’s world. We also collaborate in the context of the G20 process, and the two countries share membership in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which Canada chaired in 2013. A visit to Buenos Aires by the Canadian Chair in November 2013 provided the opportunity to cooperate with Argentina on efforts to raise awareness about Holocaust education.

Argentina is an important partner for Canada in the context of our Strategy for Engagement in the Americas, which seeks to advance three goals: increasing mutual economic opportunity; strengthening security and institutions; and fostering lasting relationships. Panorama, a web-based mapping tool, showcases Canadian programming investments in the Americas.

Argentina is the second-largest economy in South America and an influential and valuable interlocutor on hemispheric matters. Canadian companies strengthened significantly their engagement with Argentina through 2001-2011. However, the toll of high inflation, coupled with import controls and currency exchange restrictions have undermined the country’s attractiveness and raised real obstacles for Canadian exporters. Bilateral trade was $2.19 billion in 2014 ($2.1 billion in 2013). Exports from Canada were a relatively modest $244 million in 2014, down 16% from $291 million in 2013. The export mix is diverse, composed of industrial products, electronics and pharmaceuticals. Canadian imports, primarily precious metals, raised 5.5% to $1.948 billion in 2014 ($1.841 billion in 2013). The stock of Canadian direct investment in Argentina, as reported by Statistics Canada, stood at $3.44 billion in 2013. This is reflected by the active presence of Canadian companies in the mining sector, as well as Canadian-controlled subsidiaries in the agro-industrial sector (fertilizers, processed foods, livestock, dairy and fish products) as well as energy (principally oil and gas), printing, telecommunications and various others.

The Argentine-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCAC) has been in operation since 1977, when it was set up to help grow and strengthen ties between its members, providing support to both Canadian and Argentine business communities. Today, the Chamber is particularly active with its membership representing significant two-way trade and investment interests, supportin jobs, commercial and technology development and economic growth in both countries.

Canada and Argentina are jointly engaged in reconstruction and peacekeeping operations in Haiti and collaborate in the Group of Friends of Haiti as well as through the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Peacekeeping troops from both countries have participated in training courses held at the other country’s training centres. Argentina benefits from Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program  through which Canada makes military training available to partner countries thus enhancing defence relations between our nations. To date, approximately 200 Argentines have received peacekeeping-related training through this program.

Deepening ties have been underscored by several high-level visits, including the June 2014 visit of former Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird to Argentina. Previous high-level visits include the March 2012 visit of Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast; the December 2011 visit of Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), Diane Ablonczy for the presidential inauguraiton in Buenos Aires, that of former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, former Minister of Labour Jean-Pierre Blackburn, former Minister of Health Tony Clement, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, former Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas) Peter Kent, and former Minister of International Trade, Peter Van Loan. Parliamentarians from both countries have collaborated through parliamentary friendship groups such as ParlAmericas.

The Embassy of Canada in Argentina manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), which provides financial assistance to fund modest-scale projects in the country. In the past two years, Canada has supported nine projects in Argentina, amounting to over $240,000.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) supports research in Argentina to promote growth and development. Argentine researchers are focusing on issues such as labour markets, female and youth employment, MERCOSUR trade and integration issues, alternatives to tobacco farming, and the country’s efforts to help strengthen democracy and rebuild in Haiti. Since 1972, the IDRC has supported 191 activities in Argentina worth a total of $47 million.

Over the past decade, the Embassy of Canada has partnered with cultural industries to promote shared values in fields such as human rights and democratic governance. Major companies and artists who have visited include: Cirque du Soleil, Loreena McKennitt, Diana Krall, Atom Egoyan, Michael Bublé, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. For a current listing of cultural events, visit the Cultural and Academic Calendar.

Numerous links exist between indigenous communities and associations in Canada and Argentina. Indigenous leaders of Argentina have welcomed official delegations from Canada to exchange views and experiences. In 2012, the City of Buenos Aires erected a new totem pole in Canada Plaza to replace the historic totem which stood in the Plaza from 1964 until it was retired in 2008. The totem pole is a tribute to the rich indigenous heritages of Canada and that of Argentina, and serves as a tangible cultural bridge between the countries of the Americas through an indigenous world view.

The Argentine Association of Canadian Studies (ASAEC) sustains 7 centres across the country. Its members include prominent academic and research experts in an across-the board selection of domains, many of them also active political practitioners or members of civil society institutions. It also includes former Canadian academic fellows, alumni and prominent institutions and individuals who wish to develop projects in connection with Canada. This network was created in 1990.

The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP), announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the Summit of the Americas in 2009, provides short term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Argentina, to study or conduct research in Canada. The program is predicated on Canadian and Argentine institutional linkages which facilitate the creation of scholarship opportunities. These academic agreements help foster research collaborations and student exchanges. Since 2009, 139 Argentine students have participated in exchange opportunities for study or research at the college, undergraduate and graduate level. In addition to the ELAP scholarships, Argentine students are also encouraged to apply for other Canadian awards open to all international students including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships. In 2010-2011, one Argentine student was awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to assist with his 3 year Ph.D. program. There are currently more than 50 active agreements between Canadian and Argentine universities, covering a wide range of disciplines, and which include both faculty and student exchanges.

In 2015, Canada will play host to both the Pan Am and Parapan American Games. This will be the third time that Canada will hold the Pan Am Games, and together with the Parapan American Games, will be the largest international multi-sport event ever hosted in the country. The first ever Pan American Games were held in Buenos Aires in 1951, and Canada looks forward to welcoming athletes, artists and visitors from Argentina at the Games in Toronto in 2015. 

April 2015

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