Canada - Argentina Relations
Canada and Argentina have enjoyed uninterrupted 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. Poussette 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.
Argentina is a key partner for Canada in the Americas and both countries have a strong trade and investment relationship. Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit in November 2016 reaffirmed that both of our countries have much in common in terms of diversity, inclusive growth and prosperity.
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 (UN) in order to make it more effective and provide a better representation of today’s world. Both countries are staunch supporters of the International Criminal Court, Canada having played a central role in its establishment and contributed its first President (Philippe Kirsch, 2002-2009), while Argentina contributed its first Chief Prosecutor (Luis Moreno Ocampo, 2003–2012) and current President (Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi, since 2015). The two countries also work collaboratively to address global economic challenges within the G20, which Argentina will be chairing in 2018, at the same time Canada chairs the G7. 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.
Canada and Argentina also enjoy close bilateral relations in areas of common interest, such as human rights within the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS).
Argentina is the second-largest economy in South America and a market with significant potential for Canadian companies. Bilateral trade totaled $1.9 billion in 2016, down by 12.4% from 2015. Canadian exports to Argentina totaled $307.7 million in 2016. Primary exports include machinery, pharmaceutical products, precision and scientific instruments, and mineral ores. Canadian imports from Argentina totaled $1.6 billion in 2016. The vast majority of these imports (75%) were metals (principally gold) due to Canada’s significant presence in the Argentine mining sector. Other primary imports include beverages (wine), fruit (apples and citrus), and prepared vegetable foodstuff. The stock of Canadian direct investment in Argentina, as reported by Statistics Canada, stood at $1.18 billion in 2015 making Canada the ninth largest investor in Argentina. Canadian companies are active in the following sectors: mining, agro-industry, energy, automotive, defence and security, and printing, among others.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting responsible business practices. It expects and encourages Canadian companies working internationally to respect all applicable laws and international standards, to operate transparently and in consultation with host governments and local communities, and to conduct their activities in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. The Embassy of Canada in Argentina actively promotes awareness and understanding of the importance of responsible business practices and creates opportunities for relationship building through conferences, workshops and other activities involving companies, representatives of local governments, and civil society.
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, supporting jobs, commercial and technology development and economic growth in both countries.
In recent years, Canada and Argentina have jointly engaged in reconstruction and peacekeeping operations in Haiti and have collaborated 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 250 Argentines have received peacekeeping-related training through this program.
Canada is also collaborating with Argentina through the funding of a project with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) in a Container Control Programs. This is possible thanks to the regional funding of approximately CAD 5 million from the Government of Canada's Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). As a result of this funding, the Federal Administration of Public Revenue of Argentina (AFIP) and the Government of Argentina will be able to minimize the use of sea containers for illicit drug trafficking and other criminal activities.
Canada is also proud to have recently joined a joint initiative between Argentina and Norway and participated in the II International Conference on Safety in Schools in Buenos Aires in March 2017. At this conference, Canada moderated a panel on efforts to prevent the use of schools and universities for military purposes.
Deepening ties have been underscored by several high-level visits. Parliamentarians from both countries have collaborated through parliamentary friendship groups such as ParlAmericas. The most recent visit took place on May 2017 in Buenos Aires. In September 2016, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade undertook a fact-finding mission to Argentina in order to consult with individuals and groups with value-added, on-the-ground perspectives, as part of its examination of recent political and economic developments in Argentina and their potential impact on regional and global dynamics, including on Canadian policy and interests. The visit’s report was published on June 2017. The report titled “Relations between Canada and Argentina at the dawn of a new era?” can be found here.
The Vice-President of Argentina, Gabriela Michetti, visited Toronto and Ottawa in October 2016 and met with Prime Minister Trudeau and then Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion. In addition, the Red de Acción Política (RAP – a collective of Argentine politicians from various parties) also visited Ottawa and Montreal in October in 2016 to learn more about Canadian federalism, education, open government and the regulation of extraction industries.
More recently, the Minister of Family, Children and Social Development of Canada, Jean-Yves Duclos, visited Buenos Aires in May 2017 to co-chair a Social Inclusion Symposium with the Minister of Social Development of Argentina, Carolina Stanley. Several field visits were also held in Buenos Aires, as well as various meetings. These included one with the Argentine Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Jorge Triaca, with whom Minister Duclos was able to confirm the end of negotiations for the Social Security Agreement between Canada and Argentina. The Canada-Argentina Symposium on Social Inclusion allowed governments, leaders, academics, and other stakeholders to share experiences and practices that will make social inclusion the central theme of economic development and poverty reduction. Minister Duclos was also able to attend the signing of the Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters, in the presence of Vice-President Gabriela Michetti and Minister of the Interior, Public Works and Housing Rogelio Frigerio. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Fry for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Alberto Abad, Head of the Federal Revenue Administration of Argentina (AFIP). It is an instrument of cooperation, which will make it easier to share information in order to prevent, investigate, and combat customs offenses, more specifically against customs fraud. The signing of this agreement and the visit of Minister Duclos are at the heart of the priority issues established by President Mauricio Macri and Prime Minister Trudeau during his official visit to Argentina in November 2016.
The Embassy of Canada in Argentina manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), which provides financial assistance to fund modest-scale projects. Since 2007, Canada has supported sixty-eight projects in Argentina, amounting to over $700,000. In 2016-2017, the Embassy of Canada in Argentina, through its CFLI program, has supported a total of 6 projects related to climate change and sustainable development:
- The Fundación para la Conservación y el Uso Sustenable de los Humedales improved the resilience to climate change in the Rio Lujan Basin;
- La Fundacion Vida Silvestre helped to introduce a sustainable livestock production from grassland in the Samborombón Bay, in the province of Buenos Aires;
- The Red Argentina de Cooperación Internacional (RACI) has a project to reinforce the implementation mechanisms of the Sustainable Development Goals in Argentina through a multi-sectorial dialogue;
- The municipality of Rosario has improved ecological governance and adaptation to climate change;
- The Asociación Cultural para el Desarollo Integral (ACDI) has increased green employment by developing the first ecological restoration service of the “Impenetrable Chaqueño” Forest; and
- Instituto Multimedia DerHumALC – Derechos Humanos en América Latina y el Caribe – Asociación Civil organized the firstInternational Film Festival on Environment and Human Rights in Asunción, Paraguay.
In 2015-2016, the Embassy of Canada to Buenos Aires also contributed to various initiatives, such as:
- The production of the first-ever presidential debates in Argentina with CIPPEC and Argentina Debate;
- The publication of Poder Ciudadano’s Annual Report on Corruption and Transparency; and
- The live fact-checking from Chequeado.com for the presidential debates.
Panorama, a web mapping tool, promotes Canadian investment in various programs across the Americas. 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 our Calendar of Activities.
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 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 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), inaugurated 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, nearly 300 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. 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.
More information on educational opportunities in Canada can be found here.
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