Canada - Paraguay Relations
Canada and Paraguay established diplomatic relations in 1961. The Embassy of Canada in Buenos Aires is accredited to Paraguay, and Canada maintains a Consulate headed by an Honorary Consul in Asunción, as well as a Visa Application Centre which opened in September 2011 to facilitate visa applications for residents in Paraguay.
Canada and Paraguay share common values such as effective multilateralism, respect for human rights, and support for multilateral institutions and peacekeeping efforts. We also share strong ties through the Mennonite diaspora in our two countries.
Paraguay is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa and has appointed Honorary Consulates in Calgary, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. While Canadians travelling to Paraguay still require a visa to enter the country, procedures were simplified in November 2012 to allow Canadians to purchase a visa upon arrival at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, the country’s main point of entry.
Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Paraguay totaled approximately $32 million in 2016. This number includes $17.3 million in Canadian exports (mostly machinery, paper articles, printed books and newspapers) and $14.6 million in imports (mainly sugar, oilseeds, wood products) from Paraguay. Canadian companies’ involvement in the Paraguayan market is modest, with main investments in sectors such as mining, infrastructure, and energy.
Paraguay has encouraging prospects for increased opportunities in infrastructure, energy, and transportation sectors, as well as policies encouraging increased foreign investment.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting responsible business practices and 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.
Paraguay is an associate member of Canada’s Military Training Cooperation Program, through which Canada makes military training available to partner countries, thus enhancing defence relations between our nations.
Canada and Paraguay enjoy close bilateral relations in areas of common interest, such as human rights and effective multilateralism within the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS). Both countries have been engaged in reconstruction and peacekeeping efforts in Haiti with Paraguay and Canada contributing personnel to the MINUSTAH mission.
An important people-to-people link between Canada and Paraguay is the community of approximately 15,000 Paraguayan Mennonites of Canadian origin, of which 12,000 are registered with the Embassy. In fact, the majority of Canadian visitors to Paraguay have some connection to the Mennonite community. This community, though small, has a significant impact on the Paraguayan economy relative to its size, especially through its involvement in the cattle and agricultural export sector.
Canadian technical and development assistance for Paraguay is provided through contributions to multilateral organizations such as the OAS and the IMF, and through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), which is managed by the Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay. Since 2007, Canada has provided support to a total of 76 CFLI projects in Paraguay, amounting to over CAD 1,000,000 in funding.
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is also active in Paraguay. Projects supported by the IDRC include a study Valuing Water in a Changing Climate and Economy in the Gran Chaco Americano, based on decisions at the Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015. The IDRC also manages the Think Tank Initiative, a multi-donor effort which provides long-term funding and technical support to 28 think tanks in Latin America and South Asia, allowing them to strengthen their roles as influential players in national policymaking. Among the 28 are two Paraguayan institutions, the Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP), supported in order to make it a credible policy research institution in Paraguay, by fostering its ability to provide high-quality, influential, and policy-relevant research and the Instituto Desarrollo (ID) toward similar aims. In July 2014, both organizations were among those selected for continued support through phase two of the initiative, providing them with continued funding through 2019.
The Centro Paraguayo de Estudios Canadienses (CPEC), created in 2005, continues to develop an active program which includes a special ongoing feature, Education to Strengthen Democracy. CPEC helps sustain links with universities, NGOs and government agencies and has worked with the Canadian Embassy to facilitate the visits to Paraguay of Canadian and regional experts to discuss common priorities, promote educational exchanges and fellowships and showcase Canada’s values. One of CPEC’s main goals is to further the concept of open governance based on Canada’s experiences.
The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) provides short term scholarship opportunities for students from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Paraguay, to study or conduct research in Canada. The program is predicated on Canadian and Paraguayan institutional linkages which facilitate the creation of scholarship opportunities. These academic agreements help foster research collaborations and student exchanges.
In addition to the ELAP scholarships, Paraguayan students are also encouraged to apply for other Canadian awards open to all international students including the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships worth up to $50,000 annually for a three year Ph.D. and the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships worth up to $70,000 a year for up to two years.
Another scholarship program that can facilitate post-graduate studies in Canada is the Government of Paraguay’s BECAL program. Moreover, in 2016, the Canadian university consortium CALDO signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BECAL authorities. It provides additional funding to BECAL scholarship recipients attending CALDO member universities.
More information on educational opportunities in Canada can be found here.
Since 2011, Canada has hosted a series of events under the banner of “Canadá Conexiones” each year. The series takes place throughout the year on a variety of themes and is built upon the successful “Canada Connections Week” that was held in Asunción in March 2011 on the occasion of Paraguay’s bicentennial and the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations. Each year, Canada also holds events during the month of March in partnership with other Embassies to celebrate the Francophonie.
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