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Canada-Brazil Relations

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A key partner for Canada

Diplomatic Relations and Official Representation

Brazil is an important bilateral, regional and multilateral partner for Canada. We share important values and interests which are rooted in our diverse, open and democratic societies. Canada and Brazil share many commonalities. From the Amazon to the Arctic, we are endowed with responsibility as environmental stewards. From supporting inclusive growth to the promotion of human rights and democracy, from innovation in science and technology to peacekeeping, from building a new relationship with our respective indigenous populations to sharing best practices in refugee policy. Our increased engagement across a broad spectrum of issues fosters an environment for even greater exchanges in bilateral trade and investment.

Canada-Brazil merchandise trade and investment have seen impressive growth over the last decade, with bilateral merchandise trade up 26.5% over the period. However, bilateral trade fell for three consecutive years, before picking up in 2015 (6.2%). Trade reached $5.99 billion in 2015 with a $1.5 billion balance in Brazil’s favour. Brazil ranked as Canada’s 14th largest export destination globally with $2.25 billion worth of Canadian exports in 2015, up 3.4% from the previous year, while Canada’s imports from Brazil stood at $3.74 billion in 2015, up 7.9% from 2014, making Brazil Canada’s 14th largest source of imports worldwide.

Brazil is an important source of foreign direct investment into Canada, ranking as the 7th most important source country in 2015, with Brazilian investment amounting to $19.7 billion. Brazil was the 12th largest recipient of Canadian direct investment abroad at $12.3 billion in 2015.

Brazil is one of five countries in the world with which Canada has a funded S&T Agreement. A Canada-Brazil Joint Committee on S&T was established in 2011 to provide strategic direction to the implementation of the Agreement. Education remains a cornerstone of the relationship. Canada is the top recipient country of Brazilians studying abroad in English as a second language studies.

The then-colonies of British North America sent Canada’s first trade mission to Brazil in 1866, one year before Confederation when they formally united to form Canada. Canada’s Embassy in Brazil opened in 1944, with Jean Désy as Canada’s first Ambassador to Brazil. In May 1941, Brazil opened a legation in Ottawa with João Alberto Lins de Barros as the first Brazilian Ambassador to Canada.

In Brazil, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Brasilia as well as Consulates General in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service also has offices in Belo Horizonte, Recife and Porto Alegre. Brazil is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa with Consulates General in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Bilateral Relations                         

Brazil, a priority for the Government of Canada, is featured in the Government of Canada’s Strategy for Engagement in the Americas, Global Markets Action Plan and International Education Strategy. Canada-Brazil relations have grown based on our strategic interests and engagement based on the promotion of security, prosperity and democratic governance. Our relationship has been strengthened by extensive whole-of-government cooperation in many sectors, such as health, education, defence, agriculture, and science and technology.

Canada and Brazil share democratic governance, stable economies, abundant natural resources, vast and sparsely inhabited territories, as well as the richness that comes from multicultural diversity, including indigenous populations. Canada’s relationship with Brazil is growing, as indicated by burgeoning trade and investment, and greater interest in both countries in learning more about the other from both a public policy and person-to-person perspective.

Commercial Relations

Brazil is a priority market for Canada. It is a major economic player, not just in South America, but also globally, as our 13th largest trading partner globally.

Canada‑Brazil merchandise trade and investment have seen impressive growth in recent years. Bilateral trade has increased by 35.1% since 2009, reaching $5.6 billion in 2014 and making Brazil the 15th largest export destination for Canada.  In 2014, Canada exported $2.2 billion worth of merchandise goods, while Canada’s imports from Brazil stood at $3.5 billion, making Brazil our 14th largest source of imports globally.

Brazil was the 6th highest source of foreign direct investment in Canada in 2013, with Brazilian investment amounting to $18.3 billion.  Brazil was the 11th largest recipient of Canadian direct investment abroad, with $11.1 billion invested as of year‑end 2013.   There are some 500 Canadian companies across a large range of sectors active in Brazil

Export Development Canada (EDC) has had an active presence in Brazil for more than a decade. Since 2000, EDC has facilitated over $20 billion in Canadian exports and investments in Brazil. In 2013, EDC served 338 companies compared with 169 in 2000, and its business volume in Brazil for 2013 was $2.1 billion.  There were also 861 international buyers insured.

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has determined that there is potential for significant growth opportunity for Canadian companies in the following key sectors well-suited to Canadian capabilities and interests: infrastructure, education, clean technologies, information, communication & technologies, oil & gas, and aerospace. In addition to these priority sectors, important opportunities for Canada exist in mining, defense and security, life sciences, ocean technologies, automotive, power, agriculture & agri-food, services and tourism. Brazil is a key partner for investment attraction, retention and expansion initiatives, for science and technology collaboration, as well as for participation in global value chains.

Partnerships for Science, Technology and Innovation

Research and innovation are also core elements of Canada’s trade agenda and an increasing point of mutual convergence in our relations with strategic economies, such as Brazil. Examples are proliferating in which scientific discovery is matched to firms that can exploit innovative elements for commercial advantage – illustrating the breadth of possibilities envisaged through the Canada-Brazil Agreement on Science and Technology. The Canada-Brazil Framework Agreement for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation entered into force in both countries in 2010. This Agreement serves as a framework under which Canadian and Brazilian partners from industry, academia and government can collaborate on joint research and development (R&D) projects, scientific conferences and workshops, exchanges and loans of equipment and materials, as well as student and researcher mobility. Since the ratification of the Agreement, the bilateral relationship has taken on a new momentum. The Agreement builds on Canada’s important commercial and political relations with Brazil in an effort to boost collaborative research and development activities and lead to the commercialization of new ideas. 

To provide strategic direction to the Agreement’s implementation, Canada and Brazil established a Joint Committee for Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation, which met for the first time in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2011. The Canada-Brazil agenda for innovation is guided by the Joint Action Plan on Science and Technology. This plan draws upon the skills and expertise of both nations and aims to foster technological advancement and innovation in areas of common interest. The Action Plan sets forth a number of key initiatives and actions in the strategic priority areas of ocean technology, clean technology, green energy, information, communication & technology (ICT), and life sciences. It aims to accelerate cooperation between our scientific and technological communities alongside our educational institutions.

Academic and Cultural Relations

Canada and Brazil share strong academic and cultural connections, which have expanded over the years. During the of the Governor General, it was announced that Canada will welcome 12,000 Brazilian students at the undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels under Brazil’s Science without Borders program.

Academics from all areas of Canada and Brazil enjoy frequent and regular exchange and cooperation opportunities, supported by a variety of programs financed by both governments. The Canada Visiting Research Chair of the Brazilian Studies Program involves five universities – York University, University of Western Ontario, Université du Québec à Montréal, St. Mary’s University and University of Calgary. Established in 2003, this program has brought important Brazilians to universities and meetings in Canada, including for a biofuel conference in 2008. The program aims to influence policies and research orientation, build institutional development and boost our bilateral relationship.

The Canadian government encourages strengthening people-to-people exchanges for their potential to enrich the Canada-Brazil relationship. As a complement to the Agreement on Science and Technology, on August 30, 2010, Canada and Brazil signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Academic Mobility and scientific Cooperation to encourage innovation between the two countries and support joint research projects.

Development Cooperation

Canada’s development relationship with Brazil has evolved from one of donor and recipient to one of development cooperation partners. Canada's bilateral development cooperation program in Brazil ended in March 2011. Since that time, Canada and Brazil signed a MOU on International Development Cooperation Effectiveness. The MOU seeks to advance the Canada-Brazil development relationship through policy dialogue, joint policy research, enhanced institutional linkages, and technical cooperation activities in third countries.

Canada maintains a Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) designed to support small projects proposed and implemented by local organizations in Brazil. In providing funding for small projects that offer direct social, economic or technical assistance to local populations, the CFLI contributes to the overall goal of reducing poverty. 

August 2016

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