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Canada-Brazil Relations

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A key partner for Canada

Diplomatic Relations and Official Representation

Canada opened its first trade office in Brazil in 1866. 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. The first Brazilian Ambassador to Canada was João Alberto Lins de Barros. In the years following the Second World War, Brazil was the centre of Canadian foreign policy in South America.

In Brazil, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Brasilia. Canada is also represented by Consulates General in both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Canada’s visa office in São Paulo is our fourth busiest in the world. 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. Brazil also has consulates in Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Bilateral Relations

Brazil, a priority for the Government of Canada, is at the nexus of the Government of Canada’s Strategy for Engagement in the Americas, Global Commerce Strategy and International Education Strategy. Canada-Brazil relations have grown increasingly closer 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 the level of official visits, 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.

As a result of the visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper - accompanied by four ministers – in August 2011, Canada-Brazil relations have been reinvigorated.  Prime Minister Harper and President Dilma Rousseff agreed to an ambitious agenda.   

During the visit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Dilma Rousseff announced:

  • a Canada-Brazil Strategic Partnership Dialogue – an initiative that serves as a forum between Canadian and Brazilian Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The Dialogue is an opportunity for Canada and Brazil to discuss key bilateral, regional and global issues.
  • a bilateral Air Transport Agreement  to benefit Canadian and Brazilian travellers and businesses in various sectors, including the tourism industry, by providing them with greater choices in airline services, destinations as well as lower prices.  Both countries agreed to make the new air rights available to airlines immediately, pending the formal ratification of the agreement.
  • a bilateral Social Security Agreement to bring immediate benefits to Canadians and Brazilians by coordinating pension benefits between both countries.  It includes a number of key measures that will improve access to benefits for Canadians and result in savings for Canadian companies operating in Brazil as well as for Brazilian companies operating in Canada. 
  • a Memoranda of Understanding on Olympic Games Cooperation with Brazil that involves sharing Canada’s recent experience in hosting and organizing the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.  Brazil will host the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.
  • a Memorandum of Understanding on International Development Cooperation Effectiveness with Brazil to advance the partnership with Canada through exchange of best practices, effective dialogue and capacity building.
  • an Energy Dialoguethat creates opportunities for both countries as energy suppliers to exchange experiences and technologies.
  • A Canada-Brazil CEO Forum, co-chaired by Rick Waugh (Scotiabank) and Murilo Ferreira (Vale), to engage the private sector as a key partner in leading the development of the growing commercial ties between Canada and Brazil.
  • A Space Cooperation Dialogue, to explore possible avenues for cooperation in the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
  • The development of a Science and Technology Action Plan focused on innovation

Both leaders also expressed support for the exploratory talks between  MERCOSUL and Canada, intended to allow both sides to gather elements needed to assess how best to enhance their trading relationship. 

Canada and Brazil work together closely in science & technology, research & development, innovation and ​​education. Canada plans to be a major partner in Brazil’s ambitious initiative - Science without Borders - a program that brings a greater investment in innovation, development and education by providing over 100,000 scholarships for the best young Brazilian talent to go abroad and expand their horizons. As a centre of educational excellence, Canada is an ideal destination for these students.

The visit of the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, to Brazil at the end of April 2012 further served to cement our bilateral ties. The visit  focused on strengthening our cooperation in the vital areas of education, science and technology, innovation and commerce. The Governor General led a delegation of exceptional Canadians representing these key fields, as well as 30 university presidents who embody the best of Canada’s excellence in education. The education leaders, along with other Canadian stakeholders and the Governor General, represented Canada at the Conference of the Americas on International Education, (CAIE) in Rio de Janeiro (April 2012).

From a multilateral standpoint, Canada and Brazil work closely together at the Organization of American States, the United Nations, the G20 and the World Trade Organization, in areas such as promoting cultural diversity, engaging in peacekeeping operations, and furthering respect for human rights globally.

As major agricultural producers, Canada and Brazil have a vital role to play in addressing food and energy security in the region and beyond. Collaboration in third countries is of mutual interest, as exemplified by the current cooperation in Haiti, where we work with Brazil to strengthen Haiti’s National Police and assist in reconstruction efforts.  Canada has participated in two joint cooperation initiatives with Brazil in Haiti: support to vaccination programme and efforts to overcome urban violence.

Commercial Relations

Brazil is one of the world’s most enticing markets, boasting stable mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors and a dynamic, innovative science and technology industry. Economically secure, with a vast and growing middleclass, Brazil offers Canadians an attractive investment environment with room for substantial growth.  

Brazil is a priority market for Canada. It is a major economic player, not just in South America, but also globally, as our 11th largest trading partner globally.

Canada‑Brazil merchandise trade and investment have seen impressive growth in recent years. Bilateral trade has increased by more than 25 percent over the last five years, reaching $6.6 billion in 2012, with Brazil ranked as Canada’s 11th largest merchandise trading partner. Canadian exports to Brazil were $2.6 billion, and included fertilizers, mineral fuels and oils, machinery, and paper and paperboard. The $4.0 billion in Canadian imports from Brazil included minerals fuels and oils, inorganic chemicals, sugars, machinery, precious stones and metals, iron & steel and coffee and tea and spices.

 

In 2012, Brazil was the 7th highest source of foreign direct investment in Canada, with $15.8 billion in cumulative stocks. Brazil was the 12th largest recipient of Canadian direct investment abroad, with $9.8 billion of cumulative stock invested as of year‑end 2012. Some 500 Canadian companies are active in Brazil (over 50 in the mining sector alone). 

 

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 2012, EDC served 345 companies compared with 169 in 2000, and its business volume in Brazil for 2012 was $2.86 billion, an increase of 90 percent from 2009.

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. Working groups in four priority areas are bringing together stakeholders across Canada and Brazil to determine a strategy for enhancing our innovation collaboration to achieve tangible results for our respective economies. 

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.

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. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) closed its office and CIDA’s bilateral program in Brazil on March 31, 2011. Canada and Brazil signed a MOU on International Development Cooperation Effectiveness during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Brazil in August 2011. 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. 

June 2013 


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Date Modified:
2013-06-28