Canada and Chile have a long-standing and productive commercial relationship. The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) is the cornerstone of the strong and growing trade and investment relationship between the two countries. In force since 1997, it was the first comprehensive free trade agreement signed by Chile. The agreement covers trade in goods and services, as well as investments, and includes side agreements on environment and labour relations. Canada and Chile also have bilateral agreements on taxation and air transportation.
Canada-Chile bilateral merchandise trade has more than tripled since the CCFTA came into force, growing to about $2.5 billion in 2012. Canadian merchandise exports to Chile totalled almost $789 million in 2012, and consisted mainly of machinery, mineral ores, mineral fuels and oil, electrical and electronic machinery and equipment and fats and oils. Canadian imports from Chile totalled $1.7 billion that same year. Major products imported included precious stones and metals (mostly gold and silver), fruits (mainly grapes), copper, fish and seafood (salmon), and beverages (wine).
Canadian direct investment in Chile is extensive and diversified, and is the primary component of the bilateral commercial relationship. The stock of Canadian direct investment in Chile stood at $13.7 billion at the end of 2012, while the stock of Chilean direct investment into Canada stood at $7.0 million in 2012. Canadian companies are mainly present in mining, utilities (water and energy), chemicals, infrastructure, and financial services. According to the Chilean Foreign Investment Committee, Canada was the largest source of direct investment inflows into Chile between 2003 and 2012.
In 2011, Canada and Chile marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Bilateral relations are broad and multi-faceted anchored in shared values, including a commitment to democracy and human rights, open markets and commerce, and multilateral cooperation to address global peace and security challenges.
The Canada-Chile Partnership Framework, signed in 2007 and supported by multiple agreements, serves as a roadmap for the expansion and deepening of collaboration between Canada and Chile in various priority sectors. These include sustainable development of minerals and metals, science and technology, investment promotion, youth mobility, education and exchanges.
Canada and Chile are close partners in multilateral fora, including the United Nations, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of American States and within the Summit of the Americas process. The two countries also work together in support of regional trade integration in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. As a founding member, Chile was a strong supporter of Canada achieving observer status to the Pacific Alliance.
Both countries are members of the United Nations’ Group of Friends of Haiti. Canada and Chile were among the first nations on the ground to stabilize the political crisis in 2004 and continue to collaborate in Haiti since then, including in post 2010 earthquake reconstruction efforts. Chile’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in the Montreal Ministerial Conference on Haiti which took place in January 2010.
Close personal ties link Canadians and Chileans. Canada is currently among the top foreign study destinations for Chilean post-secondary students, supported by both Chilean and Canadian scholarship programs. Chilean and Canadian educational institutions have a number of agreements which support student mobility, faculty exchanges and joint curricula programs. Up to 750 young Chileans are expected to travel to Canada in 2013 under the International Experience Canada (youth mobility) program to travel or work. In 2012, 631 Chileans came to Canada under the program.
Canada is also home to over 38,000 persons of Chilean origin. Approximately 28,500 Canadians tourists visited Chile in 2011.
An exchange of high-level visits has strengthened Canada-Chile relations in recent years. Prime Minister Harper, accompanied by Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast, and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy, made an official visit to Chile in April 2012. This visit followed the Prime Minister’s first official trip to Chile, in 2007, when the Canada-Chile Partnership Framework was signed and Canada’s renewed engagement in the Americas was launched. Prime Minister Harper welcomed former President Michelle Bachelet to Canada in 2008.
Minister of State Ablonczy met with Chilean acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alfonso Silva, during her visit to Chile in February 2013. The two also met when Mr. Silva visited Canada as the Chilean lead of the Canada-Chile Bilateral Political Consultations in March 2013. In 2012, the Speaker of the House of Commons Andrew Scheer conducted a working visit to Chile in October, and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird represented Canada as a “special invitee” at the IV Pacific Alliance Summit held in Chile in June. In September 2011, Minister of State Ablonczy visited Chile on the occasion of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in Valparaiso.
High level visits to Chile in 2010 included: Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt, who attended the American Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization and held a bilateral meeting with the Chilean Labour Minister in December; former Minister of National Revenue Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Atlantic Gateway Keith Ashfield, who led the Canadian delegation to the Exponaval trade show in November; then-Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan in August; then-Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken in May; and then-Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas Peter Kent, who attended the Presidential inauguration of Sebastián Piñera in March.
The Chilean Mining Minister De Solminihac visited Canada in March 2012 and 2013 for the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention. At the March 2010 edition of the PDAC convention in Toronto, Chile was represented by then-Minister of Mining and Energy Laurence Golborne, who was accompanied by a large Chilean business delegation. In September 2011, Chilean Minister of Agriculture José Antonio Galilea attended the Cairns meeting in Saskatchewan. Chilean Minister of National Property Catalina Parot visited Ottawa in October 2010.
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