Trade and Investment Relations
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 2002 and 2011.
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, served as a roadmap for the expansion and deepening of collaboration between Canada and Chile in various priority sectors, such as sustainable development of minerals and metals, science and technology, investment promotion, youth mobility, education and exchanges. President Piñera’s visit to Canada on May 30-31st 2013 provided an opportunity for the Heads of State to sign the renewed Canada-Chile Strategic Partnership Framework, extending cooperation for sustainable development of natural resources, strengthening ties in the areas of education, innovation, agriculture and the environment, and consolidating the bilateral and multilateral partnership in the areas of governance, defense and security. The visit also allowed for the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Cooperation in the Sustainable Development of Minerals and Metals; it also resulted in the signing of a Geological Survey collaboration, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Recognition of the Canadian Beef Classification System that, together with an approved export license, provides Canadian beef and beef products access to the Chilean market. The heads of States also signed a joint statement on Cooperation in the Energy Sector, and a Canada-Chile Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan. Lastly, it was announced that for the first time 40 Chilean public high school students would study in Canada for 6 months through the Chilean Government’s “Penguins Without Borders” program.
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 Canada and Chile are committed to strengthening security in Central America. The two countries announced in August 2013 a trilateral cooperation initiative to support police reform in Guatemala and El Salvador. Canada and Chile are also members of the United Nations’ Group of Friends of Haiti. They were among the first nations on the ground to stabilize the political crisis in 2004 and they continue to collaborate in Haiti since then, including in post 2010 earthquake reconstruction efforts.
Canada and Chile continue to expand their mutually fruitful bilateral defence collaboration, which has grown in scope and intensity in recent years, particularly since the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation in April 2012. Canada and Chile share many common defence goals, including the desire to increase the coherence and effectiveness of the Inter-American Defence Board. Both countries also seek to cooperate in dealing with hemispheric defence and security issues, and to contribute to the enhancement of security in the hemisphere. To that end, Armed Forces from Canada and Chile have successfully initiated trilateral defence cooperation to support capacity-building in Central America.
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.
Recent High Level Visits
An exchange of high-level visits has strengthened Canada-Chile relations in recent years. Minister John Baird came to Chile in August 2013 to follow-up on the State Visit of President Sebastián Piñera in May to Ottawa and Toronto, accompanied by Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Moreno and a 80-person delegation. Prime Minister Harper, accompanied by Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast, and then-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.
Former 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 Cerro Paranal, Chile, in June. In September 2011, then Minister of State Ablonczy visited Chile on the occasion of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in Valparaíso.
High level visits to Chile in 2010 included: former 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 former Minister of National Property Catalina Parot visited Ottawa in October 2010. Chile’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariano Fernandez participated in the Montreal Ministerial Conference on Haiti in January 2010.
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