Canada established full diplomatic relations with Colombia in 1953.
In Colombia, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada located in Bogotá. Canada also has an Honorary Consul in Cartagena.
Colombia is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa. Colombia also has consulates in Montréal, Toronto (including trade office) and Vancouver.
Canada and Colombia enjoy a multifaceted and rapidly growing bilateral relationship consistent with Canada’s engagement in the Americas: increasing economic opportunity, strengthening security and institutions, and building stable foundations through relationships. Our deepening ties have been underscored by high-level contact: including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attendance at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April 2012 in the company of Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy, as well as the Prime Minister’s visits to Bogotá in July 2007 and August 2011, the latter in the company of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy. Other high-level visits include: Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt’s visit to Bogotá in September 2010 and in January 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s attendance of the Presidential inauguration in Bogotá on 7 August 2010, and former Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan’s visit to Bogotá in August 2010. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was in Toronto in September 2011 to accept an award and former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe visited Canada in June 2009, and again in June 2010 for a special session of the G-8 Summit.
Canada’s relationship with Colombia is multipronged and includes dialogue on human rights; a strong bilateral commercial relationship; development cooperation; collaboration on humanitarian issues, labour rights, mine action, peace and security, counter-narcotics and defense.
Canada closely monitors the human rights situation in Colombia and regularly raises issues of concern with Colombian officials. Canada and Colombia also hold human rights consultations, most recently held in Ottawa in July 2011, in addition to bilateral political and security consultations.
The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, as well as parallel agreements on labour cooperation and the environment, came into force on August 15, 2011.
In May 2010, Canada and Colombia also signed the Agreement concerning Annual Reports on Human Rights and Free Trade between Canada and the Republic of Colombia.
These agreements join a range of instruments—including advocacy and bilateral and development cooperation—through which Canada supports Colombia’s ongoing efforts towards greater peace, security, prosperity and respect for human rights.
In 2009, as part of Canada's new aid effectiveness agenda, Colombia was selected as one of the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) 20 countries of focus. The overall goal of CIDA's programming in Colombia is to contribute to the improvement of the respect of human rights and to contribute to reducing inequality and poverty. To achieve these ends, CIDA is focusing its support on the rights of vulnerable populations, particularly those of children and youth, by targeting their rights and access to education. Through these youth orientated programs, CIDA intends to help break the cycles of violence that have plagued Colombia and will prepare future generations to better integrate into licit economic activity. Additionally, CIDA will support sustainable economic growth activities to increase the participation of vulnerable populations in the economic development of their communities and to provide sustainable productive options to illegal activities. CIDA has disbursed over $100 million in Colombia since 2006.
From 2003 to 2011, working primarily through the Organization of American States and UNICEF, Canada has contributed more than $5.8 million for humanitarian demining, stockpile destruction, victim assistance, mine risk education and mine action coordination.
With regards to labour cooperation, Canada has invested $630,000, since 2009, in Colombia’s national and departmental tripartite consultation bodies in order to facilitate dialogue and strengthen cooperation between government, employers and workers representatives. Over $500,000 has been disbursed since 2009 under a 3-year project co-financed by CIDA and Human Resources and Skills Developments Canada (HRSDC) for labour-related project activities in the areas of labour rights compliance and occupational safety and health.
Canada has substantial peace and security programming activities in Colombia. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund has invested over $31 million in Colombia since 2006. Projects support transitional justice and victims’ rights (particularly for vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians), international monitoring of conflict issues (including the emerging priority of land restitution), conflict management and prevention, mine action, and supporting Colombia as a regional partner in security efforts (e.g. peace operations).
Colombia has also benefitted from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Crime Capacity Building Programs.
The RCMP and the Colombian National Police also work closely in conducting investigations targeting drug trafficking organizations with the objective of ensuring safe communities in Canada and in Colombia. The RCMP has also provided technical assistance on issues such as witness protection, child exploitation and criminal science.
Colombia is a priority hemispheric partner for the Department of National Defence. Canada has had a Defence Attaché in Bogotá since 2001; Colombia recently reinstated its military attaché position in Canada. Colombia became a member of the Department of National Defence’s (DND) Military Training Cooperation Program (MTCP) in 2011. As such, the Colombian armed forces will have access to training that will expose them to Canadian values, including the need to incorporate/promote the respect in human rights in basic military training and in guidelines for operations. Canada and Colombia also hold Defence Policy Talks.
Colombia is an established market for Canadian businesses, and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement and parallel Agreements, will benefit a wide range of exporters and service providers, as well as promote a more stable and predictable climate for Canadian investment.
Canada-Colombia two-way merchandise trade in 2011 reached $1.6 billion, making Colombia our sixth-largest bilateral trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean. Colombia is Canada’s third largest merchandise export destination in this region with Canadian merchandise exports totalling $760.9 million in 2011. Canadian merchandise imports from Colombia totalled $799.7 million for 2011. Major Canadian merchandise exports consist of cereals (mainly wheat), machinery, paper and paperboard, fertilizers and electrical machinery. Canada’s top merchandise imports from Colombia include mineral fuels and oils (including coal), coffee, edible fruits and nuts, live trees and plants (mainly flowers) and sugar.
Colombia ranks as the fifth-largest destination for Canadian direct investment in South and Central America. The total stock of Canadian direct investment in Colombia reached $1.7 billion at the end of 2011.
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