The Canada-Egypt bilateral relationship is a mutually respectful and beneficial partnership, founded on a common interest in peace, stability and security in the Middle East, development cooperation, cross-cultural understanding and growing trade relations. Canada and Egypt established embassies in their respective capitals in 1954. Since that time Canada has enjoyed positive relations with this key Arab partner, which is an important actor in efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The shared commitment for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East lies at the core of Canada's relations with Egypt.
The relationship is not limited to this issue, however, and continues to expand into new areas of cooperation. International trade negotiations, disarmament issues, La Francophonie, cultural exchanges and education are just a few of the areas of common interest to both countries. As both an Arab and an African state, Egypt is uniquely situated to be a partner for Canada in the Middle East and North African regions. During former Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon’s visit to Cairo in August 2009, Canada and Egypt agreed to establish a strategic dialogue led by the two Foreign Ministers. Both Canada and Egypt have benefitted from high-level political consultations, most recently in January 2010 in Cairo.
Canada first gained prominence in Egypt with its successful intervention in the 1956 Suez Crisis. Canadian Forces personnel have participated in UN peacekeeping forces in the Sinai and are currently serving as peacekeepers in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Egyptian and Canadian forces serve together in several peacekeeping operations. Canada is an important destination for Egyptian emigrants and there are now large Egyptian-Canadian communities in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is actively engaged in Egypt, where it works to generate economic growth by strengthening the enabling environment for small and medium-sized enterprises and providing skills for employment to marginalized people. The program is aligned with Egypt's priority of creating adequate employment opportunities for its young people. Canada has had a cooperation program in Egypt since 1972 which has achieved concrete results, notably in the sectors of basic education and private sector development.
Since 1999, Canada and Egypt have collaborated in an exchange of new diplomats in training. On a regular basis, groups of new Egyptian diplomats come to Canada for a program of training. This unique and valuable exchange is an important aspect of bilateral relations.
Canada prioritises its engagement with Egypt on a wide range of global issues, including the development of democratic governance, pluralism and human rights, as well as the promotion of citizenship rights, the rights of women and girls, and freedom of expression and association. Canada continually strives to maintain and strengthen its valued relationship with Egypt, a historical and key partner bilaterally, regionally, and internationally. Egyptians led a popular revolution in January 2011, beginning the country’s democratic transition. Canada supports this process and is committed to maintaining positive bilateral relations with Egypt as the country transitions to full democracy.
Trade and Economic Relations
Canada and Egypt enjoy a strong and diverse commercial relationship. Canadian merchandise exports in 2011 were valued at $ 720.07 million compared to $612.54 million in 2010 and $ 565.51 million in 2009. This represents the third highest total of Canada’s exports to the Middle East and North Africa region for the year. Top export products in 2011 included: iron and steel, ores, cereals, grain/fruit, paper/paperboard, vegetables, aircraft, machinery, mineral fuel & oil, dairy products and wood. Since 1999, Canadian Exports to Egypt have more than tripled.
Imports from Egypt in 2011 were valued at $ 454.07 million compared to $298.2 million in 2010. The top products were precious stones & metals and fertilizers, textile floor covering, knit apparel, mineral fuel, woven apparel and preserved food.
Key priority sectors identified by the Commercial Section at the Canadian Embassy in Cairo include: agriculture, food and beverages, Cleantech, education, information communication technology, and life sciences.