Canada and Belize have positive bilateral relations, based in part on our shared historical traditions, systems of government and cultural ties as members of the Commonwealth. Due to its geographic location, Belize is considered both a Central American and Caribbean country and it benefits from networks in both regions.
Canada is engaged with Belize on a wide range of issues, including development, defense,citizen security and climate change.
Belize benefits from CIDA’s Caribbean Community regional programming, as well as the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and is eligible to benefit from CIDA’s regional $600 million fund in the Commonwealth Caribbean. The Department of National Defence of Canada is involved with helping to strengthen the capacity of the Belizean Defence Force (BDF) to support civilian authorities in addressing threats including organized crime. For example, they are working with Belizean officials to determine the most effective means to provide assistance with their strategic defence and security review and the development (in partnership with the US) of a Joint Intelligence Operations Centre for the Ministry of National Security. Sharing land borders with Mexico and Guatemala, in addition to a lengthy Caribbean coastline, Belize has witnessed the increased activity of national and transnational criminal groups, and is increasingly being used as a corridor for illegal trade in drugs, arms and people. Belize benefits from regional security projects under DFAIT's Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP)
With a GDP of CAD$1.87 billion in 2014, Belize is the smallest economy in Central America.
Two-way trade between Canada and Belize totaled $23.2 million in 2014. Canadian exports to Belize totaled $21.5 million in 2014 and included machinery, malt, and tobacco. Imports from Belize in 2014 totaled $1.6 million. Belize benefits from CARIBCAN, Canada’s preferential trade arrangement under which 97% of Commonwealth Caribbean exports to Canada enter duty free.
The majority of Canadian investment in Belize is in the financial services, energy and forestry sectors. Potential for the expansion of Canadian economic interests in Belize remains positive but limited, due to the small size of the market.
Belize and Guatemala have a long-standing territorial dispute, in which Guatemala claims a portion of Belizean territory. In December 2008, following negotiations led by the OAS Secretary General, Guatemala and Belize officially agreed to take the steps necessary under their own national laws to refer their border dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Before being formally presented to the ICJ, the agreement requires the approval of the legislative branches of both countries, and must then be put to the citizens in domestic referenda. On May 2015 both countries signed an agreement to eliminate the requirement to hold simultaneous referendums. Canada encourages both countries to find a peaceful solution to this conflict. Canada has long supported efforts to resolve this dispute, including through contributions to the Organization of American States (OAS) Office in the Adjacency Zone.
People to People Links
Belize is an increasingly popular destination with Canadian tourists. Furthermore, it is home to some 3,000 Canadian Mennonites.
In Belize, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada to Belize, located in Guatemala City. Belize is represented in Canada through an Embassy in Washington, D.C. and a consulate in Calgary.
Citizen Security Initiatives
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on April 11, 2015, support for several new regional initiatives that will promote health, security, democratic governance and border management in Belize. He made the announcement on the final day of the VII Summit of the Americas.
Title: Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening in the Caribbean
Cost and timeframe: $19.9 million (2014-2019)
Implementing partner: Caribbean Court of Justice This regional project is aimed at strengthening the judicial system to be more responsive to the needs of citizens in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region. Transparent and predictable administration of the courts benefits local and foreign investors as well as citizens.
Title: Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean
Cost and timeframe: $19.8 million (2014-2019)
Implementing Partner: University of the West Indies (Cave Hill)
This regional project is aimed at ensuring better access to justice in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region. It will help create a more stable and predictable legal environment to promote business development and provide increased access for citizens through alternative means of dispute resolution, outside of the court system.
Title: Improved Effectiveness of Parliaments in Latin America and the Caribbean
Cost and timeframe: $8 million (2015-2019)
Implementing partner: ParlAmericas
This regional project will help ParlAmericas to strengthen the capacity of parliamentarians in the Caribbean and Latin America to carry out their functions more effectively and contribute to policymaking related to issues of national and regional significance.
Title: Anti-Money Laundering Initiatives
Cost and timeframe: up to $1.77 million (2015-2017)
Implementing partners: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, International Monetary Fund
The three regional projects (which benefit Central America and the Caribbean) will support legitimate economies by increasing governments’ capacity to limit the smuggling of cash and goods into and through their respective jurisdictions, and convene training sessions aimed at ensuring the consistent application of anti-money laundering practices.
Title: Anti-Drug Trafficking Initiatives
Cost and timeframe: up to $7.85 million (2015-2019)
Implementing partners: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Customs Organization, Organization of American States Inter-American Committee against Terrorism
The three regional projects will increase governments’ capacity for marine interdiction and port control, including screening and inspection, and provide training in port security and emergency management.
Title: Combatting Gangs and Criminality in Central America and the Caribbean
Cost and timeframe: up to $10.77 million (2015-2018)
Implementing partners: Justice Education Society, United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, INTERPOL, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Eight projects that benefit Central America or the Caribbean which will provide specialized equipment, training and coaching to police, prosecutors, judges, technicians and analysts in several countries, including increasing capacity for compiling ballistics evidence, improving cyber infrastructure and cybercrime enforcement capacity, and strengthening community crime prevention.
Title: Mexican Border Management and Crime Prevention
Cost and timeframe: up to $3.82 million (2015-2018)
Implementing partner: Organization of American States Inter-American Committee against Terrorism
The two regional projects will increase the capacity of beneficiary states to deal with criminal threats to maritime ports and increase security in the tourism industry in regions popular with North American tourists.
Title: Central America and Caribbean Border and Human Trafficking
Cost and timeframe: up to $5 million (2015-2018)
Implementing partners: International Bureau for Children’s Rights, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL
Three regional projects that will help increase border security in beneficiary states and increase states’ capacity to fight human trafficking and human smuggling.
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