The relationship between Mexico and Canada has continued to grow since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1944. Our trade and investment relationship has seen strong growth since the entry into force of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. Today, with increasing bilateral trade and investment; regular parliamentary meetings; bilateral security and military dialogues; North American collaboration with our common neighbour, the United States, in areas such as security, competitiveness and the environment; as well as international and regional cooperation in forums such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Canada and Mexico have become important strategic partners.
The Canada-Mexico relationship is characterized by sustained political engagement and regular dialogue in the bilateral, North American, hemispheric and multilateral contexts. Dialogue is pursued through a variety of means, ranging from periodic high-level consultations to inter-parliamentary meetings and the North American Leaders Summits, to more institutionalized mechanisms such as the innovative Canada-Mexico Partnership (CMP). The CMP, established in 2004, aims at promoting collaboration between the public and private sectors and operates through a series of working groups dealing with trade, investment and innovation, agri-business, environment, forestry, human capital, energy and labour mobility. A multi-track security dialogue involving annual security consultations as well as political-military and military talks is complemented by security and justice cooperation through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program.
Canada and Mexico are each other’s third largest trading partner. Canada-Mexico two-way trade amounted to over $34.3 billion in 2014. This is a remarkable increase of more than 650% in merchandise trade since 1993, the year before NAFTA came into force. Canadian direct investment in Mexico reached over $13 billion (stock) in 2014, while Mexican direct investment in Canada totaled $884 million (stock) in 2014. There is a significant number of Canadian companies that export to Mexico. Mexico is also a priority market for Export Development Canada (EDC), which has had a resident presence since 2000, providing extensive financial services related to Canadian exports and Canadian investments in the country. Mexico’s demographic and economic prospects point toward an even greater growth in commercial exchanges.
Mexico is the second-most important tourist destination for Canadians, with over 2 million Canadians travelling to Mexico every year for both business and pleasure. A significant number of Canadians, particularly a growing proportion of retirees, have purchased property in Mexico and spend extended periods there. Northbound, Canada saw a surge in visitors from Mexico during 2014 and the outlook remains strong. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, more than 172,000 Mexicans vacationed in Canada during 2014, up 14% compared to 2013.
In addition, Canada receives yearly approximately 20,000 agricultural workers under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, often cited as a model for international labour-mobility arrangements, as well as 5,000 students. Academic and cultural ties are essential components of our relationship. There are significant exchanges and cooperation at the academic level, with more than 400 signed agreements among universities and higher-education institutions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto in November 2015, on the margins of the G20 Summit in Turkey. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion met with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu on the sidelines of the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in November 2015.