Spanning more than 70 years, Canada and Mexico share a vibrant, multi-faceted relationship that is characterized by deep people-to-people ties, rich cultural connections and growing trade and investment. In recognition of this important relationship, the Government of Canada has committed to enhancing and expanding relations with Mexico, both bilaterally and within the North American partnership.
Canada and Mexico have become important strategic partners that share ongoing dialogue and engagement. Our collaborative efforts are pursued through a variety of means, ranging from periodic high-level consultations and inter-parliamentary meetings to more institutionalized mechanisms such as the Canada-Mexico Partnership (CMP). The CMP, established in 2004, aims to promote collaboration between the public and private sectors and operates through a series of working groups covering: energy; agri-business; labour mobility; human capital; trade, investment and innovation; environment; mining; and forestry. A yearly security dialogue involving security consultations, as well as political-military talks, is complemented by strategic security programming through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program and the Global Partnership Program. At the same time, Canada works closely with Mexico to advance common interests through international and regional forums such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Canada and Mexico have also focussed on collaboration within North America, working closely with our common neighbour, the United States. Through mechanisms such as the North American Leaders’ Summit, our countries work together in areas such as security, competitiveness and the environment to create a more integrated, sustainable, and globally-competitive North American economy. Canada hosted the most recent North American Leader’s Summit in Ottawa on June 29, 2016.
Our trade and investment relationship has seen strong growth since the entry into force of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. Canada and Mexico are each other’s third largest trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade reaching over $37.8 billion in 2015. Canadian direct investment in Mexico reached over $14.8 billion (stock) in 2015, while Mexican direct investment in Canada totaled $1.4 billion (stock). There are also a significant number of Canadian companies that have business, trade and investment ties with Mexico. As a result, Mexico has been identified as a priority market for Export Development Canada (EDC), which has operated a regional office in Mexico since 2000, providing extensive financial services related to Canadian exports and investments in the country. Mexico’s demographic and economic prospects point toward an even greater growth in commercial exchanges.
Our people-to-people connections are undeniable, with nearly 2 million Canadians travelling to Mexico every year for both business and pleasure. In addition, a significant number of Canadians, particularly retirees, have purchased property in Mexico and spend extended periods of time there. Northbound, Canada has recently seen an increase in visitors from Mexico. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, more than 200,000 Mexicans vacationed in Canada during 2015.
In addition, Canada receives approximately 20,000 agricultural workers annually under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, often cited as a model for international labour-mobility arrangements. Mexico is also Canada’s 10th largest source country for international students, hosting more than 5000 Mexican students in 2015. Academic and cultural ties are essential components of our relationship. There is a significant amount of ongoing academic collaboration and exchange, with more than 400 signed agreements among Canadian universities and Mexican universities and technical institutes.