Similarities between Canada and Mongolia abound: cold climates, vast landscapes with small populations, large and powerful neighbours, abundant mineral resources and outwardly-oriented governments. Canada and Mongolia have a cooperative bilateral relationship which includes significant Canadian investment interests in the mining sector. Both sides are seeking to expand bilateral and multilateral ties.
Canada recognised Mongolia in 1964 and diplomatic relations were established on November 30, 1973.
Recently, Canada and Mongolia have increased their efforts to promote educational linkages and partnerships between the two countries. The number of Mongolians choosing Canada as a study destination is steadily increasing and new institutional partnerships are being signed between Canadian and Mongolian universities. Canadian students conduct research projects in Mongolia as part of their study programmes in Canada. In October 2013, the first ever Study in Canada Fair was held in Ulaanbaatar, attracting a record number of visitors for this type of event.
Canada’s main commercial interest in Mongolia is mining investment. Canada is the second-largest source of foreign investment in Mongolia after China. Efforts are underway to expand bilateral trade into new sectors such as agriculture, and construction. In support of these efforts, bilateral cooperation memoranda of understanding have been signed with Mongolian agencies by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Standards Council of Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation. Negotiations are also underway to conclude a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
Mongolia has made great strides in democratic development.
In 2006, Mongolia opened its Independent Authority on Anti-Corruption. It is also making sincere efforts to protect and promote the human rights of Mongolians. From July 2011 to July 2013, Mongolia assumed the chair of the Community of Democracies, an international organization in which Canada chairs a working group on enabling and protecting civil society.
Canada assists Mongolia in addressing problems of poverty, economic development and institutional capacity. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development provides funding to Canadian and multilateral organizations active in Mongolia, and supports development projects of Mongolian non-government organizations.
In addition, the International Development Research Centre has supported projects in Mongolia in the field of information technology. Canada’s Investment Cooperation Program (INC) is contributing to Canadian private sector initiatives supporting Mongolia’s community and economic development. The Public Service Commission of Canada has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Civil Service Commission of Mongolia on cooperation in matters related to public service reform.
Mongolia strives to play the role of a responsible regional player. Mongolia contributes to UN peacekeeping operations and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Mongolia has also agreed to accede to the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines. Canada and Mongolia cooperate bilaterally through the Canadian Forces Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP). In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police cooperates with Mongolia through its customs and national police agencies. Mongolian police officers have come to Canada for training in the investigation of major crimes and financial crimes.
Canada and Mongolia have supported each other at the UN. Additionally, Canada and Mongolia are members of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the WTO. Mongolia wishes to increase its multilateral presence and would like to join APEC after the current moratorium on new members ends.
At the invitation of President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Governor General David Johnston conducted Canada’s first ever State visit to Mongolia from October 24-26, 2013. He was joined by an official delegation of parliamentarians and an accompanying delegation of public and private-sector leaders. The occasion marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Mongolia. Governor General Johnson delivered an address before the Mongolian parliament highlighting this important milestone in the evolving and strengthening relationship between both countries. During their visit, the Canadian delegates discussed with their Mongolian counterparts mutually beneficial initiatives in many fields, such as commerce, governance and education.
From March 24-29, 2013, Chairman of the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia, Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, led a parliamentary delegation on an official visit to Toronto, Ottawa and the Vancouver area at the invitation of the Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer. In the meetings with their Canadian counterparts and business leaders, the Mongolian delegates showed most interest in Canadian expertise in international trade and in residential construction using wood, from which Mongolia already benefits through softwood lumber companies in British Columbia. Discussions with the Canadian mining company representatives and other concerned groups were also held.
Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold visited Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver from September 27-October 1, 2010. During the visit, he met with Prime Minister Harper and a Canada-Mongolia Joint Statement was issued setting out priorities for the development of the bilateral relationship.
Canada and Mongolia have also witnessed a number of reciprocal visits of parliamentarians and government officials at all levels. Notably in January 2011, eight Canadian parliamentarians went to Ulaanbaatar to participate in the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum. The Canadian delegation was co-chaired by Senator Joseph Day and Member of Parliament Bryon Wilfert.
There is a Mongolia-Canada Parliamentary Association in Ulaanbaatar and a Canada-Mongolia Friendship Group in Ottawa. The latter is chaired by Senator Joseph Day.
The first Mongolian state visit to Canada was made in October 2004 by then president Natsagiin Bagabandi.
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