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.
Although Canada recognized Mongolia in 1964, diplomatic relations were not established until November 30, 1973.
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 and the Standards Council of Canada. Negotiations are also underway to conclude a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).
Mongolia’s strides in democratic development stand out as a rare example in a region slow to embrace democratic institutions.
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. In July 2011, 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 Canadian International Development Agency 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 RCMP 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.
Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold visited Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver from Sept 27-Oct 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. Most recently, eight Canadian parliamentarians visited Mongolia to participate in the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Ulaanbaatar in January 2011. 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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