Canada and Morocco enjoy excellent bilateral, social and cultural relations. An estimated 100,000 Canadians are of Moroccan origin, making it the largest North African community in Canada. Every year, nearly 3000 young Moroccans come to study in Canadian colleges and universities, traditionally in Quebec, but increasingly in other provinces and territories as well. Formal diplomatic relations were established in 1962. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, and commemorative events were organized by both governments.
Morocco is a key partner for Canada in La Francophonie and the Middle East and North Africa region, including within the framework of the G8-Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative. At the 2011 Deauville Summit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper supported the inclusion of Morocco as a member of the Deauville Partnership. In May 2012, Prime Minister Harper announced a $15 million contribution to a Transition Fund to provide grants and technical assistance to help accelerate economic and democratic reform efforts in Morocco, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia as part of the Deauville Partnership. Canada is a key stakeholder in international financial institutions which are playing a key role in helping North African states achieve economic recovery and modernization.
The close and dynamic bilateral relationship is underpinned by frequent high-level visits. In January 2013, Foreign Minister John Baird travelled to Marrakesh to participate in the Friends of Syria conference. In June 2012, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Saad-Dine El Otmani paid an official visit to Canada, and met with Foreign Minister John Baird (press release). In June 2012, Princess Lalla Hasna inaugurated the Moroccan cultural center in Montreal, the first of its kind in North America. In April 2012, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz led a trade delegation to Morocco. Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Morocco in January 2011, accompanied by the Ministers of Trade and Agriculture. In November 2009, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon participated in the Forum for the Future in Marrakesh, and Governor General Michaëlle Jean visited in December 2006.
Canada is represented in Morocco by the Embassy of Canada in Rabat, while Morocco is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa. Morocco also has a Consulate General and a tourism office in Montreal. Royal Air Maroc offers several flights a week between Casablanca and Montreal.
Canada’s development assistance to Morocco dates from 1963, with annual bilateral disbursements now averaging $8 million, educational reform has been an area of particularly close partnership. This program provides a platform through which Canada can share its experience in decentralising school systems to help Moroccan schools be more responsive to the needs of local communities. DFATD is also supporting skills training and employment creation for young men and women. At the local level, the Canadian Embassy in Morocco uses the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) to support small projects proposed and implemented by local organizations in Morocco.
Canada's commercial activity in Morocco is diversified, focusing on exporting merchandise and mining assets; establishing partnerships with teaching institutions; and setting up franchises and other global value chain activities. Morocco provides commercial opportunities of interest to Canada in the following sectors: infrastructure, agriculture and processed food, aerospace and education. Canada and Morocco are presently negotiating a free trade agreement. In 2014, our bilateral trade totalled close to C$708.7 million. Major drivers of Morocco’s economy include agriculture, tourism and mining (phosphates). An emerging high-end manufacturing sector (aerospace, automotive) is also present in the country. Morocco was Canada's 56th largest bilateral trade partner in 2014. Morocco is one of the priority countries identified in Canada's Global Markets Action Plan as well as in the Canadian strategy regarding international education.
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