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Canada-Netherlands Relations

The Canada - Netherlands bilateral relationship is dynamic and forward-looking. We benefit from important mutual commercial and foreign policy interests; we share values of open, liberal democracy; and our citizens have significant person-to-person ties underpinned by a rich military and royal history.

One of Canada’s most significant trade, investment and innovation partners

The Netherlands is a country steeped in a long history of commerce and represents a gateway to Europe across the spectrum of trade, investment and technology exchange. It is Canada’s fifth largest European trading partner (12th largest worldwide in 2016), and Canada’s second largest source of foreign direct investment. The stock of Dutch direct investment in Canada was valued at nearly $93.5 billion in 2016. Bilateral trade was approximately $6.5 billion in 2016. Canadian merchandise exports to the Netherlands were at $2.8 billion in 2016. Imports were at $3.7 billion. In 2015 (latest data available), Canada’s services exports to the Netherlands totaled $1.0 billion and services imports from the Netherlands to Canada were valued at $2.2 billion.

The Netherlands has an enormous transport logistics infrastructure built around the Port of Rotterdam (the largest in Europe) and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The country counts a highly international and diverse workforce and attractive tax regimes, making it an ideal location for Canadian companies to invest. Canada’s commercial program in the Netherlands has a strong emphasis on the promotion of Dutch investment in Canada and technology exchange.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Canada and the European Union signed the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at the Canada-EU Summit on October 30, 2016. The European Parliament approved CETA on February 15, 2017. Provisional application of CETA started on September 21, 2017, at which time all economically significant parts of the Agreement entered into force. CETA is expected to generate new economic opportunities for both Canada and the Netherlands.

Working side by side to create a more peaceful and prosperous world

The Netherlands is a constructive international partner for Canada. We are broadly like-minded, as open Western liberal democracies with a tradition of tolerance, respect for human rights and rule of law. The Dutch are well-regarded multilateral players alongside Canada in the UN, NATO, OSCE, and the various international judicial institutions headquartered in The Hague. The complementarity in our approaches provides lessons-learned in both directions. We also share mutually-beneficial partnerships and perspectives with the Dutch on police, security, intelligence and migration issues. These partnerships and exchanges take place with the Dutch in Europe – but also in the Americas, where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a neighbour sharing interests and responsibilities with us in an area of keen foreign policy interest for Canada.

An important link in Canada’s storied military heritage

Her Royal Highness Princess Juliana and her family lived in Ottawa during much of the occupation, and Canadian forces spearheaded the Liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War Two. The Royal Family gifted Ottawa with a multitude of tulip bulbs in recognition of the wartime links. This was the genesis of Ottawa’s well-known Canadian Tulip Festival, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012.

Significant people to people links

The ties forged during the Second World War are but one part of the warm personal ties that link our countries. About one million persons of Dutch origin reside in Canada, a figure which translates to 3% of the Canadian population. Meanwhile, the Canadian Embassy in The Hague is aware of between 4500 to 5000 Canadians who live in the Netherlands.

September 2017

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