In line with the Government of Canada’s broad approach of pursing dialogue and diplomacy with the international community, Canada has established diplomatic engagement with Belarus. This shift follows a ten-year period during which official relations were limited following the flawed 2006 presidential elections, which included the harassment and intimidation of the opposition, and the subsequent suppression of protests by Belarusian authorities. Our revised approach reflects Canada's acknowledgement that the government of Belarus has made some progress in key areas, including the release of political prisoners in August 2015 and the conduct of peaceful presidential elections in August 2015, which demonstrated greater adherence to international norms. Canada also recognizes the constructive role played by Belarus in facilitating negotiations toward a ceasefire and peace agreement in Ukraine under the Minsk agreements.
Official representation to Belarus is based at the Canadian Embassy in Warsaw.
The Canadian Embassy in Warsaw manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) for Belarus, which supports projects focused on democratization and human rights in that country. Since the Fund’s establishment in 2012, it has supported a range of initiatives aimed at improving access to news and information for Belarusians, as well as other projects on issues such as children’s rights and religious freedom.
Global Affairs Canada has initiated the regulatory process to remove Belarus from the Area Control List (ACL), which requires that all Canadian exports to Belarus be authorized by an export permit, thereby lifting sanctions that have been in place since December 2006. As an interim measure, while this regulatory process moves forward, Global Affairs Canada will normally issue export permits for the export of any goods and technology to Belarus that are not specifically listed in the Export Control List.
Canada’s bilateral merchandise trade with Belarus for 2015 was $42.7 million, consisting of $7.4 million in exports and $35.3 million in imports.
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