This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Russia. Canada and Russia enjoy a multifaceted and productive relationship as vast, resource-rich northern countries. The two countries cooperate on an ongoing basis through senior official consultations on issues relating to the Arctic, strategic stability, counter-terrorism and defence relations. Canada and Russia also cooperate extensively within the framework of the UN, G-8, G-20, Arctic Council, NATO-Russia Council and other multilateral fora.
As the two largest Arctic countries, Canada and Russia share many common opportunities and challenges. We have a long history of cooperation on issues including science, energy, environmental protection and sustainable economic development. We are working together bilaterally, and at the Arctic Council, which Canada will be chairing in 2013, to protect the environment and create the conditions for sustainable development.
Bilateral trade relations with Russia have expanded significantly over the last decade with Canadian merchandise exports increasing more than 8 times over – from $179 million in 1999 to $1.5 billion in 2011 – making Russia Canada’s 19th most important merchandise export market. Key Canadian merchandise exports to Russia were machinery, meat, motor vehicles, fish, and aircraft and parts. Merchandise imports from Russia amounted to $1.3 billion in 2011, and were concentrated in mineral fuels and oil, fertilizers, precious stones and metals, rubber, and inorganic chemicals and compounds. Canada also exchanges services with Russia: exports of $254 million and imports of $419 million in 2009.
In June 2012, Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway led a trade mission to Russia, on which he was accompanied by nearly 30 Canadian companies in the fields of construction and building products, aerospace and mining. Canada believes that Russia’s modernization agenda and its recent accession to the World Trade Organization will serve to further strengthen the bilateral trading relationship with Russia.
Culture has a high profile in Russia, where a rapidly developing market presents new opportunities for Canadian cultural goods and services. Canada’s cultural relations with Russia are increasingly vibrant. Our artists are gaining popularity in Russia, including Cirque du Soleil, Garou, Diana Krall, Leonard Cohen, Edouard Lock and La La La Human Steps, Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, all of whom had very successful shows in Russia over the past years. Robert Bateman and Bryan Adams attended openings of their exhibits. Angela Hewitt and Marc-André Hamelin both have their dedicated audiences. Marshall McLuhan's centennial was celebrated across the country in 2011. His books alongside those by Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, Mordecai Richler, Jacques Godbout are all translated into Russian. "Poets of Quebec", a most comprehensive anthology of French-Canadian poetry also came out of press in 2011.
Meetings between Canadian and Russian representatives regularly occur at high levels. Prime Minister Harper met with former president Dmitry Medvedev on the margins of the APEC Summit in Honolulu in November 2011, and President Medvedev traveled to Canada to participate in the G-8 and G-20 Summits in June 2010. More recently, Prime Minister Harper spoke with President Putin following his inauguration on May 7, 2012. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, meets regularly with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, including most recently at the G-8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Washington in April 2012. Minister Lavrov was last in Canada for the G-8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting and the Arctic Ocean Foreign Ministers’ meeting in March 2010.
Canada is officially represented in Russia by our Embassy in Moscow as well as an Honorary Consulate in Vladivostok. The Russian Federation maintains an Embassy in Ottawa, Consulates in both Toronto and Montreal, and an Honorary Consulate in Vancouver.
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