Canada - Serbia Relations
In Serbia, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Belgrade. Serbia is represented in Canada by its Embassy in Ottawa, a Consulate in Toronto, and an Honourary Consul in Vancouver.
Relations between Canada and Serbia quickly returned to a positive track following the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in October 2000, and continue to expand and deepen. Canada is encouraged by the democratic and economic transformation of Serbia and its commitment to achieving greater integration and co-operation with the European Union and its institutions. Canada strongly supports Serbia’s aspiration for EU membership. In 2006, Canada welcomed Serbia’s admission into NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and to La Francophonie as an observer. The international community, including Canada, supports Serbia’s objective of developing strong regional cooperation with its neighbours.
Canada’s priorities in are: increasing commercial and economic co-operation between our two countries, encouraging continued democratic reform and good governance, strengthening the rule of law and combating corruption, enhancing respect for human and minority rights, and providing assistance in security sector reform.
Canada and Serbia enjoy strong people-to-people relationships and benefit from cultural and academic exchanges.
In recent years, a number of treaties have been signed to strengthen economic relations and benefit individual citizens. A bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement entered into force in 2015. A Social Security agreement, to facilitate coordination of social benefits to eligible recipients, entered into force in 2014, while in 2013, an agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation came into effect.
Canadian Development and Humanitarian Assistance
In 2009, CIDA officially closed its office in the Western Balkans. The former Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided technical assistance to the Balkan region, and played a significant role in areas such as health, education, rule of law, gender issues, and human and minority rights, disbursing $5.26 million in funding during its last year of operation (2008-2009). Currently, a limited number of small project grants are available through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives generally, to non-governmental organizations.
In response to massive May 2014 floods in the Balkans, Canada committed $1 million to restore and improve flood protection systems in Serbia. This was in addition to $900,000 in humanitarian assistance funding to help meet the needs of thousands of people affected by the flooding and subsequent landslides in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
Military and Defense Cooperation
Canada actively supports Serbia’s ongoing military and security reforms. The country was admitted to the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces’ Military Training and Co-operation Programme (MTCP) in 2005. Through the MTCP, Serbian military officers are offered training in language proficiency, peace support operations, staff duties, professional development, and exercise development. Canada, in cooperation with the Netherlands, has also sponsored a Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) course in Serbia annually since 2008. The latest iteration was conducted in October 2016, with 15 students participating from Serbia and other MTCP member countries in the region.
Trade and Investment
Canada-Serbia trade has increased significantly over the past 10 years. In 2015, Canadian merchandise exports to Serbia totaled $17.98 million with metals, machinery, and chemicals counting among the top exports, up slightly from $16.8 million in 2014. Imports from Serbia were $78.9 million in 2015 with lead categories motor vehicles, metals, vegetables, and plastics and rubber as the top imports, slightly down from $84.2 million in 2014.
Investment remains one of the main drivers of economic relations, and important Canadian investments have been made or committed in the areas of mining and energy, agri-food, pharmaceuticals general manufacturing, processing and trade, and information and communications technology, among others. Opportunities for further Canadian investment include road, rail, and urban transportation infrastructure, energy and mining, and renewable energy resources.
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