Canada - Tunisia Relations

Canada - Tunisia Relations

Canada and Tunisia established diplomatic relations in 1957.  The bilateral relationship is cordial and both countries are members of La Francophonie.  There are approximately 15,000-20,000 Canadians of Tunisian origin in Canada, residing mainly in Quebec. Canada is a top destination for international education and attracts close to 2000 Tunisian students annually.

Canada welcomes the progress Tunisia has made towards democratic reform since the Jasmine Revolution of January 2011, and has been working with the Tunisian Government and with the international community to support this political and economic transition.

Although Canada and Tunisia lack a bilateral extradition treaty, both are parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC), which permit extradition in accordance with Canadian law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada has also introduced the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials (Tunisia and Egypt) Act, which gives effect to written requests from the Tunisian government to freeze assets placed in Canadian financial institutions by senior officials of the former regime, as well as their family members and associates.

Commercial Relations

Although commercial relations between Canada and Tunisia are relatively modest, Canada is committed to pursuing new opportunities to deepen business ties and expand investment in Tunisia. Tunisia presents notable commercial opportunities for Canada in the infrastructure, consulting engineering services, agriculture, education, information and communication technology and green technology sectors. Our two countries have begun negotiating a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). In 2015, our bilateral merchandise trade with Tunisia totalled C$212.4 million. Tunisia ranked 81st among Canada’s bilateral trading partners in 2015. Tunisia is one of the priority countries identified in Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan and Canada’s International Education Strategy.

From April 9 to April 16, 2016, the Embassy of Canada in Tunis led a Tunisian multisector trade delegation of 30 members to Montreal. Companies in the agribusiness field participated in the SIAL trade show. The entire mission attended business meetings and information sessions organized in collaboration with the Chambers of Commerce of Laval et Sfax and TFO Canada.

Canadian Programming

Canada has contributed $20 million (CAD) to the Middle East and North Africa Transition Fund, of which Tunisia is a recipient. To date, 16 projects valued at more than $42 million (USD) in Tunisia have been financed through this fund. Following the Jasmine Revolution of early 2011, the Government of Canada provided support to the transition, including for capacity-building programs in voter registration for the 2011 National General Assembly elections, freedom of expression and information, women’s’ civic and political engagement, media training and human rights.  During the Libyan revolution of 2011, Canada also contributed $10.6 million in humanitarian assistance to help alleviate the strain of that conflict on neighbouring countries, including Tunisia. Tunisia also benefits from the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program. Current projects with Tunisia focus on limiting the movement of foreign terrorist fighters through enhanced border security, strengthening financial regimes to counter terrorist financing as well as support for local initiatives that address violent extremism.

May 2016


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