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Canada - Belgium Relations

Political relations

Recent visits

Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde conducted a State visit to Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal from March 11-17, 2018, accompanied by an important delegation of almost 270 persons, including Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, State Secretary for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem, all five Ministers-President of the sub-federal entities, more than 100 business executives, as well as 24 university rectors and presidents of higher learning institutions, and 30 journalists. A total of 46 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding were signed during the visit.

In June 2017, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel visited Ottawa and met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as with Governor General David Johnston.

Bilateral links

Canada and Belgium are two officially multilingual countries with federal political systems. For a great many years, our countries have maintained excellent bilateral relations based on bonds of friendship and trust, as well as the shared values of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, openness and tolerance.

These bonds originate fromCanada’s contribution to the liberation of Belgium in the First and Second World Wars and the major convergences between the foreign policies of our two countries, committed in favour of a multilateralism based on international law, the promotion of good governance and maintaining strong transatlantic links.

Canada and Belgium cooperate at many levels, including at the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, la Francophonie, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Belgium's membership  in the European Union is another important aspect of our bilateral political dialogue.

Canada and Belgium are not only close NATO allies but also work alongside each other in the fight against anti-personnel mines, chemical weapons and the use of child soldiers. Both support and contribute to peacekeeping operations and the fight against climate change.

A bilateral agreement on youth mobility allows young Belgians to travel to Canada and young Canadians to Belgium, for up to a year,to travel, work or study and discover. . This successful initiative has already allowed 8,000+ young Belgians to discover Canada since 2007.

Belgium and Canada have signed bilateral agreements in the areas of taxation, social security, judicial cooperation on crime, air transportation, reciprocal recognition of drivers’ licences, as well as in scientific, industrial and technological cooperation, and more recently audio-visual co-production.

Representation

The Government of Canada maintains three diplomatic missions in Belgium: the Embassy of Canada to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, the Mission of Canada to the European Union, and the Joint Delegation of Canada to NATO. Canada also has an honorary consul for Flanders and an honorary consul for Wallonia. Moreover, the Province of Quebec is represented by the Délégation générale du Québec in Brussels.

In Canada, Belgium is represented by its Embassy in Ottawa and a Consulate General in Montreal; it also has a network of honorary consulates. The three Belgian Regional Governments (Région wallonneRégion Bruxelles-Capitale and the Flanders Region) have also representation offices in Canada.

Economic and trade relations

Trade

Canada and Belgium enjoy dynamic trade relations, characterized by significant bilateral investment and business exchanges, as well as the ongoing development of technological partnerships. Due to its strategic location at the gate of Europe, Belgium offers Canadian companies unparalleled access, by both air, land and sea, to Europe’s major markets and suppliers. The Belgian ports are major points of entry for Canadian goods in Europe. Canada, in turn, is a key gateway for Belgium to the North American market.

Belgium is Canada’s twelfth largest trading partner in the world and the sixth largest EU trading partner.

Canadian merchandise exports to Belgium amounted to $3.8 billion in 2018 (rank 4th in the EU). Top sectors included precious stones and metals, mineral ores, pharmaceuticals products and vehicles (excluding parts). 

In 2018, Canada's merchandise imports from Belgium were valued at $4.4 billion, placing Belgium sixteenth in the world as a source of merchandise imports to Canada. Top sectors were mineral oils and fuels, organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, motor vehicles and machinery. Canada’s bilateral trade in services with Belgium totalled nearly $2.0 billion in 2018.

Investment

Bilateral investment is very important for both countries. There are more than 80 Belgian subsidiaries in Canada and about 70 Canadian subsidiaries in Belgium. At the end of 2018, the stock value of Belgian direct investment in Canada was close to $8.0 billion while Canadian direct investment in Belgium was more than $1.5 billion at the end of 2018.

Innovation, Science and Technology

Canada and Belgium maintain a close, collaborative relationship in science and technology, particularly in the information and communications technologies (ICT), aerospace, life sciences, agriculture and sustainable technologies sectors.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), whose provisional application started on September 21, 2017, is facilitating new economic opportunities for both Canada and Belgium, and exchanges are increasing.

CETA’s implementation will see the elimination of 98% tariffs on Belgian exports to Canada, including for metal products, fish and seafood and specialty chemicals.

CETA is a modern and progressive agreement for free and fair trade with high standards, respecting the shared values between Canada and the European Union, including Belgium.

Cultural relations

Cultural relations between Canada and Belgium have grown and have diversified in the past 30 years. Belgian organisers frequently contract Canadian artists, both anglophone and francophone, in disciplines such as theatre, music, movies, literature, visual arts and in dance.

Many Belgian artist perform in Canada, be it in the domains of the fine arts, film, or music, at festivals or art centers in Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto or Vancouver.

Academic relations

Canadian and Belgian universities have developed relations and MOUs for collaboration and exchanges for many years. About twenty Canadian universities collaborate with Belgian universities in various domains such as science, social sciences and health.

June 2019


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Date Modified:
2019-11-27