Canada - Guatemala Relations

Canada and Guatemala have a long and positive friendship, spanning more than half a century. Canada works with Guatemala on strengthening climate change resilience, nutrition, economic opportunities, democracy, governance and security and defense cooperation, while supporting the fight against impunity and corruption. In doing so, Canada contributes to the protection and promotion of the rights of the most vulnerable, including women and girls, Indigenous, and rural populations. Guatemala is also Canada’s largest bilateral trading partner in Central America. Looking to the future, Canada remains committed to support Guatemala’s efforts towards building a more inclusive, democratic and secure society.  

Development Cooperation

Canada has had a development program in Guatemala since 1976. Canada’s bilateral programming in Guatemala is aligned with Canada’s feminist international assistance policy and focuses on supporting the most vulnerable, including women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and rural populations through gender equality, human rights, inclusive governance, and economic growth. Canadian development programming in Guatemala is aligned with the Government of Guatemala’s development priorities, as illustrated in Guatemala’s National Plan of Development. In 2015-2016, Canada’s total official development assistance in Guatemala was $18.32M from all aid channels. 

Defense and Security Cooperation

Canada also supports Guatemala's efforts to improve security. Canada’s security programs (including the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program and the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program) have funded projects aimed at improving citizen security, justice, and fundamental human rights over the past several years. Other projects have supported initiatives focusing on increasing capabilities to address illicit trafficking, money laundering and the proceeds of crime, security system reform, and crime prevention.

The Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces are engaged in cooperation with Guatemala in the areas of capacity building, peace support operations training, and efforts to address transnational criminal organizations, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Guatemala has been a member of the Directorate - Military Training and Cooperation Program (DMTC) since 2008. To date, more than 400 Guatemalan students have received training as part of DMTC-sponsored activities.

Commercial Relations

Guatemala is Canada's most important bilateral trading partner in the region. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Guatemala totalled $832.2 million in 2017 (down 10.2% from 2016). Canada’s merchandise exports to Guatemala were valued at $114.7 million in 2017 (same as 2016) and included paper and paperboard, fats and oils, machinery, milling products, fertilizers, plastics, and vehicles. Canada imported $717.5 million in 2017 (down from $812.2 million in 2016) in merchandise from Guatemala including fruits and nuts, coffee, tea and spices, mineral ores, knitted apparel, and sugar.

Canada is very engaged in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Guatemala. The Canadian Embassy in Guatemala uses a multi-faceted approach to promote Canada’s CSR Strategy, including  encouraging open and constructive dialogue on issues such as human rights, community consultations and sustainable development among key stakeholders, including government officials, local communities, Indigenous groups, civil society, and private sector.

May 2018