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Canada - Spain Relations

Political and defense relations

Canada and Spain are partners and allies that enjoy a strong relationship based on shared interests and values. Both countries, which have decentralized political structures, share an abiding belief in the fundamental values of respect for human rights, democracy, the empowerment of women and diverse and inclusive societies.

Canada and Spain are committed to fight against climate change and to work for a sustainable management of the environment. They believe in progressive and open economic and trade relations as a source of prosperity for all. Canada and Spain trust that these values must be preserved in a rules-based international order. A Canada-Spain Cooperation Agenda was established by the Canadian and Spanish Prime Ministers when they met in Montreal in 2018, and it was accompanied by a Declaration in Favour of Gender Equality.

Spain and Canada are committed to defending international peace and global security. They are excellent partners at the multilateral level and work together within several institutions such as the United Nations (UN). Spain and Canada are active members of NATO and the two countries are active participants in a variety of multilateral peace and security operations, especially in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group in Latvia, led by Canada, and in the International Coalition against Daesh in Iraq.

Commercial relations, investment and innovation

Canada and Spain enjoy a stable trading relationship, which has entered into a new chapter with the entry into force of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). As a progressive trade agreement, CETA addresses or eliminates barriers in virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-Spain bilateral trade, increases jobs and promotes new commercial opportunities for Canadian and Spanish businesses. Spain ratified CETA in December 2017. CETA has led to tariff elimination on important Canadian exports to Spain and increased awareness of business opportunities with Canada. In 2020, bilateral merchandise trade with Spain grew by 15.1%, compared to pre-CETA (2016).

Canada and Spain’s trading relationship has grown steadily during the last decade and holds significant potential for further growth. Both economies are diversified, with areas of synergy in key sectors such as ICT, aerospace, agri-food, fish & seafood, energy, life sciences, automotive, infrastructure, and transport. Bilateral goods trade between Canada and Spain was $4.5 billion in 2020, making Spain Canada’s 6th-largest goods trading partner in the EU and 22nd largest goods trading partner in the world.

The strength of the bilateral economic relationship lies in strong two-way investment and collaboration. In 2020, Spain ranked 22nd amongst Canadian investment destinations abroad, with a total value of $8.1 billion (6.2% increase from $7.6 billion in 2019). Conversely, Canada is Spain’s 15th largest destination for direct investments with a total value of $13.2 billion (a slight increase from $13.1 billion in 2019). Bilateral innovation and technological cooperation is facilitated through Horizon Europe and the international Eureka program, where organizations such as Canada’s National Research Council and Spain’s Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) support market-oriented joint projects.

Youth mobility, education and culture

Spain and Canada enjoy strong academic relations with more than 100 agreements between Canadian and Spanish universities. Spanish students increasingly choose Canada as a destination for their studies and the multiple agreements between Canadian and Spanish universities attest to the excellent collaboration between the two academic communities. Thanks to the bilateral Youth Mobility Agreement (2009), young Spaniards and Canadians have increasingly taken the opportunity to work and study in Canada and Spain respectively.

Spain also has Memorandums of Understanding with several provinces, including Alberta (2006), Manitoba (2014) and British Columbia (2016), to support Spanish-English bilingual education opportunities.

Spaniards have shown great interest in Canadian art and culture. Spanish editors translate and publish Canadian authors in Spain. Canadian visual and performing artists are regulars on the Spanish cultural scene. The Spanish film market is highly receptive to Canadian cinema. Collaboration in the audio-visual field between both countries is facilitated by the coproduction agreement between Canada and Spain in cinema, television and other audio-visual formats.


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