Canada and U.A.E. Forge Stronger Ties

Ministers agree to enhanced nuclear cooperation, as well as expanding business and trade ties

September 18, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that Canada and the United Arab Emirates have successfully concluded a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA). Baird made the announcement during a signing ceremony in Ottawa alongside his U.A.E. counterpart, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“This pact is testimony to bilateral ties that are strong and getting ever stronger,” said Baird. “Our access to the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear energy market will create business opportunities and help to create jobs for Canadians, while ensuring that Canadian-supplied nuclear items are used for peaceful, civilian purposes.”

The U.A.E. is already an important partner in Middle East peace and security. As Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East, it is also rife with economic opportunity. Nuclear energy production in Canada generates about $5 billion in annual revenues. Canada’s nuclear industry is responsible for 21,000 direct jobs and a billion dollars a year in uranium exports. The NCA allows Canada to take necessary measures to ensure exports of this material to the U.A.E. remain secure.

“Canada can help the U.A.E. meet its growing energy needs,” said Baird. “This agreement provides a number of opportunities for our countries to work together as strategic partners, and for Canadian companies to offer the full array of their equipment, services and uranium supply to the U.A.E.’s civilian nuclear market.”

Canada and the U.A.E. are also expanding person-to-person ties, working to establish a Canada-U.A.E. business council to deepen business and trade ties.

These efforts will be helped enormously by the U.A.E.’s recent decision to reduce the cost of visas for Canadians. “A welcome development,” said Baird. “We are excited to make more progress on this file.”

This development will allow Canadians, particularly business people, to engage more frequently with their U.A.E. partners.

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada-U.A.E. Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

On September 18, 2012, the Government of Canada announced that Canada and the United Arab Emirates have concluded negotiations on a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA).

The aim of the Canada-U.A.E. NCA is to create an enabling framework that will allow members of Canada’s nuclear industry to cooperate with designated civilian nuclear installations in the U.A.E. under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

The NCA will open up the U.A.E.’s civil nuclear market to Canadian businesses, which have a full array of products and services to offer the growing nuclear energy market, while providing international treaty-level assurances that nuclear material, equipment and technology originating in Canada will only be used for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Canada’s nuclear non-proliferation policy establishes the conditions under which Canada may consider nuclear cooperation with selected partner countries. The Government of Canada tightly regulates the export of nuclear items to ensure that such items are exported only to countries that meet Canada’s stringent non-proliferation requirements. Canada welcomes, therefore, the U.A.E.’s implementation of a comprehensive nuclear safety regime and regulatory framework designed to ensure that all nuclear-related installations are operated safely.

Canada and the U.A.E. will now take the necessary step to prepare the agreement for final implementation by concluding an administrative arrangement.