Canada and Brazil enjoy relations dating back to 1866, when Canada opened its first trade mission in the country. Diplomatic relations were established in 1941, when Brazil opened its Embassy in Ottawa and Canada followed by opening an Embassy in 1944. Both nations also fought side by side in WWII during the Italian campaign. Today, Canada has an embassy in Brasilia, consulates general in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, trade offices in Belo Horizonte, Recife and Porto Alegre, and an honorary consul in Belo Horizonte. Brazil has an embassy in Ottawa and consulates general in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
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Canada and Brazil enjoy a multifaceted relationship advanced through bilateral mechanisms anchored by a Foreign Minister-led Strategic Partnership Dialogue. High-level government-to-government mechanisms that support the commercial relationship include a Joint Economic Trade Council, a Consultative Committee on Agriculture, and a Joint Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation. Mechanisms for additional bilateral discussions with Brazil include Political-Military Talks and a Mobility Working Group. Parliamentary “Friendship Groups” exist in Brazil’s Congress and Canada’s Parliament.
Education remains a growing strength in our bilateral relations. In 2021, there were 11,120 Brazilian students in Canada with study permits. According to Languages Canada, approximately 25,000 students pursued short-term language study in Canada in 2019, accounting for a total of 40,000 Brazilians who studied in Canada that year and making Canada the number one international destination for Brazilian students. Additionally, Brazil is the largest beneficiary of Canada’s Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program in Latin America, and Canadian education associations are very active in Brazil—many have signed agreements with Brazilian government entities and with Brazilian universities.
Mobility, migration and refugee issues have been integral components of Canada’s relationship with Brazil in recent years. Through dialogue and engagement, we have been able to increase our cooperation, including through the Canada-Brazil Mobility Working Group, which was last held in Brasilia in February 2020. Provinces and various economic development entities, with the support of programs such as the Global Skills Strategy and the Invest in Canadian Communities Initiatives, often lead missions to recruit temporary skilled workers from Brazil. With close to 200,000 Brazilians visiting Canada annually, Brazil is the 11th most important source of tourists to Canada.
Canada launched Human Rights Consultations in March 2017, and Canadian representatives maintain a sustained dialogue on human rights in their interactions with Brazilian authorities. Canada also continues to advance and promote human rights in Brazil, including through local initiatives advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls, LGBTQ2, Indigenous peoples, migrants, and also provide support to impoverished communities.
Defense and security
The strong security and defence links between Canada and Brazil have been established through cooperation on United Nations peacekeeping, and to promote the women, peace and security agenda. Given Brazil’s importance as a regional player, strong service-to-service ties, and an increased role in regional peace support operations, Brazil is a key partner in the hemisphere for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.
Canada’s trade and investment relationship with Brazil has seen steady growth in recent years. Major two-way foreign investment flows continue to expand as does the bilateral trade of goods and services.
In this regard, Canada is currently in negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Mercosur trading bloc, in which Brazil plays a major role. Launched in March 2018, the Canada-Mercosur FTA negotiations continue to be a priority for Canada and Brazil.
Brazil is Canada’s third largest trading partner in the Americas after the U.S. and Mexico. Merchandise trade between Canada and Brazil totalled $9.8 billion in 2021. Top Canadian merchandise exports to Brazil include fertilizers (45.4%), machinery and parts (11.8%), mineral fuels and oils (7.1%), and aircraft and parts (5.9%). Canada’s main merchandise imports from Brazil include inorganic chemicals, (27.1%), precious stones and metals (23.5%), machinery (7.7%) and iron and steel (4.7%). Two-way services trade in 2020 was $984 million.
Canadian direct investment in Brazil stood at $17.7 billion in 2021, making Brazil Canada’s 13th largest destination for investment. Brazil’s stock of foreign direct investment in Canada was $9.7 billion in 2021, making it Canada’s 2nd largest investor in the western hemisphere.
Science, Technology and Innovation
In 2022, Brazil and Canada are celebrating the 12th anniversary of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Agreement. The agreement includes the establishment of a Joint Committee to promote bilateral science, technology and innovation collaboration between Canadian and Brazilian partners from industry, academia and government.
Funding for research collaboration under a framework agreement on STI is provided through Global Affairs Canada’s Canadian International Innovation Program, which supports collaborative industrial research and development projects with high potential for commercialization between Canada and partner countries. It is delivered in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.
Brazil and Canada also signed in July 2020 a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural research, which establishes a formal joint framework to underpin and enhance existing cooperation.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has identified significant commercial opportunities for Canadian companies in a number of key sectors that are well suited to Canadian capabilities and interests:
- information and communications technology
- digital technologies
- clean technology
- life sciences
- power and renewable energy
- agriculture and agri-food
In addition to these priority sectors, important opportunities for Canadian companies exist in:
- oil and gas
- defence and security
- ocean technologies
- machinery and industrial equipment
- services and tourism
Export Development Canada (EDC) is Canada’s export credit agency since 1944. EDC is a financially self-sustaining Crown Corporation and an international risk expert, which provides financing and bonding solutions as well as connections and market intelligence to Canadian exporters and investors doing business abroad. In 2019, its business in Brazil reached $2.65 billion in total volume, as it served 352 clients – out of which 221 SMEs – with its insurance and financing solutions. EDC has offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo since the early 2000s.
Canada and Brazil work to advance the Sustainable Development Goals agenda through our development cooperation efforts. We seek to advance the Canada-Brazil development relationship through policy dialogue, joint policy research, enhanced institutional links and, at times, technical-cooperation activities in third countries.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Brazil also work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
Canada and Brazil collaborate closely on key geopolitical issues such as international efforts to promote a peaceful return to democracy in Venezuela. Canada and Brazil collaborate in bodies such as the Lima Group, supporting Venezuelans fleeing the crisis in their country.
A key member of the Canadian-led Ottawa Group on World Trade Organization (WTO) Reform, Brazil also plays a constructive role in efforts to address specific challenges that put the multilateral trading system under stress, by finding ways to achieve meaningful, realistic, pragmatic reforms to the WTO over the short, medium and long terms.
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