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Canada-Chile relations

Bilateral relations

Canada and Chile enjoy a robust relationship underpinned by frequent high-level visits and interactions. Since the election of President Gabriel Boric in December 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken with the Chilean leader twice. The two leaders agreed to partner on promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality, inclusive economic growth and international law, as well as to continue to advance ambitious climate action.

The Canada-Chile Partnership Framework, signed in 2007 and supported by multiple agreements, has served as a roadmap for the expansion and deepening of collaboration between Canada and Chile in various priority sectors, such as the sustainable development of minerals and metals, science and technology, investment promotion, youth mobility, and education. Over the years, the Framework was renewed and expanded to include bilateral cooperation in the areas of governance and transparency, as well as diversity and social inclusion, with a particular emphasis on women and Indigenous people, economic growth, the environment, climate change and migration.

Canada and Chile are close partners in regional and multilateral fora, including the United Nations, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of American States and within the Summit of the Americas process. The two countries also work together in support of regional trade in the context of the Pacific Alliance, in which Canada is an observer and Candidate Associated State.

Canada and Chile enjoy strong bilateral relations and technical cooperation on environmental matters, facilitated by the Canada-Chile Agreement on Environmental Cooperation which celebrates 25 years in 2022. The two countries continue to expand their bilateral defence collaboration, which is supported by a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation signed in April 2012.

Close personal ties link Canadians and Chileans. Canada is currently among the top foreign study destinations for Chilean post-secondary students, supported by both Chilean and Canadian scholarship programs. Canada has several education initiatives with Chile, including the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program and the Faculty Mobility for Partnership Building Program. There is a fruitful collaboration between Canadian and Chilean Higher Education Institutions with over 185 agreements for students, faculty mobility and research.

Trade relations

The Canada-Chile commercial relationship is diverse and growing. 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), the cornerstone of Canada’s strong trade and investment relationship with Chile. The agreement covers trade in goods and services, as well as investments, and includes side agreements on the environment and labour relations. The CCFTA has been amended on several occasions. A modernized agreement entered into force on February 5, 2019, which added new chapters on trade and gender (a first for Canada), technical barriers to trade, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. In addition, several technical amendments to other chapters of the agreement were concluded.

Bilateral merchandise trade has nearly quadrupled since the CCFTA came into force in 1997, surpassing C$3 billion for the first time. Canada exported more than $1.2 billion in merchandise to Chile in 2021, led by farm, fishing and intermediate food products, which accounted for 29% of exports to Chile. Imports from Chile totalled more than $1.8 billion in 2021, led by metal and non-metallic mineral products, which accounted for 39% of imports from Chile. In 2021, Chile was the 33rd largest source of Canadian merchandise imports, and 24th-largest Canadian merchandise export destination. As of 2021, the stock of Canadian direct investment in Chile stood at $22.4 billion, making Chile Canada's top investment destination in South and Central America and 12th worldwide. Canadian companies are present in mining, utilities (electricity, gas, and water), chemicals, transportation and storage services and financial services. As of 2021, the stock of Chilean direct investment in Canada was valued at C$1.1 billion, up 8.1% from 2020.

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Development

Canada’s development relationship with Chile has evolved from one of donor and recipient to one of development cooperation partners. Although Canada no longer has an active bilateral development program in Chile, the relationship continues to benefit from modest but targeted assistance, most notably through Canada’s Partnerships for Development Innovation program. The Project Browser contains profiles of international development projects funded by the Government of Canada.

Chile pursues trilateral cooperation initiatives with a number of traditional and emerging donors, including Canada. Both Canada and Chile are committed to reinforcing security in Central America and developed a trilateral cooperation initiative to support police reform in Guatemala en El Salvador.

As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) invests in knowledge, innovation, and solutions to improve lives and livelihoods in the developing world. Bringing together the right partners around opportunities for impact, IDRC builds leaders for today and tomorrow and helps drive change for those who need it most. The International Development Research Centre Act describes the Centre’s mandate: “to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, and other knowledge to the economic and social advancement of those regions.”

IDRC undertakes programming in Chile both through its headquarters in Ottawa and its regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Montevideo, Uruguay. Since the 1970s, when support from IDRC enabled many researchers to stay and work in the country despite the suppression of the social sciences, the Centre has invested in more than 300 projects with impacts in Chile. In recent years, such support has helped disadvantaged people obtain banking services, businesses and universities expand economic opportunities through innovation, indigenous farmers cope with climate change, citizens benefit from the potential of open data, vulnerable populations access water, institutions offer avenues to resolve social conflict, governments and the private sector encourage healthy diets, and more.

Operations

Canada and Chile continue to expand their bilateral defence collaboration, which has grown in scope and intensity in recent years, particularly since the signature of a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation in April 2012. Chile became a member of Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program in June 1998, with approximately 393 Chilean students having received training to date.

Partnerships and organizations

To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Chile work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

The two countries also work together in support of regional trade in the context of the Pacific Alliance in which Canada is an observer. Canada has been actively deepening its engagement with the Alliance since becoming the first non-Latin American observer in 2012, and the first observer to sign a Joint Declaration on a Partnership between Canada and the Pacific Alliance in 2016. In June 2017, Canada was among the first countries invited to become an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance, along with Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, and is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the Alliance.

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