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Canada and Kuwait have enjoyed strong bilateral ties since diplomatic relations were established in 1965. Kuwait is represented by an embassy in Ottawa and Canada is represented by its embassy in Kuwait City. The strong foundation of the Canada-Kuwait relationship can be easily understood in the two countries’ common views and interests in several areas, including peace and security, humanitarian affairs, trade and investment, and people-to-people ties.
The friendship between Canada and Kuwait was never better demonstrated than in 1991, when Canadian Armed Forces personnel served with those of the Armed Forces of Kuwait and coalition allies in the Gulf War and its aftermath. Canadian firefighters and well control specialists played a major role and worked tirelessly with Kuwaitis in extinguishing massive oil well fires and blowouts.
In 2006, Kuwait awarded a Liberation of Kuwait Medal to Canadian soldiers who served in the first Gulf War. In February 2020, the Embassy of Kuwait in Canada honoured 30 Canadian veterans who took part in the first Gulf war.
An estimated 7,000 Canadians have been living in Kuwait and are employed in key areas such as the oil industry, academic institutions, government, health, financial services and engineering.
In 2019, there were approximately 450 Kuwaiti students pursuing their studies in Canada, mostly in medicine. In 2015, Algonquin College became the first Canadian college in Kuwait.
In 2020, Canadian merchandise exports to Kuwait reached a value of $96.4 million, while imports from Kuwait stood at just over $277,000. Canada’s top merchandise exports to Kuwait comprised consumer goods, agri-food products, machinery, and motor vehicles and parts.
In 2020, Kuwaiti Foreign Direct Investment Stock (FDI) in Canada was valued at almost $2.3 billion and Canadian Direct Investment in Kuwait was $118 million. In 2020, Kuwaiti FDI in Canada ranked as 6th in the Asia/Oceania region, and 2nd globally.
As part of its development plan Vision 2035, Kuwait is rolling out investment partnerships and strategic investment opportunities valued at more than $100 billion in key economic and social sectors for investors. Kuwait’s plans present opportunities for Canadian companies in several sectors, including information and communications technology, oil and gas, renewable energy, electricity and water, urban development and housing, health care, education, transport, tourism and the North Zone development.
Since 2011, Kuwait has hosted Canada’s Operational Support Detachment to support Canadian Armed Forces operations. The detachment transitioned to a general-purpose Operational Support Hub in May 2014 with the signing of a revised memorandum of understanding. In October 2014, Kuwait informed Canada that it would welcome Canada’s use of facilities as a base for Canadian Armed Forces assets involved in the Global Coalition Against Daesh.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Kuwait work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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