Canada-Saudi Arabia relations
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Bilateral relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia include common interests on many peace and security issues, including energy security, humanitarian affairs (including refugees), and counter-terrorism. Saudi Arabia is a leader of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques (Mecca and Medina). Every year thousands of Canadians are among the approximately two million Muslims who perform the annual hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading oil exporter, exporting 16.5% of the world’s oil in 2021, and the third largest oil producer. As of 2021, it holds 17% of the world’s known oil reserves. As such, the Kingdom plays a key role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and has considerable influence on the global economy.
In 2021, Saudi Arabia was Canada’s largest export market in the region, followed by the United Arab Emirates. The Kingdom led in merchandise imports to Canada from the MENA region in 2021, followed by Israel.
In Saudi Arabia, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa.
Trade and economic interests continue to be an important facet of Canada's bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia. In 2021, Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia amounted to $2.2 billion and imports represented $2.4 billion. Canadian imports were made almost entirely of oil and petrochemicals. Canadian exports were for 81% composed of transportation equipment. Machineries, electronic and electrical equipment and optical, medical and precision instruments represent sizable exports as well.
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a large scale development program with for objective the diversification of its economy away from oil. This program, called "Vision 2030", will lead to the development of new industrial sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, tourism and entertainment. This development will aim to be environmentally sustainable and to promote the use of clean energy. Vision 2030 should represent interesting opportunities for Canadian suppliers of goods and services.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Saudi Arabia work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- The G20
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
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