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Canada-Serbia relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada is represented in Serbia by the Embassy of Canada in Belgrade. For its part, Serbia has an Embassy in Ottawa, a Consulate in Toronto, and Honorary Consuls in Vancouver, Calgary, and Montréal.

Relations between Canada and Serbia quickly returned to a positive track following the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in October 2000, and continue to expand and deepen. Canada is encouraged by the democratic and economic transformation of Serbia and its commitment to achieving greater integration and cooperation with the European Union and its institutions. Canada strongly supports Serbia’s aspiration for EU membership. The international community, including Canada, supports Serbia’s objective of developing strong regional cooperation with its neighbours. Canada also advocates for normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Canada’s priorities in Serbia include increasing bilateral commercial and economic cooperation, and encouraging Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic orientation, which involves continuing commitment and efforts as regards democratic reform and good governance, rule of law, and promoting respect for human and minority rights, among other elements.

Canada and Serbia enjoy strong people-to-people ties, as 97,000 Canadians self-identify as Serbian or of Serbian origin. However, the number is probably higher as many of the 38,000 Canadians who identify as Yugoslavs are likely of Serbian ethnic origin.

Canada and Serbia also benefit from vivid, ongoing, cultural cooperation and academic ties.

Climate action

Canada committed a $22 million concessionary loan in 2019 through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) using the Canada-IFC Blended Climate Finance Program, to support the cleaning up of the Vinča landfill. The project in Vinča will provide Belgrade with a modern waste management system. The site will be fully remediated with a new sanitary landfill and a waste-to-energy plant.

Bilateral agreements

Canada and Serbia signed Double Taxation Agreement (2012), Social Security Agreement (2013) and Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement – FIPA (2015).

An Air Transport Agreement (2006) has been concluded and has long been in effect.  After many years, it was formally signed in May 2018.

Memorandums of understanding

Canada and Serbia have also signed a Readmission Arrangement (2006), a Memorandum of Understanding on the prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide (2010), and an Agricultural Memorandum of Understanding on Livestock (2012).

Candidacies

Canada supported Serbia’s successful effort to upgrade its membership status from observer to associate member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) during the 17th Summit of the organization in Yerevan, Armenia, in October 2018.

Trade and investment

Canada-Serbia trade has increased significantly over the past 10 years.

In 2021, Canadian merchandise exports to Serbia totalled $28.96 million (lead categories are frozen edible fruits and nuts, machinery and electrical equipment, pharmaceutical products). Imports from Serbia totalled $112.18 million in 2021 (lead categories are edible fruits and nuts, machinery and mechanical appliances, base metal products, fish).

Investment remains one of the main drivers of economic relations, and important Canadian investments have been made or committed in the areas of mining and energy, agri-food, general manufacturing, processing and trade, and information and communications technologies, among others. Opportunities for further Canadian investment include road, rail and urban transportation infrastructure, energy and mining, renewable energy resources and cleantech.

Related links

Military and defence cooperation

Canada actively supports Serbia’s ongoing military and security reforms. The country was admitted to the National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces’ Military Training and Cooperation Programme (MTCP) in 2005. Through the MTCP, Serbian Armed Forces members are offered training in language proficiency, peace support operations, staff duties, professional development and exercise development.

Canada has supported civil-military cooperation courses in Serbia annually since 2008.

Partnerships and organizations

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

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