Canada and Latvia relations
Latvia is represented in Canada by an Embassy in Ottawa. Latvia also has Honorary Consulates in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
Canada enjoys excellent relations with Latvia. Bilateral meetings and exchanges take place on a regular and ongoing basis. Canada did not recognize the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States and was the first G-7 country to recognize the restoration of Latvia's independence in 1991. The year 2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and Latvia. The presence of an active Latvian-Canadian community in Canada (estimated at about 28,000 individuals) underpins the countries’ bilateral relations. Canada and Latvia collaborate closely at the United Nations and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Canada was one of the first countries to ratify Latvia's accession to NATO in 2004, and Canada and Latvia have maintained positive and constructive defence relations since then.
Canada’s engagement in the Baltic region has been increasing in line with NATO’s strengthened assurance and deterrence measures in the region. The most visible element of this strengthened deterrence and defence posture is the establishment of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in Central and Eastern Europe made up of multinational NATO battlegroups deployed in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. Canada is leading the deployment in Latvia as Framework Nation, and has contributed approximately 450 troops to the mission through Operation REASSURANCE. Other troop-contributing nations to the Latvian battlegroup include Albania, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, and Spain.
Bilateral military cooperation with Latvia has also been growing in recent years as a result of Canada’s contributions to NATO, through which the Canadian Armed Forces had a number of opportunities to train and exercise side-by-side with their Latvian counterparts. Canada contributed $1 million to the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence based in Riga, Latvia for the purpose of specialized programming. Canada also contributes Canadian Armed Forces personnel to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Latvia.
Trade and Investment
Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Latvia totaled more than $260.7 million at the end of 2016. For the same year, Canadian merchandise exports to Latvia reached $224.1 million. Exports included aircraft, machinery, precision and technical instruments, mineral fuels and oils (not crude) and electrical and electronic machinery and equipment. Canadian imports from Latvia reached $36.6 million in 2016, and included beverages and spirits, fertilizers, machinery, vegetable seeds and glassware.
Canada and the European Union signed the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) at the Canada-EU Summit on October 30, 2016. Provisional application of CETA started on September 21, 2017, at which time all economically significant parts of the Agreement entered into force. CETA is expected to generate new economic opportunities for both Canada and Latvia.
Latvia became the first EU Member State to ratify CETA, with the Latvian Parliament voting to approve the Agreement on February 23, 2017 in the presence of the Minister of International Trade, François-Phillipe Champagne, during his visit to Latvia.
Education Cooperation and Youth Mobility
Each year, Canada hosts a number of international students from Latvia. The International Experience Canada program functions under the Canada-Latvia Youth Mobility Agreement, and facilitates Canadian and Latvian youth (between the ages of 18 and 35) to obtain a work or residence permit to engage in short-term employment in the other country.
As of March 15, 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to board their flight to Canada when transiting through Canada or coming to Canada for short-term stays to visit, do business, study or work. This includes Latvian citizens. Applying for an eTA is a simple, inexpensive ($7) online process that takes just minutes to complete. All travellers need are a valid passport, a credit or debit card, an email address and access to the Internet. Apply at Canada.ca/eTA.
Canada and Latvia have several bilateral agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), including: Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (2011); Youth Mobility Agreement (2007); Social Security Agreement (2006); Audio-Visual Co-Production Agreement (2003); and an Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation (1995).
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