Kuwait and Canada Relations

The State of Kuwait established diplomatic relations with Canada in 1965 when Kuwait’s ambassador to the U.S. became also a non-resident ambassador to Canada. Kuwait’s Embassy in Ottawa was opened in 1993 and Canada’s Embassy in Kuwait was opened in 1978.

Canada was a substantial contributor to the international coalition that liberated Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion in 1990. Kuwait acknowledges and appreciates Canada’s role in the Gulf War as well as its assistance in fighting the oil well fires that broke out during the war.

In recognition of Canada’s participation in the War of Liberation of Kuwait in 1990/1991, the Embassy of Kuwait in Ottawa presented Kuwait’s Medals of Liberation to all Canadian soldiers and officers who participated in the war in recognition of their efforts and great service, and as a token of thanks and deep appreciation from Kuwait’s government and people.

Kuwait and Canada share many common views and interests and this has led to a mutually-supportive pattern of cooperation between the two nations.

High-level meetings and visits have strengthened Kuwait’s relationship with Canada. His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the late Emir of the State of Kuwait, met in September 1995 on the margins of the UN’s General Assembly annual meeting in New York, with the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, the former Prime Minister of Canada. A series of other official visits between the two countries have taken place, the most recent of which were the visit of His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Ottawa on September 24 - 25, 2006. Also, the visit of the Honourable David Emerson, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, to Kuwait in November 2007; who led a Canadian trade mission to Kuwait to pursue trade and investment opportunities with Kuwait and opening doors to partnerships between businesses of the two countries. Also, exchange visits between Kuwaiti and Canadian parliamentarians over the past few years have also taken place.

Trade and Economic Relations with Canada:

On the 28th of January 2002, the Government of Kuwait and the Government of Canada signed an agreement on “Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion” which was brought into force in 2003.

On May 17, 2007, the two countries signed an Air Transport Agreement for scheduled air services. It is the first air transport agreement between Canada and the State of Kuwait. This agreement will provide more choices and benefits for travellers, air carriers and airports, and will contribute to increasing the bilateral air travel market in both countries.

After a series of negotiations between Kuwait and Canada, an agreement on Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection was initialled between the two countries in October 2008.

Examples of major Kuwaiti investors in the Canadian market are Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) which owns 50% of MEGlobal, specializing in the production and marketing of Ethylene Glycol; Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA); and Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).

The Government of Kuwait has undertaken important steps in the domains of economic and financial reform and encouraged the Private Sector to invest in different vital economic areas throughout the country. There are many investment opportunities for the Canadian companies in Kuwait especially in manufacturing, construction, infrastructure and health. Kuwaiti regulations on Foreign investment, which impose only a 15% tax on a foreign firm’s net profit, provide the appropriate protection to foreign investors and facilitate their work.

Trade between Kuwait and Canada has reached $153 m. Canadian exports to Kuwait (a total of $90m) include food products, spare parts and engines. Kuwaiti exports to Canada (a total of $63m.) include petroleum derivatives.

Cultural Relations with Canada:

Kuwait and Canada have excellent cultural relations and these are being encouraged and developed. There are about 262 Kuwaiti graduates and undergraduates currently studying in Canada. Kuwait University delegates physicians and graduates to Canada for postgraduate studies. Also the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training in Kuwait delegates Kuwaiti students to Canada who join educational institutions for Associate Degrees, Applied Degrees, Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees.

In cooperation with the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) in Carleton University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait sends junior Kuwaiti diplomats to Canada to receive diplomatic training which covers many areas that include International Affairs, Policy, Law and International Trade & Economics as well as language training. This program is a landmark in the development of academic and cultural relations between the State of Kuwait and Canada.