Press Releases: 2016 Diversity Visa Program Registration

The 2016 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2016) will open at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and will close at noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, November 3, 2014. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at Paper entries will not be accepted. All entrants must print and retain their online confirmation page after completing their DV entries so that they will be able to check their entry status. We strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 3, 2014.

The congressionally mandated Diversity Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Sections 201(e) and 203(c) of the INA provide a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States; however, since DV-1999, Congress has set aside 5,000 of this annual allocation to be made available for use under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).

The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for Diversity Visas. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. No single country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.

For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.

A “native” ordinarily means someone born within a particular country, regardless of the individual’s current country of residence or nationality. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. We utilize special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.

For DV-2016, the Department of State will once again implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection, and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. Beginning May 5, 2015, DV-2016 entrants will be able to use their unique confirmation number provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at to see if their entry was selected. Successful entrants will receive instructions for how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members.

Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.

For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV program, please see the instructions for the DV-2016 program available at

Press Releases: Remarks at U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, everybody, my apologies for being delayed, and I thank everybody for their patience and look forward to a very interesting and comprehensive discussion this evening. I want to begin by thanking Foreign Minister Lwin and the Government of Myanmar, which has done a very solid job of leading ASEAN as chair this year. And I also want to recognize our new Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian, who was confirmed just in time to be here today. (Laughter and applause.) We’re delighted to have Nina on board, and I know all of you will really enjoy working with her.

The United States remains deeply committed to engaging the Asia Pacific region. I think you’ve heard us talking about our rebalanced Asia and the deep involvement that we have there, working for the trade agreement, working with respect to security issues and global climate change – particularly important. I had occasion to be in the Philippines and see the impact directly of Typhoon Haiyan. And so we have a lot of work to do, and we are deeply committed. President Obama has reinforced again and again his intention to keep the United States front and center in the region. I’ve already traveled there – I think it’s five or six times in a year and a half. The President’s been there several times. We’re looking forward to being back there shortly for the meetings in October, November, and there’s obviously a lot to continue to work on.

ASEAN and its centrality is essential to upholding the rules-based system throughout the Asia Pacific, and it is the best way to ensure that all countries big and small have a voice as we work together to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. That’s why the United States continues to invest so much in the relationship. It’s why we’re deepening our ties among our people-to-people programs, like President Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and the U.S.-ASEAN Fulbright Program. And it’s why we fully support the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

President Obama and I are very much looking forward to being at the East Asia Summit, but in the meantime we’re happy to discuss a few of the challenges that we’ve partnered on, including our maritime security and the global threat of climate change. I hope we can discuss this evening how best to work on some of the other global issues that we also face today – for example, the growing numbers of foreign fighters from all over the world who have chosen to go to ISIL and join in their activities and present a danger and risk to all of us. We also obviously face the challenge of Ebola in West Africa, and we need everybody to be involved in the effort to contain it.

So I thank you all for carving out time in what has been an extraordinarily busy week here in New York. We’ve got some very important conversations to have, but before we turn to that, I want to recognize Foreign Minister Lwin for his opening comments.

FOREIGN MINISTER LWIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Excellencies, at the outset let me express my sincere thanks to Secretary Kerry and the Government of the United States of America for hosting this important meeting, taking the opportunity of all our ASEAN colleagues’ presence here in New York as we are attending the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations.

I am delighted to see the progress in ASEAN-U.S. dialogue relations that encompasses all three pillars of the ASEAN community. We appreciate U.S. role in maintaining peace and security in the region, as well as providing technical assistance for socio-economic and socio-cultural development in ASEAN member-states.

We are confident that ASEAN and the U.S. can further strengthen cooperation through the effective implementation of the Plan of Action to implement the Joint Vision Statement of ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership.

ASEAN-U.S. Economic Ministers Meeting was held on 28 August overseeing the progress of ASEAN-U.S. economic cooperation and finding ways to move forward on the outstanding aspects of E3 Initiative, particularly on nonbinding shared principles of ASEAN-U.S. investment. I hope we could be able to see progress on those matters during the upcoming second ASEAN-U.S. Summit in November.

The ASEAN-U.S. Business Summit was successfully convened in Naypyidaw on 28 August, providing opportunities for our business people to interact and build networks. I look forward to seeing increased business activities between ASEAN and the United States. Socio-culture and people-to-people ties are also the areas that we should focus to promote better understanding between the peoples of ASEAN and U.S.

The U.S. supports on the CityLinks Pilot Partnership, which provide capacity building and technical (inaudible) programs on climate change adaptation among cities, is timely and effective as we urgently need to tackle the negative effects of climate change. In this respect, we’ll work with the U.S. for the ASEAN-U.S. joint climate change statement to be issued at the second ASEAN-U.S. Summit.

I look forward to have a fruitful discussion today to further address ASEAN-U.S. engagement in a more comprehensive way. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Much appreciated.

Resilience planning – some do’s and don’ts

Resilience planning sometimes ignores the most vulnerable

BANGKOK, 26 September 2014 (IRIN) – Among the topics being discussed at the 2014 World Climate Week in New York City (22-26 September), are financing resilient cities, corporate actions for resilience, the ways data can support resilience moves, and women’s leadership in resilience planning.
IRIN looks at some of the successes, failures and pitfalls in resilience planning.
Hazard-resilient investments can range from enforced building codes, to early warning systems, to community-level waste management – all crucial for buffering societies against disasters.
“It can be as easy as painting lines on trees to gauge water levels [so] you can see when it is time to pack up and leave, before it is too late,” MichaelYates, the director of the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) regional mission for Asia, told IRIN, pointing to a USAID-supported project in the Philippines.
But resilience planning which does not include a range of actors – from vulnerable communities to big companies – can fail to accomplish anything new, warned a critique by the Humanitarian Policy Group at the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
“There is a danger that we go on and think we are building resilience when really we are ignoring the most vulnerable,” said Simon Levine, a livelihoods and vulnerability specialist with ODI. “In coming up with a whole new language and framework, we forget the basics.”
For example, relocations without community consent, can do more harm than good. The best way to proceed is to bring together scientists, governments, the private sector, and communities.
What doesn’t work?
In the aftermath of the April 2014 floods in Honiara, Solomon Islands, where more than 10,000 people lost their homes, the City Council declared informal riverside settlements as “no-build zones” while simultaneously pushing to shut evacuation centres, leaving people with no choice but to return to places with limited access to livelihoods and services.
“The [government-run] process of relocating people from the formal Honiara evacuation centres has been quite a fraught one, as people are being removed to provinces where they have either never lived, or have not lived in 20 or 30 years,” said Philippa Ross, the UN Women’s gender and protection adviser based in Suva, Fiji’s capital, adding that at least hundreds remained homeless.
But, argued Sune Gudnitz, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Bangkok, “the government has to enforce no-build zones in areas of high risk.”
He explained that geo-hazard mapping from aerial footage captured by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC – an intergovernmental organization made up of 26 nations) found that riverside areas are unsafe because of flood hazards.

ODI’s Levine says such relocations are not uncommon, calling them a “disturbing reality”.
“Relocating populations in high risk coastal areas under the name of resilient urban planning, then a few years later installing tourist resorts there, is not unknown to happen,” said Levine, citing relocations in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean 2004 tsunami, where decisions based on the scientific and technical aspects of resilience resulted in forced relocations.
Accountable governance
According to Mercy Corps, which has been working on resilience in East Africa since 2004, and is a member of the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCRN) in Indonesia, making communities resilient is less about science and more about equitable and accountable governance.
It is often the most impoverished who set up their homes on vacant urban land in areas frequently not suitable for building, according to the Jakarta-based Institute of Social and Environmental Transition ISET-International (ISET), a research institution that works on climate change adaptation in cities.
“You often have large flows of workers and migrants seeking any open space they can find to settle because it’s fundamental to accessing work, school for their children,” said Marcus Moench, ISET’s president.
“The key point is that if resettlement does need to happen, everyone needs to be involved whether they are informal settlements or not,” said Paul Jeffery, Indonesia country director for Mercy Corps.
Septic tanks in lieu of relocation
Experts say much can be done to improve peoples’ situations without relocating them.
“We don’t want to erode people’s decision-making ability to live where they choose,” said Mercy Corps’ Jeffery. “First [we need to] know why they are living there, ensure people are aware of the risks, and then find ways to better prepare them.”
For example, a Mercy Corps sanitation project in flood-prone Jakarta helps to install affordable septic tanks in densely-populated areas to protect people from the health risks of wading through faeces during floods.
It encompasses all local actors: Mercy Corps worked in communities to raise awareness about the importance of septic tanks, which get installed in individual homes. The NGO then campaigned for the municipal government to install larger septic tanks in nearby rubbish dumps so the household tanks could be emptied regularly. Microcredit loans, supplied by the NGO, prompted small businesses to open push-cart services for hauling waste from small tanks to the big central tank.
The system even attracted funding from IKEA, the Swedish retailer, which will now pay to install 100 septic tanks in parts of North Jakarta within the next two years.
Gender and resilience
Experts say that supporting genuine resilience also requires questioning who speaks for the community. Gender, for example, can offer a lens on power disparities that poorly-framed resilience interventions can exacerbate.
“Even within the same household, individuals will experience shocks and stresses in different ways,” said a 2014 Mercy Corps report, which also noted that during assessments, women tend to identify risks sometimes absent from traditional frameworks.
“The big-picture worldview associated with resilience tends to reflect men’s priorities more than women’s. We just hear what the men say as being important because it matches what we assume and think is important  rather than something like sickness, which affects people more but is not a crisis as we conceptualize it,” said Levine.
A 2013 study co-researched by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) on Kenya, Ethiopia and the self-declared republic of Somaliland noted that women needed to be prompted in order to identify recent droughts as a risk.
“Investing in resilience makes good business sense”
“Businesses are also recognizing that investing in resilience makes good business sense,” said USAID’s Yates. Nearly 80 percent of all economic investment comes from private companies, according to the UN’s 2013 Global Assessment report.
“The challenges are too great for any single entity or sector to tackle alone,” said Kyla Reid, the head of the GSMA Disaster Response Network, a liaison between mobile phone operators and humanitarian organizations that works in disaster areas such as in the wake of the Philippines 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.
In August 2014, USAID partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to sponsor US$100 million in prize money to inspire new measures in resilience from public and private sector actors.

Combatting Ebola with Public-Private Partnerships

While the UN General Assembly gets underway with a renewed focus on the fight against terrorism, yesterday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon convened a high-level meeting regarding the ongoing fight against Ebola. The actions of governments, UN agencies and aid organizations are generally gaining the most attention as the international community struggles to bring the epidemic under control but the private sector is also stepping up to assist efforts in the region.

The stakes for how bad things can get if the epidemic is not controlled came into stark relief earlier this week with the release of two epidemic models by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Unchecked and without major additional intervention, the WHO predicted the number of reported and probably cases of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea could top 20,000 by November. In comparison, the CDC’s model estimated that between 550,000 to 1.4 million cases could occur in the region by January 2015.

The models differ in the predicted number of unreported cases, which explains the wide range of figures given. As the epidemic is already the largest known Ebola outbreak in history, even the lower estimates pose significant challenges for the countries affected and the aid organizations attempting to stem the tide of the disease.

Already the outbreak is straining the resources of the region’s fragile health systems and budgets of aid organizations on the ground. In addition to the recent commitments announced by Western governments for further aid and personnel, for aid organizations already combatting the epidemic, making the most of every dollar available is essential. One possible cost saving mechanism is a program called Airlink, which enlists the help of commercial airlines and cargo flight companies to transport equipment and aid at pennies on the dollar.

Steven Smith, Executive Director of Airlink, announced at CGI this week the creation of a dedicated “airbridge” from the US and Europe that will deliver 80 tons of medical supplies to aid agencies working in Liberia every two weeks through the end of the year. By working with partners such as Royal Air Maroc and Nippon Cargo Airlines as well as the Liberian Ministry of Health, the aid will be connected to 10 NGOs already working in the country that will then distribute the supplies throughout Liberia where it is needed.

“The reason we work with non-profits like AmeriCares and DirectRelief is because they already have the connections on the ground and the distribution plan,” said Smith to UN Dispatch. “We are just facilitating getting it to the main airport.” Unfortunately, this is no small task. As countries and airlines continue to cut off flights and travel from Ebola-effected countries, international response efforts are being impacted as it becomes much harder to move supplies and personnel into the countries where needed. But getting the supplies there is only the first step as the epidemic is widespread throughout Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “There is always a plan always in place with each shipment,” continued Smith, “with partners on the ground or their own people to take those things and get them where they need to go.” This helps ensure that all the supplies brought in are needed and are distributed to the places that need the most help.

Approaching aid logistics this way will potentially save aid organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars by combining available resources and streamlining the delivery process. This will allow them to spend much needed money on additional medical equipment and personnel rather than on chartering flights to deliver supplies. Given the size of the problem in the region and the possible consequences of not getting the epidemic under control soon, every little bit counts.

However, such programs are more than just about Ebola. Airlink already works with partner airlines and government officials to respond to humanitarian emergencies and provide disaster support around the world, from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to Hurricane Iselle in Hawaii. As the number of people impacted by disasters grows, a critical part of building disaster resiliency is maximizing impact while not cutting aid. Public-private partnerships such as Airlink allow organizations and governments responding to calls for action to do just that, and allow the private sector to contribute in ways that support the work already being done by governments and NGOs on the ground in vulnerable communities.

FACT SHEET: Announcing New U.S. Open Government Commitments on the Third Anniversary of the Open Government Partnership

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2014

Three years ago, President Obama joined with the leaders of seven other nations to launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international partnership between governments and civil society to promote transparency, fight corruption, energize civic engagement, and leverage new technologies to open up governments worldwide.  The United States and other founding countries pledged to transform the way that governments serve their citizens in the 21st century.  Today, as heads of state of OGP participating countries gather at the UN General Assembly, this partnership has grown from 8 to 65 nations and hundreds of civil society organizations around the world. These countries are embracing the challenge by taking steps in partnership with civil society to increase the ability of citizens to engage their governments, access government data to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation, and promote accountability.

In just three years, the OGP has generated over 2,000 new national commitments to improve government for more than 2 billion people around the world.  OGP national commitments range from passing or modernizing freedom of information laws, implementing measures to prevent corruption in the public and private sectors, and developing mechanisms to facilitate dialogue with civil society.  It is a testament to how truly global the open government movement has become that OGP’s leadership and membership now represent most of the world’s regions.  As part of their OGP national action plans, governments are committing to institute anticorruption measures, publish better and timelier information on how governments spend taxpayer dollars, and broaden citizen participation in the public policy-making process. 

  • From South Africa to the Philippines, citizens are organizing through their local governments to make their voices heard and get the public services they need.  From Indonesia to Albania to Macedonia, governments are partnering with civil society to develop new tools to report on corruption and promote transparency, and more governments are taking steps to bring transparency into the energy sector.  From Mexico to Bulgaria, governments at all levels are putting more and better quality information online, allowing citizens to hold them accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.  From Brazil to Paraguay, Ireland, and Sierra Leone, civil society organizations are working with government reformers to draft and reform freedom of information laws.  And from Georgia to Ghana, governments are establishing systems to ensure civil society participation in the public policy-making process.

The United States will continue to engage with and support OGP countries as they commit to policy and regulatory reforms designed to promote open government.  One reason that this international partnership is so important is it allows us to learn from each other.  For example, the United States has been inspired by the British government’s approach to digital services.  We have engaged with Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Sierra Leone to share lessons learned in implementing open government initiatives, to promote extractives industry transparency, improve federal government records management, and modernize our Freedom of Information Act, among other things.  U.S. assistance has helped Sierra Leone to develop its first OGP National Action Plan with robust citizen engagement; Tunisia to become eligible to join OGP on the third anniversary of its revolution in January; and other countries to implement their OGP commitments to transparency, accountability and citizen engagement. The United States is also working with several private sector partners and associations to help build capacity to implement open data policies, develop legal and regulatory reforms, and improve accountability and public service delivery in OGP member countries.

The United States is committed to continuing to lead by example in OGP.  Since assuming office, President Obama has prioritized making government more open and accountable and has taken substantial steps to increase citizen participation, collaboration with civil society, and transparency in government.  The United States will remain a global leader of international efforts to promote transparency, stem corruption and hold to account those who exploit the public’s trust for private gain.  Yesterday, President Obama announced several steps the United States is taking to deepen our support for civil society globally.  

Today, to mark the third anniversary of OGP, President Obama is announcing four new and expanded open government initiatives that will advance our efforts through the end of 2015.

1.      Promote Open Education to Increase Awareness and Engagement

Open education is the open sharing of digital learning materials, tools, and practices that ensures free access to and legal adoption of learning resources.  The United States is committed to open education and will:  

  • Raise open education awareness and identify new partnerships. The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy will jointly host a workshop on challenges and opportunities in open education internationally with stakeholders from academia, industry, and government.
  • Pilot new models for using open educational resources to support learning.  The State Department will conduct three pilots overseas by December 2015 that use open educational resources to support learning in formal and informal learning contexts. The pilots’ results, including best practices, will be made publicly available for interested educators. 
  • Launch an online skills academy. The Department of Labor (DOL), with cooperation from the Department of Education, will award $25 million through competitive grants to launch an online skills academy in 2015 that will offer open online courses of study, using technology to create high-quality, free, or low-cost pathways to degrees, certificates, and other employer-recognized credentials.

2.      Deliver Government Services More Effectively Through Information Technology

The Administration is committed to serving the American people more effectively and efficiently through smarter IT delivery. The newly launched U.S. Digital Service will work to remove barriers to digital service delivery and remake the experience that people and businesses have with their government. To improve delivery of Federal services, information, and benefits, the Administration will:

  • Expand digital service delivery expertise in government. Throughout 2015, the Administration will continue recruiting top digital talent from the private and public sectors to expand services across the government. These individuals —who have expertise in technology, procurement, human resources, and financing —will serve as digital professionals in a number of capacities in the Federal government, including the new U.S. Digital Service and 18F digital delivery team within the U.S. General Services Administration, as well as within Federal agencies. These teams will take best practices from the public and private sectors and scale them across agencies with a focus on the customer experience.
  • Build digital services in the open. The Administration will expand its efforts to build digital services in the open. This includes using open and transparent processes intended to better understand user needs, testing pilot digital projects, and designing and developing digital services at scale. In addition, building on the recently published Digital Services Playbook, the Administration will continue to openly publish best practices on collaborative websites that enable the public to suggest improvements.
  • Adopt an open source software policy. Using and contributing back to open source software can fuel innovation, lower costs, and benefit the public. No later than December 31, 2015, the Administration will work through the Federal agencies to develop an open source software policy that, together with the Digital Services Playbook, will support improved access to custom software code developed for the Federal government.

3.      Increase Transparency in Spending

The Administration has made an increasing amount of Federal spending data publicly available and searchable, allowing nationwide stakeholders to perform analysis of Federal spending. The Administration will build on these efforts by committing to:

  • Improve In 2015, the Administration will launch a refreshed website that will improve the site’s design and user experience, including better enabling users to explore the data using interactive maps and improving the search functionality and application programming interface.
  • Improve accessibility and reusability of Federal financial data.  In 2015, as part of implementation of the DATA Act,[2] the Administration will work to improve the accessibility and reusability of Federal financial data by issuing data element definition standards and standards for exchanging financial data. The Administration, through the Office of Management and Budget, will leverage industry data exchange standards to the extent practicable to maximize the sharing and utilization of Federal financial data.
  • Explore options for visualization and publication of additional Federal financial data.  The Administration, through the Treasury Department, will use small-scale pilots to help explore options for visualizing and publishing Federal financial data from across the government as required by the DATA Act.
  • Continue to engage stakeholders. The Administration will continue to engage with a broad group of stakeholders to seek input on Federal financial transparency initiatives including DATA Act implementation, by hosting town hall meetings, conducting interactive workshops, and seeking input via open innovation collaboration tools. 

4.      Use Big Data to Support Greater Openness and Accountability

President Obama has recognized the growing importance of “big data” technologies for our economy and the advancement of public good in areas such as education, energy conservation, and healthcare. The Administration is taking action to ensure responsible uses of big data to promote greater openness and accountability across a range of areas and sectors. As part of the work it is doing in this area, the Administration has committed to:

  • Enhance sharing of best practices on data privacy for state and local law enforcement.  Federal agencies with expertise in law enforcement, privacy, and data practices will seek to enhance collaboration and information sharing about privacy best practices among state and local law enforcement agencies receiving Federal grants.
  • Ensure privacy protection for big data analyses in health. Big data introduces new opportunities to advance medicine and science, improve health care, and support better public health. To ensure that individual privacy is protected while capitalizing on new technologies and data, the Administration, led by the Department of Health and Human Services, will: (1) consult with stakeholders to assess how Federal laws and regulations can best accommodate big data analyses that promise to advance medical science and reduce health care costs; and (2) develop recommendations for ways to promote and facilitate research through access to data while safeguarding patient privacy and autonomy.
  • Expand technical expertise in government to stop discrimination. U.S. Government departments and agencies will work to expand their technical expertise to identify outcomes facilitated by big data analytics that may have a discriminatory impact on protected classes. 

Open Skies Air Transport Agreement with the Republic of Korea

Ottawa, Ontario
22 September 2014

The Government of Canada is committed to helping the Canadian air industry increase its access to international markets which, in turn, benefits domestic businesses, shippers and travellers. To this end, on September 22, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea, witnessed the signing of the Open Skies Air Transport Agreement between Canada and Korea. The signing, by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Yun Byung-se, Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a significant milestone in the deepening of our bilateral relations. The signing took place during the state visit of PresidentPark to Canada.

The Agreement provides for:

  • An open and unlimited number of direct passenger and cargo flights between the two countries;
  • Unrestricted ability for Canadian and Korean airlines to stop in countries between and beyond Canada and Korea, to drop off and pick up additional passengers and cargo;
  • A market-based tariff regime with minimal filing requirements for prices;
  • Fully open unrestricted code-sharing; and,
  • Open points of service.

The Agreement builds on the original 1989 Canada-Korea Air Services Agreement, which was amended in 1993 and 1996.

Canada’s Blue Sky policy encourages long-term, sustainable competition and the development of new or expanded international air services. Under this policy, since 2006, the Government of Canada has concluded new or expanded air transport agreements covering more than 80 countries, including:

  • Open Skies-type agreements with 16 countries: Barbados, Brazil, Costa Rica, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Sint Maarten, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Expanded agreements with 20 countries: Algeria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Turkey.
  • New first-time agreements with 21 countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, the Gambia, Kenya, Kuwait, Macedonia, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia and Uruguay.
  • A comprehensive Air Transport Agreement between Canada and the 28 European Union member states (including Ireland and Croatia).

Additional and up-to-date information on the Blue Sky policy and its implementation can be found at: