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Foreign trade figures of Canada

Foreign Trade in Figures

Canada is a country open to foreign trade, which represents 60% of its GDP (World Bank, 2020). Product-wise, Canada’s main exports are petroleum products (12.3%), motor cars and other vehicles (8.2%), gold (4.1%), and auto parts (2.3%). The country imports mainly vehicles (8.4%), auto parts or accessories (3.6%), automatic data processing machines and telephones (2.4% each - Comtrade).

The main destinations for Canada’s exports in 2020 were the U.S. (by far the leading partner, accounting for 73.3% of total exports), China (4.8%), the United Kingdom (3.8%), and Japan (2.4%). Similarly, almost half of Canada’s imports had a U.S. origin (48.8%), followed by China (14.1%), Mexico (5.5%), Germany (3.2%) and Japan (2.5% - Comtrade).

Canadian trade was weak in 2020: according to data by WTO, exports of goods amounted to USD 390.6 billion, down by 12.5% from the previous year. Imports – at USD 414.1 billion - followed a similar trend (-10.7%). Concerning commercial services, Canada is also a net importer, with imports standing at USD 90.1 billion versus USD 84.4 billion in exports. The country’s trade deficit widened in recent years, attributable to exports in goods lagging imports in goods, partly due to the low prices of hydrocarbons and to the trade tensions with its main business partner, the USA. Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union entered into force provisionally (it will take full effect once all EU Member States have formally ratified it) eliminating 98% of the tariffs, whereas the USMCA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, an updated version of NAFTA) entered into force and is expected to further boost trade among the participating countries. The World Bank estimated the country’s trade deficit at 2% of GDP in 2020. According to the latest governmental figures, Canadian exports advanced 18.7% in the first half of 2021 (y-o-y), as higher exports of resource products were partially offset by lower exports of motor vehicles and parts and aircraft and other transportation equipment. Commercial services is the only component of services trade that is now well above pre-pandemic levels, whereas transportation and travel have not yet begun their recovery. In the same period, total services exports were 19.3% below the pre-pandemic level in Q4 2019, and total services imports were 30.6% lower.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 416,602443,169470,466463,786414,165
Exports of Goods (million USD) 390,117420,784450,743446,585390,599
Imports of Services (million USD) 97,378106,885119,605120,04390,175
Exports of Services (million USD) 80,92786,776102,243103,69884,434

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 65.465.166.665.460.0
Trade Balance (million USD) -19,170-19,083-15,327-11,576-27,321
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -36,242-36,238-32,664-27,771-32,976
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.14.63.40.4-11.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.41.43.71.3-10.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 33.933.634.233.531.0
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.531.532.331.929.0

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.08.41.12.51.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 12.710.31.13.22.1

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Canada is a member of the following international economic organisations: North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), OECD, Organization of American States (OAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Commonwealth, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Canada click here. International organisation membership of Canada is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Canada can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
United States 73.2%
China 4.9%
United Kingdom 3.8%
Japan 2.4%
Mexico 1.2%
See More Countries 14.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
United States 48.8%
China 14.1%
Mexico 5.5%
Germany 3.2%
Japan 2.5%
See More Countries 25.9%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

388.4 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 12.2%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 8.2%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 4.1%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.3%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked,...Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or barked, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 2.0%
See More Products 71.1%
404.9 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.4%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.6%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.1%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.4%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.4%
See More Products 83.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: September 2022

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