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flag Canada Canadian 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 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 443,169470,466463,786414,165504,017
Exports of Goods (million USD) 420,784450,743446,585390,599507,615
Imports of Services (million USD) 106,885119,605120,04390,175104,903
Exports of Services (million USD) 86,776102,243103,69884,434103,790

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 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 1.41.12.12.22.9
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 8.62.21.33.22.2

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)
2021
United States 75.5%
China 4.5%
United Kingdom 2.6%
Japan 2.3%
Mexico 1.3%
See More Countries 13.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
United States 48.5%
China 14.0%
Mexico 5.5%
Germany 3.1%
Japan 2.5%
See More Countries 26.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main products

501.2 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 16.3%
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) 5.8%
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 3.0%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 3.0%
Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled,...Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness of > 6 mm 2.7%
See More Products 69.2%
489.5 bn USD of products imported in 2021
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) 5.7%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.0%
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. 2.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.7%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.4%
See More Products 83.2%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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

 
 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Canadian dollar (CAD)
Exchange Rate Regime
The Bank of Canada controls and establishes the regulations concerning transfers of capital with foreign countries. There is free convertibility of currency, the right to transfer profits, capital, dividends, interest and fees.
Level of Currency Instability
The changes Canadian companies are facing are unprecedented. The meteoric rise in value of the Canadian dollar, the uncertainty of the world energy market, the tightening of credit, the slowing down of the American economy and the weakness of the whole of the manufacturing sector are all conditions which favor the instability of the Canadian dollar.
Exchange Rate on :

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Canadian dollar (CAD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 1.331.301.301.301.34

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

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Latest Update: November 2022