Canada is the 10th largest exporter and 12th largest importer in the world. Although Canada is heavily involved in international trade, the US is by far its largest and most important trade partner. In 2009, 75.02 percent of Canadian exports were directed to the US, while 51.1 percent of imports came from the US.
Bilateral trade between Canada and the US increased by 52 percent between 1989 (when the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into effect) and 1994 (when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented). Although NAFTA dramatically improved US-Canada trade relations, disputes still remain that pertain to intellectual property rights, softwood lumber, beef, tomatoes and other agricultural products.
Commodities dominate trade between the US and Canada. In agriculture, both countries are its counterpart’s largest export market – the US imports more than half of Canada’s food products while Canada imports nearly 20 percent of the US’s food product.
The energy trade is another critical element in US-Canada trade. Canada is the US’s largest oil supplier, accounting for 16 percent of US oil imports and 14 percent of US’s natural gas consumption. Besides sharing hydropower facilities on the western borders, national electricity grids for both countries are also linked to each other.
Canada’s Import and Export Indicators and Statistics at a Glance (2010)
Total value of exports: US$406.8 billion
Primary exports - commodities: motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment; chemicals, plastics, fertilizers; wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity, aluminum
Primary exports partners: US (75.02 percent), UK (3.37 percent), China (3.09 percent)
Total value of imports: US$406.4 billion
Primary imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods
Primary imports partners: US (51.1 percent), China (10.88 percent), Mexico (4.56 percent)