Canada’s Top 10 Imports

Canada's Top 10 Imports

Canadian dollars

Canada imported US$432.3 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a -6.4% cutback since 2013 but is a 7.3% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Canada’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Canadian imports represent 2.7% of total global imports benchmarked at $16.054 trillion one year earlier in 2016.

From a continental perspective, 58.4% of Canada’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from other North American countries. Asian trade partners were responsible for 24% of import sales to Canada while 13.2% worth originated from Europe.

Much smaller percentages come from Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean at 3% while African suppliers are responsible for 1% of Canada’s total imports.

Given Canada’s population of 35.6 million people, its total $432.3 billion in goods imported during 2017 translates to roughly $12,100 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Canada’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Canada’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Canada.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Canada’s leading import products are motor cars followed by automotive parts and accessories, trucks, crude oil, refined petroleum oils and smartphones.

  1. Vehicles: US$74.3 billion (17.2% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $63.3 billion (14.6%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $42.8 billion (9.9%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $29.7 billion (6.9%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $16 billion (3.7%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $12.3 billion (2.8%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: $11.7 billion (2.7%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: $9.8 billion (2.3%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $9.7 billion (2.3%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $9.3 billion (2.1%)

Mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 17.3% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving import sales was the articles of iron or steel category via its 16% gain. Trailing that percentage up 10% were Canadian imports of vehicles, followed by plastics and plastics articles with an 8.7% improvement.

The lone declining top import was the gems and precious metals category, down -16.2% thanks mostly to diminished international sales of silver, gold and precious stones.

Vehicles

In 2017, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:

  1. Cars: US$28.7 billion (up 8.4% from 2016)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $20.5 billion (down -0.4%)
  3. Trucks: $15.9 billion (up 21.9%)
  4. Tractors: $3.5 billion (up 27.2%)
  5. Trailers: $2.4 billion (up 15.1%)
  6. Public-transport vehicles: $797 million (up 30.6%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $664.6 million (up 1.1%)
  8. Armored vehicles, tanks: $602 million (up 182.3%)
  9. Motorcycles: $487.8 million (up 17.7%)
  10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $253.3 million (up 0.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of armored vehicles including tanks (up 182.3%), public-transport vehicles (up 30.6%) and tractors (up 27.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Canadian businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2017, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery:

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$8.5 billion (up 9.6% from 2016)
  2. Piston engines: $4.9 billion (down -0.3%)
  3. Turbo-jets: $4.6 billion (up 2.4%)
  4. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $3.3 billion (down -10.7%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $3.2 billion (up 5.5%)
  6. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $3 billion (up 46.2%)
  7. Liquid pumps and elevators: $2.6 billion (up 9.4%)
  8. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $2.3 billion (down -9%)
  9. Machinery parts: $2.2 billion (up 11.4%)
  10. Piston engine parts: $2 billion (down -0.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of heavy machinery including bulldozers and excavators (up 46.2%), machinery parts (up 11.4%) and computers including optical readers (up 9.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Canadian businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2017, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronics:

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$10.2 billion (up 13.3% from 2016)
  2. Insulated wire/cable: $3.6 billion (up 5%)
  3. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $2.3 billion (up 17.8%)
  4. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $2 billion (up 5.2%)
  5. Electrical converters/power units: $1.9 billion (up 0.2%)
  6. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1.9 billion (up 5%)
  7. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $1.8 billion (up 1.7%)
  8. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $1.7 billion (up 10.7%)
  9. Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters: $1.7 billion (up 5.2%)
  10. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $1.4 billion (up 6.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of TV receivers, monitors and projectors (up 17.8%), phone system devices including smartphones (up 13.3%) and TV receivers, transmitters or digital cameras (up 10.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported energy among Canadian businesses and consumers.

Energy

In 2017, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$12.7 billion (up 16.7% from 2016)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $12.3 billion (up 11.2%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $2.9 billion (up 56%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $673 million (up 37.2%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $356.2 million (up 11.5%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $190.9 million (up 28.8%)
  7. Electrical energy: $175.3 million (down -9.6%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $153.9 million (down -8.4%)
  9. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $64.6 million (up 30.8%)
  10. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $51.1 million (up 39.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of petroleum gases (up 56%), high-temperature distillation coal tar oils (up 39.1%) and coal including solid fuels made from coal (up 37.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fuel sources among Canadian businesses and consumers.



 
See also Canada’s Top Import Partners, Highest Value Canadian Import Products, Canada’s Top 10 Exports and Highest Value Canadian Export Products

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed February 12, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 12, 2018