Canada’s Top 10 Imports

Canada's Top 10 Imports

Canadian dollars

Canada imported US$458.9 billion worth of goods from foreign suppliers in 2018. That dollar amount represents a -0.9% slowdown compared to 2014 but a 6.1% increase from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, 58% of Canada’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow North American nations. Asian trade partners satisfied 24.1% of imports bought by Canada while 13.8% worth originated from Europe. Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (0.7%) and Oceania (0.5%) led by Australia and New Zealand.

Given Canada’s population of 35.9 million people, its total $458.9 billion in goods imported during 2018 translates to roughly $12,800 in yearly product demand from every person in the North American country.

Canada’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Canada’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Canada.

  1. Vehicles: US$75.4 billion (16.4% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $68.8 billion (15%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $44.8 billion (9.8%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $36.1 billion (7.9%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $17 billion (3.7%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $12.6 billion (2.7%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: $12.5 billion (2.7%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: $10.8 billion (2.4%)
  9. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $9.3 billion (2%)
  10. Gems, precious metals: $8.8 billion (1.9%)

Canada’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.6%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 21.3% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving import sales was the articles of iron or steel category via its 10.4% gain. Trailing that percentage were Canadian imports of machinery including computers with an 8.6% expansion year over year.

The lone declining top import was the gems and precious metals category, down -9.5% thanks mostly to a slowdown in Canadian purchases of gold, precious metals scrap and silver on international markets.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more detailed view of imported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Canada’s Most Valuable Import Products further down near the bottom of this article or under the adjacent product folder tabs.

Vehicles

In 2018, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Cars: US$29.9 billion (up 4.6% from 2017)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $20.2 billion (down -1.7%)
  3. Trucks: $14 billion (down -10.8%)
  4. Tractors: $4.5 billion (up 26.3%)
  5. Trailers: $2.9 billion (up 17.2%)
  6. Public-transport vehicles: $975.5 million (up 22.4%)
  7. Special purpose vehicles: $862.7 million (up 29.6%)
  8. Armored vehicles, tanks: $796.2 million (up 33.5%)
  9. Motorcycles: $532.7 million (up 8%)
  10. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $251.4 million (down -1.2%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of armored vehicles including tanks (up 33.5%), special purpose vehicles (up 29.6%) and tractors (up 26.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Computers, optical readers: US$9.3 billion (up 8.7% from 2017)
  2. Turbo-jets: $5.6 billion (up 21.7%)
  3. Piston engines: $4.5 billion (down -7.7%)
  4. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $3.7 billion (up 22.7%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $3.6 billion (up 13.3%)
  6. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $3.2 billion (down -4%)
  7. Liquid pumps and elevators: $2.7 billion (up 4.3%)
  8. Machinery parts: $2.7 billion (up 23.6%)
  9. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $2.6 billion (up 9.4%)
  10. Piston engine parts: $2.2 billion (up 8.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of machinery parts (up 23.6%), heavy machinery including bulldozers, excavators and road rollers (up 22.7%) and turbo-jets (up 21.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 2018, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$11.1 billion (up 9% from 2017)
  2. Insulated wire/cable: $3.6 billion (up 0.7%)
  3. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $2.3 billion (down -1.5%)
  4. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $2.2 billion (up 10.7%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $2 billion (up 5.7%)
  6. Electrical converters/power units: $1.9 billion (up 0.2%)
  7. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $1.8 billion (up 1.1%)
  8. Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters: $1.6 billion (down -6.9%)
  9. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $1.5 billion (down -8.3%)
  10. Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $1.5 billion (up 8.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 10.7%), phone system devices including smartphones (up 9%) then electric water heaters and hair dryers (up 8.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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

Energy

In 2018, Canadian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$16.9 billion (up 37% from 2017)
  2. Crude oil: $14.2 billion (up 11.5%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $2.7 billion (down -9.3%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $792.4 million (up 18.8%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $479 million (up 34.7%)
  6. Electrical energy: $405.4 million (up 118.5%)
  7. Coke, semi-coke: $213.1 million (up 11.9%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $187.1 million (up 21.7%)
  9. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $109.5 million (up 115%)
  10. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $88.3 million (up 38.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Canadian purchases of electrical energy (up 118.5%), high temperature distillation coal tar oils (up 115%) and natural bitumen, asphalt or shale (up 38.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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



 

Searchable List of Canada’s Most Valuable Import Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Canada’s top import products are cars, auto parts or accessories, refined petroleum oils, crude oil followed by mobile phones.

The following searchable table displays 200 of Canada’s most in-demand imported goods during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankCanada's Import Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$29.9 billion+4.6%
2Automobile parts/accessories$20.2 billion-1.7%
3Processed petroleum oils$16.9 billion+37%
4Crude oil$14.2 billion+11.5%
5Trucks$14 billion-10.8%
6Phone system devices including smartphones$11.1 billion+9%
7Computers, optical readers$9.3 billion+8.7%
8Medication mixes in dosage$7.6 billion+6.1%
9Turbo-jets$5.6 billion+21.7%
10Gold (unwrought)$4.8 billion-11.9%
11Aircraft parts$4.6 billion+8.7%
12Piston engines$4.5 billion-7.7%
13Tractors$4.5 billion+26.3%
14Blood fractions (including antisera)$4 billion+8.6%
15Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$3.7 billion+22.7%
16Taps, valves, similar appliances$3.6 billion+13.3%
17Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$3.6 billion-1.7%
18Insulated wire/cable$3.6 billion+0.7%
19Aircraft, spacecraft$3.6 billion+8%
20Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$3.2 billion-4%
21Rubber tires (new)$3.2 billion+4.2%
22Miscellaneous furniture$2.9 billion+2.3%
23Trailers$2.9 billion+17.2%
24Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$2.8 billion+4.4%
25Liquid pumps and elevators$2.7 billion+4.3%
26Petroleum gases$2.7 billion-9.3%
27Machinery parts$2.7 billion+23.6%
28Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$2.6 billion+9.4%
29Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$2.4 billion+9.4%
30TV receivers/monitors/projectors$2.3 billion-1.5%
31Piston engine parts$2.2 billion+8.5%
32Integrated circuits/microassemblies$2.2 billion+10.7%
33Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$2.1 billion+25.9%
34Wine $2 billion+5.8%
35Lower-voltage switches, fuses$2 billion+5.7%
36Electrical converters/power units$1.9 billion+0.2%
37Air or vacuum pumps$1.8 billion-3.6%
38Miscellaneous plastic items$1.8 billion+3.8%
39Printing machinery$1.8 billion-1.1%
40Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1.8 billion+1.1%
41Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$1.7 billion+12.6%
42Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.7 billion+4.8%
43Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$1.7 billion+0%
44Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1.7 billion+5.8%
45Miscellaneous machinery$1.7 billion+5%
46Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.6 billion-9.7%
47Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$1.6 billion+8.8%
48Harvest/threshing machinery$1.6 billion+3.6%
49Refrigerators, freezers$1.6 billion+5.8%
50Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1.6 billion+5%
51Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$1.6 billion-6.9%
52Air conditioners$1.6 billion+10.1%
53Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$1.6 billion+4.8%
54Other food preparations$1.5 billion+5.8%
55TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$1.5 billion-8.3%
56Ethylene polymers$1.5 billion+5.6%
57Electric water heaters, hair dryers$1.5 billion+8.1%
58Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$1.5 billion+7.6%
59Base metal mountings, fittings$1.5 billion+2.3%
60Cases, handbags, wallets$1.4 billion+6.7%
61Temperature-change machines$1.4 billion+6.3%
62Electric motors, generators$1.4 billion+5.7%
63Orthopedic appliances$1.3 billion+8.1%
64Precious metal waste, scrap$1.3 billion-16.9%
65Other organic cleaning preparations$1.3 billion+0.5%
66Unrecorded sound media$1.3 billion+11.3%
67Electric storage batteries$1.3 billion+16.6%
68Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.3 billion+14%
69Table games, bowling equipment$1.2 billion+13.3%
70Microphones/headphones/amps$1.2 billion+8.1%
71Coffee$1.2 billion-6.4%
72Electrical machinery$1.2 billion+3.4%
73Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$1.2 billion+11.3%
74Sports equipment$1.2 billion+1.9%
75Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1.2 billion+2.4%
76Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.1 billion+5.6%
77Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.1 billion-1.6%
78Footwear (leather)$1.1 billion+3.1%
79Printed books, brochures$1.1 billion+1.2%
80Lifting/loading machinery$1.1 billion+22%
81Iron or steel tubes, pipes$1 billion+8.1%
82Fork-lift trucks$1 billion+34.5%
83Propylene/olefin polymers$1 billion+8%
84Jewelry$1 billion+7.5%
85Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$1 billion+1.4%
86Physical/chemical analysis tools$1 billion+8.6%
87Vulcanized rubber items$1 billion+2.6%
88Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$988.3 million+4.5%
89Public-transport vehicles$975.5 million+22.4%
90Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$971.4 million+5%
91Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$961.6 million+2.4%
92Regulate/control instruments$937.3 million-6.5%
93Chemical industry products/residuals$927.1 million+14.5%
94 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $916.9 million+10.8%
95Paper containers, cellulose wadding$915.1 million+5.9%
96Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$909.5 million+25.8%
97Engines (diesel)$907.9 million+16.6%
98Zinc ores, concentrates$895.8 million+17.3%
99Computer parts, accessories$887.3 million-3.7%
100Miscellaneous engines, motors$881 million+18.8%
101Iron or steel pipe fittings$878.5 million+12.8%
102Miscellaneous preserved fruits$877 million+5%
103Interchangeable hand/machine tools$867.3 million+6.5%
104Other measuring/testing machines$863.3 million+4.4%
105Special purpose vehicles$862.7 million+29.6%
106Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$855.6 million-1.9%
107Pneumatic hand tool$854.2 million+4.9%
108Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$846.4 million+0.1%
109Ball, roller bearings$840.5 million+7.2%
110Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$817.9 million+3.7%
111Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$808.2 million+8.3%
112Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$806.6 million+8.6%
113Crustaceans (including lobsters)$804.9 million+5.2%
114Armored vehicles, tanks$796.2 million+33.5%
115Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$793.4 million+7%
116Coal, solid fuels made from coal$792.4 million+18.8%
117Coated paper$783.6 million-0.7%
118Fertilizer mixes$779.3 million+14%
119Iron ores, concentrates$769 million+36.9%
120Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$764.9 million-8.5%
121Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$763.7 million+7.8%
122Electric generating sets, converters$762.6 million+7.6%
123Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$761.2 million-0.7%
124Other diagnostic/lab reagents$738.8 million+3.7%
125Footwear (textile)$733.7 million+3.8%
126Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$732.1 million+0%
127T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$731.6 million+2.2%
128Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$717.4 million+10.5%
129Cellulose fiber paper$711.7 million+3.1%
130Liquid/gas checking instruments$698.9 million+2.8%
131Electric ignition/start equipment$695.9 million+1.4%
132Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$695 million-0.9%
133Fish fillets, pieces$680.5 million+7.1%
134Amino-resins$670.7 million+9.6%
135Rubber/plastic article making machines$669.7 million+11.6%
136Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$668.6 million+2.9%
137Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$664.1 million+20.4%
138Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$645.9 million-0.5%
139Vinyl chloride polymers$644.2 million+1.4%
140Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$638.8 million-0.8%
141Acrylic polymers$637.1 million+20.8%
142Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$627.8 million+3%
143Fruit and vegetable juices$620.8 million+0.5%
144Radar, radio communication items$617.8 million-4.1%
145Ethyl alcohol$614.2 million-4.2%
146Fresh or dried citrus fruit$612.7 million+5.4%
147Sort/screen/washing machinery$608.9 million+5.4%
148Railway/tram locomotives, rolling stock$602.8 million+26.1%
149Telecommunication receivers$598.9 million-10.9%
150Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$589.9 million+3.6%
151Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$588.4 million+3.5%
152Mattresses, quilts$584.7 million+5.7%
153Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$581.3 million+4.9%
154Flat-rolled stainless steel items$574.4 million+21.7%
155Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$574.1 million-1.2%
156Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$565.9 million+23.9%
157Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$564 million+4.7%
158Carbon electrodes, brushes$562.5 million+99%
159Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$560.6 million-11.2%
160Fresh or chilled beef$560.1 million-6%
161Malt beer$556.5 million-2.7%
162Biodiesel$555.1 million+0.2%
163Acyclic hydrocarbons$555.1 million+10.4%
164TV/radio/radar device parts$555 million+0.3%
165Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$549.5 million+6.8%
166Nitrogenous fertilizers$546.6 million+16.3%
167Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$541.4 million+17.6%
168Sulphonamides$538.5 million+236.2%
169Hair preparations$537.4 million+4.6%
170Vulcanized rubber tubes, pipes$534.2 million+2%
171Motorcycles$532.7 million+8%
172Other machine parts, accessories$529.6 million+9.1%
173Linens$525.6 million+6.3%
174Miscellaneous nuts$520.4 million+8.1%
175Organic surface-active goods, soap$518.9 million+3.4%
176Aluminum (unwrought)$512 million+78.3%
177Roasted cereals prepared foods$510.8 million+1.5%
178Safety glass$502.6 million-0.4%
179Plastic tile or roll coverings$502.5 million+7.5%
180Corn$502.1 million+57.8%
181Navigational aids, compasses$500.4 million+3.3%
182Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$500 million-3.3%
183Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$498.9 million+12.4%
184Coated/laminated non-wovens$498.6 million+9.5%
185Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$496.9 million-0.2%
186Uncoated kraft paper$494.9 million+7.6%
187Speed/distance meters$494.3 million-14.4%
188Synthetic rubber$493.5 million+4.5%
189Miscellaneous/adhesive paper$492.3 million+3.1%
190Unrefined copper$488.7 million-21%
191Paint/varnish aqueous solution$486.1 million+0.6%
192Grapes (fresh or dried)$484.9 million+0.5%
193Sawn wood$484.4 million+2.2%
194Soil preparation/cultivation machinery$484 million+6.4%
195Petroleum oil residues$479 million+34.7%
196Miscellaneous printed materials$471.9 million-5.9%
197Warships, lifeboats$468.5 million+632.9%
198Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$467.5 million+3.9%
199Mechano-therapy appliances$467 million+9.7%
200Footwear (rubber or plastic)$466.3 million+2.9%

These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$353.4 billion or more than three-quarters (77%) by value for all products imported into Canada during 2018.

See also Canada’s Top Trading Partners, Canada’s Top 10 Exports, Top Canadian Trade Balances and Canada’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed March 11, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 11, 2019