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.

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

As of June 2018, Canada’s import purchases were valued at $231.8 billion up 9.5% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

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. Smaller percentages came from Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean at 3% while African suppliers were 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.

  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%)

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.

Canada’s top 10 imports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.5%) 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 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.



 

Searchable List of Canada’s Most Valuable Import Products

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

The following searchable table displays 200 of Canada’s most in-demand imported goods during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total import value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankCanadian Import Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$28.7 billion+8.5%
2Automobile parts/accessories$20.5 billion-0.1%
3Trucks$15.9 billion+21.9%
4Crude oil$12.8 billion+16.9%
5Processed petroleum oils$12.3 billion+11.2%
6Phone system devices including smartphones $10.2 billion+13.1%
7Computers, optical readers$8.5 billion+9.5%
8Medication mixes in dosage$7.2 billion-0.3%
9Gold (unwrought)$5.5 billion-1.9%
10Piston engines$4.9 billion+0.1%
11Turbo-jets$4.6 billion+2.5%
12Aircraft parts$4.2 billion+2.5%
13Blood fractions (including antisera)$3.7 billion+8.8%
14Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$3.7 billion+2.6%
15Insulated wire/cable$3.6 billion+5.2%
16Tractors$3.5 billion+26.9%
17Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$3.3 billion-10.5%
18Aircraft, spacecraft$3.3 billion+15.6%
19Taps, valves, similar appliances$3.2 billion+5.5%
20Rubber tires (new)$3.1 billion+6.9%
21Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$3 billion+46.1%
22Petroleum gases$3 billion+56.9%
23Miscellaneous furniture$2.9 billion+9.1%
24Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$2.7 billion+5.1%
25Liquid pumps and elevators$2.6 billion+9.6%
26Trailers$2.4 billion+15.5%
27Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$2.3 billion-8.9%
28TV receivers/monitors/projectors$2.3 billion+17.3%
29Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$2.2 billion+2.6%
30Machinery parts$2.2 billion+11.4%
31Piston engine parts$2 billion-0.3%
32Integrated circuits/microassemblies$2 billion+5.2%
33Air or vacuum pumps$1.9 billion+6.4%
34Electrical converters/power units$1.9 billion+0.4%
35Wine $1.9 billion+6.3%
36Lower-voltage switches, fuses$1.9 billion+5.1%
37Printing machinery$1.8 billion-2%
38Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.8 billion+31.2%
39Miscellaneous plastic items$1.8 billion+7.2%
40Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$1.8 billion+1.9%
41Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$1.7 billion+7%
42TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$1.7 billion+10.7%
43Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$1.7 billion+5.5%
44Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$1.6 billion+36.5%
45Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.6 billion+6%
46Miscellaneous machinery$1.6 billion-55.8%
47Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1.6 billion+10.2%
48Precious metal waste, scrap$1.6 billion-2.5%
49Harvest/threshing machinery$1.6 billion+25.1%
50Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$1.5 billion+7.5%
51Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$1.5 billion+6.2%
52Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$1.5 billion+3.9%
53Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$1.5 billion+3.4%
54Refrigerators, freezers$1.5 billion+4.3%
55Other food preparations$1.5 billion+4.2%
56Base metal mountings, fittings$1.4 billion+4%
57Ethylene polymers$1.4 billion+17.9%
58Air conditioners$1.4 billion-1.4%
59Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+6.4%
60Electric water heaters, hair dryers$1.4 billion+6.2%
61Cases, handbags, wallets$1.4 billion+3.1%
62Temperature-change machines$1.3 billion+2.7%
63Other organic cleaning preparations$1.3 billion+2.2%
64Coffee$1.3 billion+8.2%
65Electric motors, generators$1.3 billion+4.9%
66Orthopedic appliances$1.2 billion+8.4%
67Unrecorded sound media$1.2 billion-0.5%
68Electrical machinery$1.1 billion-5.5%
69Sports equipment$1.1 billion+5.5%
70Microphones/headphones/amps$1.1 billion+13.2%
71Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.1 billion+22.3%
72Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$1.1 billion+3.3%
73Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.1 billion+0.7%
74Electric storage batteries$1.1 billion+19.6%
75Table games, bowling equipment$1.1 billion+10.2%
76Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.1 billion+14.3%
77Footwear (leather)$1.1 billion-3.9%
78Printed books, brochures$1.1 billion+2%
79Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$1.1 billion+34.7%
80Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$1 billion+4.5%
81Regulate/control instruments$1 billion-7.9%
82Vulcanized rubber items$975.5 million+3%
83Iron or steel tubes, pipes$967.5 million+106.5%
84Propylene/olefin polymers$958.7 million+3.9%
85Jewelry$958 million+1%
86Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$944.6 million+1.5%
87Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$940.4 million+7.6%
88Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$926.2 million+7.6%
89Physical/chemical analysis tools$922.9 million+1%
90Computer parts, accessories$921.8 million+7%
91Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$874.2 million+3.1%
92Lifting/loading machinery$871.3 million+2%
93Paper containers, cellulose wadding$864.7 million+4.3%
94Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$845.1 million+2.4%
95Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$837 million+21.8%
96Miscellaneous preserved fruits$835.9 million+7.9%
97 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $828.1 million+6.4%
98Other measuring/testing machines$827.2 million+13.5%
99Pneumatic hand tool$815.2 million+5.8%
100Interchangeable hand/machine tools$815 million+11.1%
101Chemical industry products/residuals$809.4 million+4%
102Public-transport vehicles$796.4 million+30.5%
103Coated paper$789.7 million+2.3%
104Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$788.9 million+1%
105Ball, roller bearings$784.1 million+1.5%
106Iron or steel pipe fittings$779.2 million+27.1%
107Engines (diesel)$776.5 million+19.4%
108Fork-lift trucks$771 million+14.7%
109Cruise/cargo ships, barges$768.7 million+194.3%
110Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$767.1 million+1.3%
111Crustaceans (including lobsters)$765.9 million-5%
112Zinc ores, concentrates$764.3 million+30.7%
113Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$745.8 million+2.8%
114Undenatured ethyl alcohol$743.6 million+6.8%
115Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$741.8 million+8.7%
116Miscellaneous engines, motors$741.6 million+7.2%
117Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$733.6 million+7.2%
118Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$723.9 million+12.4%
119T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$715.4 million+4.9%
120Other diagnostic/lab reagents$712.5 million+1.1%
121Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$707.3 million+14.9%
122Footwear (textile)$707.1 million+19.3%
123Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$702 million+3.3%
124Electric generating sets, converters$701.5 million+41.6%
125Cellulose fiber paper$690.8 million+3.7%
126Electric ignition/start equipment$686.2 million+3.6%
127Fertilizer mixes$684.2 million+3.2%
128Liquid/gas checking instruments$680.1 million+10.7%
129Silver (unwrought)$673.4 million-47%
130Telecommunication receivers$672.3 million-0.3%
131Coal, solid fuels made from coal$669.7 million+36.5%
132Special purpose vehicles$665.1 million+1.2%
133Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$650.5 million+24.6%
134Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$649.9 million-0.4%
135Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$649.2 million+5.6%
136Radar, radio communication items$644.6 million+2.6%
137Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$644.6 million-0.1%
138Ethyl alcohol$641.8 million+6.1%
139Fish fillets, pieces$636 million+12.3%
140Vinyl chloride polymers$635.6 million+14%
141Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$627.9 million+8.3%
142Unrefined copper$619.3 million+353.2%
143Fruit and vegetable juices$617.3 million-1.9%
144Amino-resins$612.9 million+12.5%
145Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$610.4 million-1.7%
146Rubber/plastic article making machines$600.4 million+14.4%
147Armored vehicles, tanks$596.9 million+179.9%
148Fresh or chilled beef$596.3 million+5.4%
149Lead ores, concentrates$583 million-7.2%
150Fresh or dried citrus fruit$581.5 million+5.9%
151Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$581.2 million+1.1%
152Sort/screen/washing machinery$577.5 million+4.8%
153Speed/distance meters$577.4 million-1%
154Malt beer$572.4 million+0.3%
155Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$570.1 million+3.3%
156Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$568.7 million+9.8%
157Iron ores, concentrates$562.1 million+19.5%
158Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$554.1 million+2.8%
159Biodiesel$553.9 million+78%
160Mattresses, quilts$553.6 million+11.3%
161TV/radio/radar device parts$553.2 million+3.5%
162Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$552.4 million+11.7%
163Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$538.9 million-0.8%
164Acrylic polymers$527.8 million+12.7%
165Vulcanized rubber tubes, pipes$523.6 million+12.1%
166Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$517.6 million+3.4%
167Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$517.2 million+9.8%
168Hair preparations$514 million-1.1%
169Safety glass$504.6 million-4.6%
170Prepared cereal foods$503.8 million-3.3%
171Acyclic hydrocarbons$503.4 million+7.1%
172Soap, organics surface-active goods$502.1 million+3.9%
173Miscellaneous printed matter$501.6 million+4.6%
174Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$498.4 million+18.8%
175Linens$495 million+3.3%
176Motorcycles$491 million+18.5%
177Other machine parts, accessories$486.3 million+10%
178Navigational aids including compasses$483.7 million-14.5%
179Paint/varnish aqueous solution$483.3 million+1.1%
180Grapes (fresh or dried)$482.8 million-2.1%
181Miscellaneous nuts$481.6 million-7.3%
182Railway/streetcar locomotives, railcars$478.2 million+8.5%
183Miscellaneous/adhesive paper$478 million+5.3%
184Sawn wood$473.7 million+1.9%
185Synthetic rubber$472.7 million+10.3%
186Railway/streetcar carrier vans, wagons$472.7 million-6.9%
187Flat-rolled stainless steel items$472 million+20.1%
188Nitrogenous fertilizers$470.3 million+19.8%
189Filament/discharge lamps$469.7 million+90.3%
190Plastic tile or roll coverings$467.9 million+29.6%
191Sugar (cane or beet)$464.5 million-3%
192Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$461.3 million+30.9%
193Uncoated kraft paper$460.3 million+15.8%
194Newspapers, journals$458.6 million-3.9%
195Cabbages, cauliflowers, kale$456.7 million+8.3%
196Coated/laminated non-wovens$455.7 million+9.5%
197Agriculture/forestry soil preparation machinery$455.3 million+29.4%
198Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$454.7 million+33.4%
199Footwear (rubber or plastic)$453.5 million-1.3%
200Iron and steel stoves, barbecues$450.6 million+12.4%


These 200 imported goods were worth a subtotal of US$334.7 billion or more than three-quarters (77.4%) by value for all products imported into Canada during 2017.

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 August 8, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on August 8, 2018