Canada’s Top 10 Exports

Canada's Top 10 Exports


The North American nation nicknamed the Great White North, Canada exported a total US$420.6 billion worth of products in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -7.9% drop since 2013 but a 8.1% gain from 2016 to 2017.

From January to September 2018, Canada’s exported goods were valued at $338.7 billion. This 9-month metric puts Canadian exports on track for an annualized $449.8 billion estimated for all 2018 and a projected 6.9% year-over-year gain.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Canada’s exported goods plus services represent 31.4% of total Canadian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 77.4% of Canadian exports by value were delivered to its old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, United States and Mexico. Asian importers purchased 11.5% worth followed by buyers in Europe at 8.5%. Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean consumed 1.3% of Canada’s total exports while just 0.7% of Canadian shipments were destined for Africa.

Given Canada’s population of 35.6 million people, its total $420.6 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $11,800 for every resident in that country.

Canada’s unemployment rate was 5.6% as of November 2018 — an improvement from the 5.8% jobless rate as reported by Trading Economics 12 months earlier.

Canada’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Canadian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Canada.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$84.6 billion (20.1% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $62.3 billion (14.8%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $32.4 billion (7.7%)
  4. Gems, precious metals: $18.6 billion (4.4%)
  5. Wood: $14.1 billion (3.3%)
  6. Electrical machinery, equipment: $13 billion (3.1%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: $12.6 billion (3%)
  8. Aluminum: $9.8 billion (2.3%)
  9. Aircraft, spacecraft: $9.7 billion (2.3%)
  10. Oil seeds: $7.9 billion (1.9%)

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Canada’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

Canada’s top 10 exports accounted for nearly two-thirds (63%) of the overall value of Canadian global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-grower among Canada’s top 10 export categories, up 35.8% from 2016 to 2017 propelled by improved sales of both crude and refined petroleum oils as well as petroleum gas.

In second place for improving export sales was aluminum which gained 21.4%.

The oil seeds category posted the third-fastest gain up 9.5% year over year.

Two top categories retreated, namely vehicles (down -3.1%) and aircraft or spacecraft (down -5.8%).


The following types of Canadian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$54.9 billion (Up by 48.5% since 2016)
  2. Wood: $11.1 billion (Up by 8.2%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: $8.8 billion (Up by 24.1%)
  4. Oil seeds: $6.9 billion (Up by 9.5%)
  5. Woodpulp: $6 billion (Up by 10.5%)
  6. Aluminum: $5.9 billion (Up by 31.7%)
  7. Cereals: $5.6 billion (Up by 12.9%)
  8. Ores, slag, ash: $3.8 billion (Up by 10.3%)
  9. Fertilizers: $3.3 billion (Up by 5.3%)
  10. Meat: $3 billion (Up by 11.7%)

Canada has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil and petroleum gases. The positive cashflows indicate Canada’s strong competitive advantages in raw resources segments of the energy market.


Overall Canada incurred a -$11.8 billion trade deficit for 2017, down by -15.3% from the -$13.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.

As of June 2018, Canada’s trade deficit stood at -$6.5 billion up 287.4% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Below are exports from Canada that are negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Canada’s goods trail Canadian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$30.9 billion (Down by -2.9% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$29.8 billion (Up by 10.4%)
  3. Vehicles: -$12 billion (Up by 273.9%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.6 billion (Down by -2.5%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: -$5.4 billion (Up by 79.3%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: -$4.8 billion (Up by 20.0%)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$4.4 billion (Up by 7.5%)
  8. Fruits, nuts: -$4.1 billion (Up by 3.9%)
  9. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$4.0 billion (Up by 5.7%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$3.6 billion (Up by 1.4%)

Canada has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for computer data processing machines spanning myriad types and sizes. The machinery including computer category also includes bulldozers and similar heavy construction equipment.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Canada’s competitive disadvantages in the international machinery market including computer-related goods, but also represent key opportunities for Canada to improve its position in the global economy through targeted innovations.


Canadian Export Companies

Wikipedia lists many of the larger international trade players from Canada:

  • Barrick Gold (diversified metals, mining)
  • Bombardier Inc. (aerospace, transit vehicles)
  • Cameco (uranium)
  • Canadian Natural Resources (oil, gas)
  • Encana (oil, gas)
  • Magna International (automotive parts)
  • Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (specialized chemicals)
  • Saputo (dairy products)
  • Suncor Energy (oil, gas)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of leading Canadian exporters:

  • Interex Forest Products (wood, strand board)
  • West Fraser Mills (wood, chemical woodpulp)
  • Weyerhaeuser (wood, chemical woodpulp)


Searchable List of Canada’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Canada’s top export products are crude oil followed by cars then gold.

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

RankCanadian Export Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Crude oil$54.1 billion+36.8%
2Cars$46.5 billion-4.7%
3Gold (unwrought)$13.2 billion+6.1%
4Processed petroleum oils$11.3 billion+39.2%
5Automobile parts/accessories$10.5 billion-0.8%
6Petroleum gases$10.3 billion+32.1%
7Sawn wood$8.3 billion+7.1%
8Aluminum (unwrought)$6.3 billion+25.7%
9Turbo-jets$5.9 billion+13.3%
10Aircraft, spacecraft$5.8 billion-5.9%
11Coal, solid fuels made from coal$5.2 billion+54%
12Medication mixes in dosage$5.1 billion-30.1%
13Wheat$5.1 billion+12.6%
14Rape/colza seeds$5.1 billion+18.1%
15Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$4.4 billion+9.3%
16Ethylene polymers$4 billion-3.9%
17Potassic fertilizers$3.9 billion+10.6%
18Iron ores, concentrates$3.5 billion+21.8%
19Aircraft parts$3.1 billion-5.5%
20Miscellaneous furniture$2.8 billion+2.3%
21Crustaceans (including lobsters)$2.8 billion+16.2%
22Copper ores, concentrates$2.8 billion+1.7%
23Dried shelled vegetables$2.7 billion-14.6%
24Rape/colza/mustard oil$2.6 billion+11.9%
25Swine meat$2.5 billion+5.8%
26Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$2.4 billion+9.2%
27Electrical energy$2.3 billion+6.8%
28Piston engines$2.3 billion-11.1%
29Trucks$2.3 billion+15%
30Soya beans$1.9 billion+1.3%
31Phone system devices $1.9 billion-7.4%
32Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$1.9 billion+14.6%
33Particle board, other ligneous materials$1.8 billion+14.2%
34Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$1.8 billion+0.6%
35Machinery parts$1.7 billion+14.6%
36Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1.7 billion-3.2%
37New pneumatic rubber tires$1.7 billion-2.2%
38Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$1.5 billion-8.1%
39Liquid pumps and elevators$1.5 billion+11.5%
40Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$1.5 billion+0.7%
41Computers, optical readers$1.5 billion+9.8%
42Iron or steel scrap$1.5 billion+56.2%
43Nickel (unwrought)$1.4 billion-3.7%
44Refined copper, unwrought alloys$1.4 billion+29.5%
45Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.4 billion+7.5%
46Zinc (unwrought)$1.3 billion+16.3%
47Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$1.3 billion+3.5%
48Miscellaneous machinery$1.3 billion+19.9%
49Fresh or chilled beef$1.3 billion+7.8%
50Acyclic alcohols$1.3 billion+24.5%
51Uncoated paper for writing/printing$1.3 billion-3.6%
52Moulding boxes/bases/patterns$1.3 billion+18%
53Miscellaneous plastic items$1.2 billion+15.6%
54Radioactive chemical elements$1.2 billion-19.8%
55Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$1.2 billion+4.8%
56Miscellaneous oil cakes$1.2 billion+3.4%
57Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$1.1 billion+0.6%
58Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1.1 billion+3.2%
59Other measuring/testing machines$1.1 billion+15.8%
60Silver (unwrought)$1.1 billion-33.3%
61Semi-chemical woodpulp$1.1 billion+27.3%
62Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$1.1 billion+3.9%
63Piston engine parts$1.1 billion-0.5%
64TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$1.1 billion+7.4%
65Nickel matte, oxide sinters$1 billion-21.2%
66Taps, valves, similar appliances$1 billion+0.8%
67Other prepared/preserved vegetables (frozen)$1 billion+7.8%
68Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$995.5 million+9.6%
69Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$994.6 million+20.7%
70Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$992.1 million+9.8%
71Other food preparations$990.8 million+12.9%
72Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$984.9 million+25.6%
73Lifting/loading machinery$982 million+12.6%
74Electrical converters/power units$944 million+4.4%
75Integrated circuits/microassemblies$943.2 million-3.3%
76Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$925.2 million+4.4%
77Rubber/plastic article making machines$917.5 million-2.7%
78Base metal mountings, fittings$891 million+4.2%
79Live bovine cattle$883 million-19.1%
80Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$861.5 million+10.1%
81Paper containers, cellulose wadding$860.2 million+4.9%
82Petroleum oil residues$848.6 million+43.3%
83Temperature-change machines$843.4 million+4.7%
84Precious metal waste, scrap$831.4 million+18.1%
85Aluminum waste, scrap$815.5 million+22.7%
86Insulated wire/cable$811.3 million+13.2%
87Cyclic hydrocarbons$800.3 million+44.8%
88Whole fish (fresh)$798.2 million-6%
89Copper wire$787.7 million+21.2%
90Fork-lift trucks$787 million+31%
91Blood fractions (including antisera)$777.8 million+19.6%
92Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$756.6 million+6.9%
93Miscellaneous iron or steel items$743.7 million+6.1%
94Regulate/control instruments$742.6 million+11.8%
95Copper waste, scrap$740.5 million+63.9%
96Electrical machinery$722.2 million-6.6%
97Rough wood$719.3 million+5.9%
98Aircraft launch gear, ground fly trainer$715.4 million-4%
99Acyclic hydrocarbons$684.1 million+5.8%
100Armored vehicles, tanks$660.3 million+25.5%
101Public-transport vehicles$654.7 million+17.5%
102Uncoated kraft paper$652.4 million+11.7%
103Structures including bridges$642.2 million+16.6%
104Coffee$617.8 million+11.6%
105Lead (unwrought)$612.9 million+13.8%
106Physical/chemical analysis tools$607.1 million+10%
107Uncoated paper$589.7 million+32.2%
108Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$587.2 million-10.8%
109Air or vacuum pumps$574.9 million+20%
110Coated paper$565.1 million-5.9%
111Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$557.7 million+1.7%
112Vulcanized soft rubber items$554.9 million-3.4%
113Computer parts, accessories$551.9 million-13.2%
114Miscellaneous engines, motors$550.4 million+31.6%
115Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$541.5 million+4.6%
116Plastic builders' items$538.8 million+5%
117Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$528.2 million+1.2%
118Diagnostic/laboratory reagents$528 million+14.8%
119Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$519.1 million+7.5%
120Radar, radio communication items$518.1 million+4%
121Nitrogenous fertilizers$516.2 million-16.9%
122Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$511.3 million-3.8%
123Chemical industry products/residuals$500.9 million-3.4%
124TV/radio/radar device parts$498.4 million-0.3%
125 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $496.4 million+10.7%
126Cellulose fiber paper$493.3 million+7.5%
127Aluminum wire$488.2 million+16.2%
128Ammonia$478 million-25.4%
129Interchangeable hand/machine tools$475 million+8.5%
130Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$472.9 million-8.4%
131Air conditioners$471.3 million-2.1%
132Agricultural/horticultural machinery$466.9 million+0.3%
133Trailers$463.1 million+8.9%
134Aluminum bars/rods$459.5 million+34.6%
135Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$452.5 million+22.9%
136Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$445.2 million+23.9%
137Hydraulic cements$444.7 million+20.6%
138Survey/hydro/weather instruments$444.1 million+4.6%
139Screws, bolts, nuts, hooks, pins$441.8 million+8.9%
140Miscellaneous preserved fruits$439.4 million+9.7%
141Cobalt$436.8 million+92.9%
142Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$432.6 million+22%
143Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$427.6 million+1.4%
144Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$425.7 million-4.1%
145Metal-containing ash, residues$424.4 million+12.9%
146Alloy steel bars, rods$424 million+26.1%
147Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$423.7 million+2.4%
148Red meat offal$422 million+11.9%
149Harvest/threshing machinery$420.6 million+6.6%
150Fresh/chilled tomatoes$414.7 million+11.2%
151Printed matter including photos$411.1 million-4.7%
152Barley$408 million+39.1%
153Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)$398.9 million+10.3%
154Tractors$398.4 million+9.6%
155Printing machinery$396.2 million-5.2%
156Other coloring matter, luminophores$393.5 million+16.2%
157Solid-form sugars, fructose, glucose, lactose$386.4 million-2.4%
158Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust$382.6 million-5%
159Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$381.6 million-12.4%
160Malt$373.8 million+3.2%
161Soil cultivation machinery$364.1 million+29.1%
162Lower-voltage switches, fuses$363.6 million+1.2%
163Live swine$358.6 million+8.7%
164Laminated wood including plywood$358.1 million+9.3%
165Peat$357 million+3.8%
166Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$356.6 million+4.4%
167Hair preparations$353.8 million+1.8%
168Sort/screen/washing machinery$353.2 million-0.5%
169Moluscs$351.3 million+7%
170Paper/paperboard waste, scrap$348.5 million+15.8%
171Prepared/preserved meat$348.2 million+7.4%
172Miscellaneous wooden articles$343.1 million-3.7%
173Electric motors, generators$341.9 million+4.1%
174Refrigerators, freezers$340.9 million+14%
175Ball, roller bearings$340.6 million+5.1%
176TV receivers/monitors/projectors$339.9 million+9.2%
177Frozen beef$337.1 million+15.5%
178Iron ferroalloys$336.2 million+7.5%
179Fish fillets, pieces$336.1 million+1.8%
180Oats$330.4 million-8.1%
181Automobile bodies$329.4 million-2.5%
182Metal soldering/hot-spray equipment$326.5 million+61.2%
183Monofilament$324.2 million+18.4%
184Chlorates, bromates, iodates$319 million-3.4%
185Navigational instruments like compasses$317.3 million-12.7%
186Physical exercise equipment$316.3 million-3.2%
187Soap, organics surface-active items$315.9 million-2.8%
188Whole fish (frozen)$315 million-0.9%
189Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$314 million-8.3%
190Fiberboard$313.5 million+3.5%
191Corn$310.7 million-6.9%
192Machine tool parts, accessories$308.3 million-0.065
193Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$298.2 million+2.4%
194Sauces, preparations, condiments$297 million+6.8%
195Veneer sheets, sheets for sawn wood$295.3 million+9.2%
196Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$294.8 million-0.9%
197Miscellaneous raw furskins$286 million-21.6%
198Concrete/artificial stone items$283.7 million+3.2%
199Special purpose vehicles$282.4 million+18.7%
200Unvulcanized compounded rubber$281.4 million+12%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$355.8 billion or 84.6% by value for all products exported from Canada during 2017.

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

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 30, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on December 31, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Canada. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on October 21, 2015