Canada’s Top Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

by Flagpictures.org

Nicknamed the Great White North, the Dominion of Canada shares its busy and extensive southern land border with its largest trading partner–the United States of America.

Canada shipped US$420.6 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 2.6% of overall global exported goods estimated at $15.952 trillion.

From a continental perspective, 77.4% of Canadian exports (by value) were delivered to its 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.

Canada’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Canada’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Canadian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Canadian exports.

  1. United States: US$319.6 billion (76% of total Canadian exports)
  2. China: $18.2 billion (4.3%)
  3. United Kingdom: $13.6 billion (3.2%)
  4. Japan: $9.1 billion (2.2%)
  5. Mexico: $6 billion (1.4%)
  6. South Korea: $4 billion (1%)
  7. India: $3.2 billion (0.8%)
  8. Germany: $3.2 billion (0.8%)
  9. France: $2.6 billion (0.6%)
  10. Belgium: $2.6 billion (0.6%)
  11. Netherlands: $2.4 billion (0.6%)
  12. Italy: $1.8 billion (0.4%)
  13. Hong Kong: $1.7 billion (0.4%)
  14. Australia: $1.5 billion (0.4%)
  15. Switzerland: $1.5 billion (0.4%)

Over nine-tenths (93%) of Canadian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Fourteen of these top trade partners increased their purchases from Canada year over year: Switzerland (up 56.6%), South Korea (up 20.6%), China (up 14.9%) and the Netherlands (up 12.5%).

The value of Canada’s shipments to its largest customer, the United States, expanded by 7.7% from 2016 to 2017.

There only one decliner among the leading customers for Canadian exports, a modest -1.9% decrease for Hong Kong importers.

Deficits

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 defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Canada incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$36.5 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Mexico: -$21.3 billion
  3. Germany: -$10.6 billion
  4. Italy: -$4.5 billion
  5. Japan: -$4.4 billion
  6. Vietnam: -$3.1 billion
  7. Taiwan: -$2.9 billion
  8. South Korea: -$2.7 billion
  9. Brazil: -$2.3 billion
  10. France: -$2.1 billion

Among Canada’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Canadian deficits with Brazil (up 68.5%), Italy (up 14.8%) and Japan (up 13.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Canada’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Canada to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Canada incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. United States: US$97.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. United Kingdom: $6.8 billion
  3. Hong Kong: $1.4 billion
  4. United Arab Emirates: $1.1 billion
  5. Botswana: $373.8 million
  6. Latvia: $360.4 million
  7. Singapore: $269.8 million
  8. Pakistan: $261.2 million
  9. Bulgaria: $176.9 million
  10. Bahamas: $157.5 million

Among Canada’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Canadian surpluses with Latvia (up 154.6%), Bahamas (up 93.6%) and Bulgaria (up 23%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Canada’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Canada to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Canadian Trading Partners

Fifty-seven Canadian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Canadian companies that Forbes included:

  • Agrium (specialized chemicals)
  • Canadian Natural Resources (oil, gas)
  • Enbridge (oil services, equipment)
  • Husky Energy (oil, gas)
  • Magna International (auto parts, accessories)
  • Potash of Saskatchewan (specialized chemicals)
  • Suncor Energy (oil, gas)
  • Teck Resources (diversified metals)

According to Canadian Exports online directory, the following are examples of smaller entrepreneurial companies that ship products from Canada to its trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis is the product category that the Canadian business specializes in.

  • A.S. Chemical Laboratories Inc. (pharmaceuticals)
  • Aerospace Metal Finishing Inc. (plated surface finishes)
  • Centennial Solar (solar panels)
  • C-I-L Explosives (specialty explosives)
  • Ciment Quebec Inc. (cement)
  • Control Skateboards (customized skateboards)
  • Cormer Group Industries Inc. (aircraft components)
  • Hi-Pro Feeds (animal nutrition products)
  • International Play Company (indoor/outdoor play structures)
  • Lafleur Industries Inc. (truck chassis, parts)
  • Netchem Inc. (specialized chemicals)
  • Seven Star Sports (designer safety helmets)


 
See also Canada’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Canadian Import Products, Highest Value Canadian Export Products and Top Canadian Trade Balances

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 12, 2018

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

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on November 3, 2015

Canadian Exports online directory, Export Promotion Tool. Accessed on November 3, 2015

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 12, 2018