That dollar amount represents a 27.8% increase from $34.2 billion five years earlier in 2017.
Year over year, the overall value of British Columbia’s export sales accelerated by 44.9% compared to $30.2 billion for 2020.
British Columbia ranks as Canada’s fourth-most lucrative exporter by province or territory behind leading provinces Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. The value of British Columbia’s exports equals 8.7% of Canada’s overall exported products for 2021, up from 7.8% in 2020.
Based on statistics from the website Statista which we converted to American currency, British Columbia’s exported products represent 20.9% of the province’s total economic output or Gross Domestic Product ($262.2 billion for 2021). Currency used for this calculation started from chained 2012 Canadian dollars.
Given British Columbia’s population of 5 million people, its total $43.7 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $8,750 for every resident in Canada’s western-most coastal province. That dollar metric is much higher than the average $5,850 one year earlier in 2020.
British Columbia’s unemployment rate was 4.3% in September 2022, down from the province’s long-term average of 8.17% per YCharts.
British Columbia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value for British Columbia’s global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from British Columbia.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Coniferous lumber (sawn, chipped, sliced, peeled): US$7.1 billion (16.1% of B.C.’s exports)
- Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous) $5.7 billion (13%)
- Natural gas (gaseous state): $3.6 billion (8.1%)
- Copper ores and concentrates: $3.4 billion (7.7%)
- Chemical woodpulp (coniferous): $2.1 billion (4.8%)
- Crude petroleum oils: $1.1 billion (2.5%)
- Electrical energy: $806.9 million (1.8%)
- Liquified propane: $739 million (1.7%)
- Oriented wood strand board: $504.6 million (1.2%)
- Gold (unwrought): $461.6 million (1.1%)
- Unalloyed unwrought zinc (99.99% or more zinc): $442.3 million (1%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations $423.8 million (1%)
- Unalloyed unwrought aluminum: $376.8 million (0.9%)
- Fresh or chilled salmon excluding fillets: $368.2 million (0.8%)
- Unalloyed unwrought zinc (under 99.99% zinc): $357.6 million (0.8%)
British Columbia’s top 15 exports approached two-thirds (62.6%) of the overall value of the province’s global shipments.
Liquified propane represents the fastest grower among British Columbia’s top 15 export products, up by 274.9% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place were B.C.’s export sales of unwrought gold (up 124% from 2020), trailed by crude petroleum oils (up 89.9%), natural gas in gaseous state (up 87.1%), non-agglomerated bituminous coal (up 86.5%), oriented wood strand board (up 82.1%) then electrical energy exports (up 80.7%).
The most modest gainer among British Columbia’s most valuable export products was non-agglomerated coal due to its 10.6% advance year over year.
More Key Facts about British Columbia’s International Trade
British Columbia incurred an -$8.424 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2021. That dollar amount reflects a -11.4% annual reduction from -$9.512 billion in red ink for 2020.
Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a province’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same province’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Below are British Columbia’s top 10 import products highlighting the province’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2021.
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): US$1.1 billion (2.1% of British Columbia’s imports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $876.2 million (1.7%)
- Zinc ores and concentrates: $698.9 million (1.3%)
- Small portable computing devices: $616.2 million (1.2%)
- Electric vehicles: $578.6 million (1.1%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $486.7 million (0.9%)
- Color TV reception equipment: $450.9 million (0.9%)
- Silver (unwrought): $400.1 million (0.8%)
- Wheeled toys (tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, carriages): $398.9 million (0.8%)
- Derricks/cranes parts, attachments: $380 million (0.7%)
British Columbia has negative net exports in the international trade of mid-sized automobiles powered by piston engine, miscellaneous petroleum oils and computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate British Columbia’s competitive disadvantages under related product categories.
British Columbia’s Major Trade Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased 92.5% worth of the total value of products exported from the province of British Columbia during 2021.
- United States: US$23.9 billion (54.5% of B.C.’s exports)
- China: $7.2 billion (16.5%)
- Japan: $3.9 billion (8.9%)
- South Korea: $2.3 billion (5.4%)
- Taiwan: $953.2 million (2.2%)
- India: $611.7 million (1.4%)
- Philippines: $447.6 million (1%)
- Switzerland: $390.6 million (0.9%)
- Germany: $383.9 million (0.9%)
- United Kingdom: $339.4 million (0.8%)
British Columbia’s top trade partners in North America (mainly United States and, to a much lesser extent, Mexico) bought 54.7% of the overall value of goods exported from B.C.
In comparison, B.C.’s leading importers in Asia (mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India and the Philippines) accounted for 35.4% of the province’s total export sales in 2021.
British Columbian Export Companies
Below are some of Canada’s largest businesses that are involved in international trade either directly or indirectly. Their corporate headquarters are in the province of British Columbia.
- Goldcorp (mining)
- Lululemon Athletica (clothing)
- Teck Resources (mining)
- Telus (telecommunications)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business manages.
British Columbia’s capital is Victoria, nicknamed “The Garden City” and is associated with the motto “Forever free”. Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
See also Canada’s Top 10 Exports, Alberta’s Top Exports, and Ontario’s Top Exports
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