Canada shipped US$503.4 billion worth of products around the globe in 2021. That dollar amount reflects a 19.5% gain since 2017 and a 29.1% increase from 2020 to 2021.
Canadian exports represent about 2.9% of the value for the world’s total exported goods as calculated for 2020.
Importers in Russia spent $526.2 million on Canada’s exports accounting for 0.1% of overall Canadian international product sales for 2021. In comparison, Ukraine received $175.7 million worth of products shipped from Canada or 0.03% of the value of Canada’s global exports.
Applying 2020 continental data, 74.6% of Canada’s exports by value were delivered to fellow North American countries while 12.3% were sold to Asian importers. Canada shipped another 10.1% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.4%), Africa (1%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.5%).
Canada’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Canada’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Canadian shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Canadian exports.
- United States of America: US$380.4 billion (75.6% of total Canadian exports)
- China: $23 billion (4.6%)
- United Kingdom: $12.9 billion (2.6%)
- Japan: $11.5 billion (2.3%)
- Mexico: $6.5 billion (1.3%)
- Germany: $5.5 billion (1.1%)
- Korea, Republic of: $4.5 billion (0.9%)
- Netherlands: $3.8 billion (0.8%)
- France: $3.2 billion (0.6%)
- Belgium: $3 billion (0.6%)
- Hong Kong, China: $2.8 billion (0.6%)
- Norway: $2.5 billion (0.5%)
- Switzerland: $2.41 billion (0.5%)
- India: $2.35 billion (0.5%)
- Italy: $2.1 billion (0.4%)
Over nine-tenths (92.7%) of Canadian exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Leading increases among Canada’s top trade partners belong to Hong Kong (up 99.4%), Switzerland (up 79.9%), Belgium (up 57.3%). Mexico (up 42.7%), United States of America (up 32.8%) then Norway (up 31%).
Year over year, there were 4 decliners in terms of consuming Canadian exports namely Italy (down -24.6%), India (down -14.1%), United Kingdom (down -13.1%) and the Netherlands (down -5.6%).
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.
- China: -US$45.3 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Mexico: -$20.1 billion
- Germany: -$9.7 billion
- Vietnam: -$7.3 billion
- Italy: -$6.3 billion
- Taiwan: -$4.3 billion
- Brazil: -$4.2 billion
- South Korea: -$3.6 billion
- Thailand: -$2.6 billion
- France: -$2.44 billion
Among Canada’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Canadian deficits with Italy (up 58.5%), Taiwan (up 49%), Vietnam (up 32.4%), Thailand (up 49%) and Brazil (up 26%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Canada generated a $14.5 billion trade surplus for 2021, reversing a -$14.4 billion deficit one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- United States: US$142.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- United Kingdom: $6.6 billion
- Hong Kong: $2.5 billion
- Norway: $1.7 billion
- United Arab Emirates: $1.1 billion
- Algeria: $814.7 million
- Netherlands: $706 million
- Malta: $498.4 million
- Iran: $295.6 million
- Bahamas: $275.8 million
Among Canada’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Canadian surpluses with Malta (up 177.9%), Bahamas (up 157.4%) and Hong Kong (up 150.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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 Servicing Canadian Trading Partners
Almost 60 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, Canada’s Top 10 Exports, Top Canadian Trade Balances and Canada’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 4, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 4, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 4, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 4, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 4, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on March 4, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 4, 2022