Quebec ranks as Canada’s third-biggest exporter by province or territory behind front-running provinces Ontario and Alberta. The value of Quebec’s exported goods equals 16.4% of Canada’s overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund, Quebec’s exported products represent 13.9% of the province’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2020. Currency used for this calculation was based on US dollars in terms of purchasing power parity in current prices. That percentage represents a decline from 18.8% in 2019.
Given Quebec’s population of 8.6 million people, its total $64.1 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $7,500 for every resident in the Eastern Canadian province.
Quebec’s unemployment rate was 6.1% as of July 2021, down from 8.1% at March 2020 per YCharts.
Quebec’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value for Quebec’s global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Quebec.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Large aircraft: US$3.4 billion (5.4% of Quebec’s total exports)
- Unalloyed unwrought aluminum: $3 billion (4.6%)
- Non-agglomerated iron ores, concentrates: $2.6 billion (4%)
- Alloyed unwrought aluminum: $1.7 billion (2.6%)
- Coniferous lumber (sawn, chipped, sliced, peeled): $1.2 billion (1.8%)
- Turbo-jets (high-thrust): $980.7 million (1.5%)
- Medium-size aircraft: $905 million (1.4%)
- Unwrought refined copper cathodes, cathode sections: $897.7 million (1.4%)
- Refined copper wire: $875.5 million (1.4%)
- Ground flying trainers, flight simulators: $854.5 million (1.3%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $802.6 million (1.3%)
- Iron ores excluding roasted iron pyrites: $715.5 million (1.1%)
- Frozen pork cuts (boneless): $656.6 million (1%)
- Turbo-jet/turbo-propeller parts: $630.7 million (1%)
- Medium-sized trucks (compression ignition): $617.3 million (1%)
Quebec’s top 15 exports accounted for 30.9% of the overall value of the province’s global shipments.
Coniferous lumber that is either sawn, chipped, sliced or peeled represents the fastest grower among Quebec’s top 15 export products, up by 35% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for Quebec’s improving export sales were non-agglomerated iron ores, concentrates which rose 33%. Quebec’s shipments of unalloyed unwrought aluminum posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 21.3% ahead of iron ores excluding roasted iron pyrites (up 15.5%).
The leading decliner among Quebec’s top 10 export products were miscellaneous petroleum oils via a -53.1% drop year over year.
More Key Facts
Overall, Quebec incurred a $7.1 billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 146.8% year-over-year increase from $2.9 billion in black ink for 2019.
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 Quebec’s top 10 import products highlighting the province’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Crude petroleum oils: US$2.3 billion (4.1% of Quebec’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $2 million (3.5%)
- Turbo-jet/turbo-propeller parts: $1.6 million (2.9%)
- Miscellaneous medications: $1.4 million (2.4%)
- Silver (unwrought): $1.2 million (2%)
- Aluminium oxides (excluding artificial corundum): $1.1 million (1.9%)
- Light petroleum oils: $925.9 million (1.6%)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $698.4 million (1.2%)
- Turbo-jets (high-thrust): $696.1 million (1.2%)
- Grape wines excluding sparkling varieties: $659.7 million (1.2%)
Quebec has positive net exports in the international trade of aircraft and aluminum. In turn, these cashflows indicate Quebec’s competitive advantages under related product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase 87.6% worth of the total value of products exported from the province of Quebec during 2020.
- United States: US$44.7 billion (69.8% of Quebec’s total exports)
- China: $3.6 billion (5.6%)
- Japan: $1.24 billion (1.9%)
- Netherlands: $1.23 billion (1.9%)
- Germany: $1.13 billion (1.8%)
- France: $1.11 billion (1.7%)
- Mexico: $10 billion (1.6%)
- United Kingdom: $947.3 million (1.5%)
- South Korea: $663.8 million (1%)
- Belgium: $518.4 million (0.8%)
Quebec’s top trade partners in North America (United States and Mexico) consume 71.3% of the overall value of exported goods from La Belle Province.
Quebec’s Export-Related 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 Quebec.
- Royal Bank of Canada (finance)
- Bank of Montreal (finance)
- Bell Canada (telecommunications)
- Canadian National Railway (transportation)
- National Bank of Canada (finance)
- Saputo Inc. (food processing)
- Bombardier Inc. (aerospace, defense)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business manages.
Quebec’s capital is Quebec City, nicknamed “la capitale nationale”. That moniker translates as “the national capital” in English.
See also Canada’s Top 10 Exports, Canada’s Top 10 Imports, and Top Canadian Trade Balances
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