flag Canada Canada: Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards


Foreign Trade in Figures

Canada is a country open to foreign trade, which represents 67% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Product-wise, Canada’s main exports are energy products (27.2%), consumer goods (11.4%), metal and non-metallic mineral products (11%), motor vehicles and parts (10.4%), forestry products and building and packaging materials (7.5%). The country imports mainly consumer goods (20.6%), motor vehicles and parts (15.2%), electronic and electrical equipment and parts (11.2%), industrial machinery, equipment and parts (11.2%), basic and industrial chemical, plastic and rubber products (8.9% - data Statistics Canada 2022).

The main destinations for Canada’s exports in 2022 were the U.S. (by far the leading partner, accounting for 76.9% of total exports), China (3.7%), the United Kingdom (2.4%), and Japan (2.3%). Similarly, almost half of Canada’s imports had a U.S. origin (49.2%), followed by China (13.5%), Mexico (5.5%), Germany (3%) and Japan (2.3%). In 2022, shipments to the United States reached a record-breaking CAD 595 billion, marking a substantial 24.8% increase. This surge was primarily driven by the upswing in energy exports, which experienced a notable boost in 2022 owing to robust prices. Given the geographical closeness and the comprehensive interconnection of transportation systems (pipelines and railways) handling these products between Canada and the United States, close to 90% of Canadian energy exports were directed towards the U.S. (Statistics Canada). Imports from the United States were up 20% to CAD 471 billion in 2022.

During 2022, the worth of Canada's yearly merchandise exports grew by 22.5%, reaching CAD 779.2 billion, and annual imports saw a 19.9% increase, totalling CAD 757.4 billion. Consequently, Canada's merchandise trade surplus with the world expanded from CAD 4.6 billion in 2021 to 21.8 billion in 2022. More than half of the export increase was driven by the surge in exports of energy products. Trade with the U.S. and Mexico improved consistently, also due to the USMCA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, an updated version of NAFTA). In 2022, both the export and import of services in Canada witnessed growth, propelled by the recovery in international travel. Service exports amounted to CAD 173 billion, reflecting a 16.1% increase from 2021, whereas services imported into Canada reached CAD 189 billion, marking a 25% rise. After being in deficit since 2009, the World Bank estimated the country’s trade surplus at 0.1% of GDP in 2022. Lastly, it has to be noted that in recent years Canada benefited from the effects of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, which entered into force provisionally (it will take full effect once all EU Member States have formally ratified it) eliminating 98% of the tariffs.

Foreign Trade Values 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 462,993420,934506,053583,549570,419
Exports of Goods (million USD) 448,817390,821507,992599,032569,257
Imports of Services (million USD) 126,638104,752120,604145,199155,598
Exports of Services (million USD) 115,24298,529118,794132,768148,580

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO), Latest data available.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 66.666.261.661.967.3
Trade Balance (million USD) -16,838-14,168-29,9803,71117,183
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -33,733-25,538-36,830-8783,492
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.30.4-
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 3.82.7-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 34.333.831.931.033.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.332.429.730.933.7

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, Latest data available.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
United States 77.6%
China 4.0%
Japan 2.1%
United Kingdom 1.9%
Mexico 1.1%
See More Countries 13.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
United States 49.6%
China 11.8%
Mexico 6.1%
Germany 3.3%
Japan 2.7%
See More Countries 26.4%

Source: UN Comtrade Database, Latest data available.


Main Products

596.8 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 20.2%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.9%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 2.8%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 2.6%
See More Products 65.4%
571.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.5%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 2.9%
See More Products 81.3%

Source: UN Comtrade Database, Latest data available.


To go further, check out our service Import/Export flows.


Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Canadian dollar (CAD)
Exchange Rate Regime
The Bank of Canada controls and establishes the regulations concerning transfers of capital with foreign countries. There is free convertibility of currency, the right to transfer profits, capital, dividends, interest and fees.
Level of Currency Instability
The changes Canadian companies are facing are unprecedented. The meteoric rise in value of the Canadian dollar, the uncertainty of the world energy market, the tightening of credit, the slowing down of the American economy and the weakness of the whole of the manufacturing sector are all conditions which favor the instability of the Canadian dollar.
Exchange Rate on :

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Canadian dollar (CAD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 THB

Source: World Bank, Latest data available.


Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

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Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
International Economic Cooperation
Canada is a member of the following international economic organisations: North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), OECD, Organization of American States (OAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Commonwealth, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Canada click here. International organisation membership of Canada is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Canada can be consulted here.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Party of the TIR Convention
Canada still belongs to the TIR Convention, but the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not accept the TIR carnet as a cargo control document for import, movement in transit, and export of goods.

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Goods must be accompanied by the following documents:
- the Single Administrative Document (SAD)
- the commercial or Customs invoice (in 4 copies, in English or in French);
- a phytosanitary certificate ( for fruit, vegetables, seeds and other plants);
- a health certificate ( for meat);
- a certificate of non-radioactive contamination (for meat, fruit and vegetables)
- the transport documents and packing list.

For any shipment with a value over 1,600 CAD, you must provide:
- either a commercial invoice (it shows all the information on the Customs invoice)
- or a commercial invoice plus a Customs invoice
- or a Customs invoice (which must contain all the required information).

Shipments with a value under 1,600 CAD can clear Customs on presentation of the commercial invoice. The Canadian ten figure classification must be included on the invoice.

To go further, check out our service Shipping documents.

Free-trade zones
Canada does not have any specific free-trade zone. Under the USMCA, Canada operates as a free trade zone for products made in the United States.
For further information, consult the portal of the Canadian government.
According to Canada's legislation, a Free-Trade Zone Point refers to one of Canada’s strategic locations for international trade, where an organization with a mandate to promote local trade and foreign direct investment is  uniquely supported by a single-point of access to information on relevant government policies and programs. The main FTZPs are located in Winnipeg (Manitoba), Calgary (Calgary Region Inland Port; Port Albert, Edmonton region), Halifax, (Nova Scotia, since July 2015), and Regina (Global Transportation Hub, Saskatchewan, since August 2015).
For Further Information
Canada Border Services Agency
Global Affairs Canada
Non Tariff Barriers
The Canada Customs Act which regulates the Canadian import system, corresponds to a free trade model in which most imports do not require an authorisation. However, tariff quotas may be applied, especially for wheat, barley, beef and cheese. To be granted this quota one must request a General Import Permit, for which you must produce a pro forma invoice from the Export and Import Controls Bureau of the Ministry of Global Affairs.

Canada uses supply management systems - which involve production quotas, producer marketing boards to regulate price and supply, and border protection achieved through tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) - to regulate its dairy, chicken, turkey and egg industries. Alcoholic beverages are subject to interprovincial shipping restrictions, and are regulated differently in each province, for example through sales quotas, requirements for in-province agents and specific labelling. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) imposes quotas that determine both the minimum Canadian programming expenditure (CPE) and the minimum amount of Canadian programming that licensed Canadian broadcasters must carry (Exhibition Quota).

Some goods are prohibited, especially importing second hand motorised vehicles, except for vehicles coming from the USA (the rules are becoming more flexible for Mexico), as well as weapons, munitions, nuclear materials and goods of a similar nature. Health Canada restricts the marketing of breakfast cereals and other products, such as orange juice, that are fortified with vitamins and/or minerals at certain levels. Processed Products Regulations prescribe standard container sizes for a wide range of processed fruit and vegetable products.

The rules of origin allowing reduction of duties, especially for textiles, have been draconian since the agreements within the CUSMA. These rules are considerably favourable to products which have proof of their origin in the USA.

Moreover, Canada is one of the biggest users of anti-dumping measures, with more than 85 products concerned (SIMA, Special Import Measures Act). These measures affect 35 countries or Customs areas (including the EU, for example). More than 50% of the products concerned are metallurgical.

For further information about import regulations and procedures in Canada, please consult the article Importing Goods into Canada produced by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Agricultural products: cereals, salmon, meat, pork, grain, syrup, wheat, seal, lumber.
Biotechnologies, Aeronautics, Asbestos, Pharmaceutical products, Automobile parts.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Country’s commercial policy, as seen by the WTO.
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

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National Standards Organisations
The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) 
Canadian Standards Association
Bureau de Normalisation du Québec (BNQ)
Integration in the International Standards Network
Member of ISO, 381 sectors, products.
Member of IEC.
Member of the International Communication Union
Obligation to Use Standards
Some standards are mandatory such as those for fertilizers, others are voluntary and depend on the manufacturers' desire to commit themselves to observing them, as is the case, for example, for vehicles.
Classification of Standards
CSA marking
UL marking
Assessment of the System of Standardization
Canadians are more and more aware of standards, especially standards which concern their safety and their food. Most consumers are well informed and ensure that the products they buy or consume meet Canadian standards.
Online Consultation of Standards
Standards Store of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC)
CSA bookstore
ISO Catalog
Certification Organisations
Canadian General Standards Board
Canadian Standards Association

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Latest Update: June 2024