Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 12/14/2018

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The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship that supports millions of jobs in each country, and constitutes a $1.4 trillion bilateral trade and investment relationship.  Two-way trade in goods and services totaled nearly $680 billion in 2017, and bilateral investment stock reached nearly $817 billion.  U.S. exports to Canada were $341 billion in 2017, or 15 percent of total U.S. exports. Over 30 U.S. states rank Canada as their number one export market. In 2017, U.S. exports to Canada exceeded total U.S. exports to China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore combined. Whether your company is a first-time or seasoned exporter, Canada should be a key component of your company’s export growth strategy.  Just as Canada is a priority marked for the United States, the U.S. market is of great significance to the Canadian economy.  Approximately 75 percent of Canada’s exports are imported by the United States, and 23 U.S. states name Canada as their number one source of imports.  Additionally, nearly 19 percent of Canada’s GDP results from sales of goods exported into the United States.  

In 2017, U.S. exports of goods to Canada totaled $282 billion.  Principal U.S. exports of goods to Canada in 2017 were: vehicles ($47.6 billion); nuclear reactors, boilers, and machinery ($42.7 billion); electric machinery ($24.8); mineral fuel and oil ($21.3); and plastics ($16.6 billion).  U.S. exports of agricultural products to Canada totaled $20.5 billion in 2017, our largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: prepared food ($1.9 billion), fresh vegetables ($1.9 billion), fresh fruit ($1.6 billion), snack foods NESOI (Not Elswhere Specified or Included) ($1.3 billion), and non-alcoholic bev. (ex. juices) ($1.1 billion).

U.S. exports of services to Canada were valued at $58.7 billion in 2017, 8.8 percent ($4.8 billion) more than 2016, and 37.6 percent greater than 2007 levels.  Leading services exports from the United States to Canada were in the travel, intellectual property (computer software, audio visual), and professional and management services sectors.  For travel, approximately 380,000 people cross between the countries every day by all modes of transport.  American travelers made 14 million trips to Canada in 2016, spending nearly $9 billion, and Canadian travelers made 19.3 million trips to the United States, spending nearly $19.1 billion.  In fact, the United States is the top international tourism destination for Canadian travelers.  In addition to travel and tourism, education remains a top service export sector in the bilateral trade relationship: 27,000 Canadian students attended U.S. schools in the 2016-17 academic year, and almost 12,000 American students studied in Canada in 2015-16.
In most industry sectors, Canada is a highly receptive, open, and transparent market for U.S. products and services, with Canadians spending more than 60 percent of their disposable income on U.S. goods and services. The nations share a similar lifestyle, engendering a certain level of cultural familiarity; Americans and Canadians “speak” the same language, literally and figuratively. Canada’s two official languages are English and French; however, English is almost universally spoken. 

Investment also plays a significant role in the bilateral relationship.  The United States is Canada’s primary source of foreign direct investment (FDI), with investment stock from the United States totaling $364 billion in 2016. Canadian FDI in the United States was nearly $454 billion in 2016, making Canada the United States’ second-largest source of FDI. Canadian investments in U.S. industrial sectors are predominantly found in information technology, financial services, professional services, industrial machinery, transportation, and food/tobacco. As of 2015, U.S. affiliates of majority Canadian-owned firms employed 636,100 U.S. workers, spent more than $500 million in research and development at U.S. organizations and universities, and contributed more than $12.8 billion toward total value of goods exported by the United States. 

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Canada Trade Development and Promotion