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Last Published: 11/21/2017

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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. The United States and Canada share a $1.3 trillion bilateral trade and investment relationship: two-way trade in goods and services totaled nearly $635 billion in 2016, and bilateral investment stock reached nearly $698 billion.  U.S. exports to Canada were $321 billion in 2016, or 15 percent of total U.S. exports. Over thirty U.S. states rank Canada as their number one export market. In 2016, 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.
 
Growth in the U.S. economy translates into growth in Canada: 19 percent of Canada’s GDP results from sales of goods exported into the United States. For example, per Business Insider, Canada exports more goods to the State of Michigan than it does to all European Union member countries.  Twenty-three U.S. states name Canada as their number one source of imports.

Approximately 380,000 people cross between the countries every day by all modes of transport.  American travelers made 12.5 million trips to Canada in 2015, spending nearly $7 billion.  Canada is the largest foreign supplier of oil, natural gas, and electricity for the United States. In 2016, more than 40 percent of the United States’ crude oil imports came from Canada. Education remains a top service export sector in the bilateral trade relationship: 27,000 Canadian students attended U.S. schools in the 2015-16 academic year, and more than 12,000 American students studied in Canada in 2015.  

Principal U.S. exports to Canada in 2016 were (listing value and percentage of total exports): vehicles ($47.6 billion/18.1%); nuclear reactors, boilers, and machinery ($42.8 billion/15%); electric machinery ($24.8/9%); mineral fuel and oil ($21.3/5.8%); and plastics ($12.6 billion/4.6%).

The United States is Canada’s primary source of foreign direct investment (FDI), with investment stock from the United States totaling $352 billion in 2015. Canadian FDI in the United States was $341 billion in 2015, making Canada the United States’ third-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 2014, U.S. affiliates of majority Canadian-owned firms employed than 621,400 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.

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, facilitating business communication.

In fields ranging from security and law enforcement to environmental protection to free trade, the two countries work closely together on multiple levels, from federal to local. Close geographic proximity and initiatives between our governments such as Beyond the Border, Regulatory Cooperation Council, and Trusted Traveler programs make cross-border business increasingly seamless.

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