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: 3/14/2022

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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 $1.6 trillion bilateral trade and investment relationship. Canada and the United States trade 1.9 billion in goods and services daily. Two-way trade in goods and services totaled more than $725 billion in 2018, and bilateral investment stock reached nearly $915 billion. U.S. exports to Canada were nearly $365 billion in 2018, or 15 percent of total U.S. exports. Over 30 U.S. states rank Canada as their number one export market. In 2018, 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 market for the United States, the U.S. market is of great significance to the Canadian economy.

In 2018, U.S. exports of goods to Canada totaled $298.7 billion, up 5.8 percent ($16.5 billion) from the previous year. The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 to Canada were: vehicles ($51 billion); machinery ($42 billion), electrical machinery ($25 billion), mineral fuels ($19 billion) and plastics ($13 billion).

U.S. exports of services to Canada were valued at $61.8 billion in 2018 (latest data available).  Sales of services in Canada by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $117.2 billion 2016 (latest data available). 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 2018, spending nearly $10 billion, and Canadian travelers made 21 million trips to the United States, spending nearly $22 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: 25,909 Canadian students attended U.S. schools in the 2017-18 academic year.

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 $391.2 (2017), a 6.8 percent increase from 2016. Canadian FDI in the United States was nearly $524 billion in 2017, making Canada the United States’ second-largest source of FDI. In 2016, U.S. affiliates of Canadian-owned firms employed 679,400 people, contributed over $1 billion innovative research and development and expanded U.S. exports by more than $14 billion.

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.