Canadian International Merchandise Trade: Annual Review, 2011
In 2011, Canada’s international merchandise trade experienced a second consecutive year of gains, following the large decrease recorded in 2009, bringing Canada’s total trade – exports and imports combined – within 2.0% of the record levels posted in 2008. Canada’s reliance on the United States as a trading partner continued to decline, as Asia and Europe gained further ground.
Canada’s exports totalled $457.6 billion in 2011, an increase of 13.0% from 2010, as prices rose 8.6%. Imports increased 10.3% from 2010 to $456.4 billion, mainly on the strength of volumes, which were up 8.3%.
Canada’s trade balance went from a deficit of $9.0 billion in 2010 to a surplus of $1.2 billion in 2011, marking Canada’s first annual trade surplus since 2008.
China and the United Kingdom’s share of exports increase
Export levels to the United States in 2011 were just below those recorded a decade earlier, while exports to the United Kingdom and China grew more than four-fold from 2002 to 2011. As a result, the share of exports to the United States has declined whereas the respective shares of exports to the United Kingdom and China have more than tripled.
Exports to the United States increased to $330.1 billion in 2011, up 10.4% from 2010. Gains were led by crude petroleum exports, which rose 32.3% to a record $68.4 billion. The United States accounted for 73.7% of total exports in 2011, down from 87.1% in 2002.
Exports to the United Kingdom increased 14.8% in 2011 to a record high of $18.8 billion. Precious metals and alloys, which represented over 60% of Canadian exports to the United Kingdom in 2011, led the gains.
Exports to China amounted to $16.8 billion, up 26.9% from 2010. Exports of iron ores and concentrates recorded the largest gains. Wood pulp and similar pulp remained the top export for a second consecutive year.
United States now accounts for less than half of total imports
Between 2002 and 2011, the share of goods imported from the United States declined from 62.6% to 49.5%. In contrast, China’s share of imports has shown the largest gains, increasing from 4.6% in 2002 to 10.8% in 2011.
The value of imports from the United States increased 8.6% from 2010 to $220.8 billion. Gains were led by imports of fuel oils, and other petroleum and coal products, both reaching record highs.
China remained Canada’s second-largest source of imports for the 10th consecutive year. Imports from China amounted to $48.2 billion in 2011, an 8.1% increase from 2010. Electronic computers and other telecommunications and related equipment, including cellular telephones, have driven the growth of imports from China over the past decade.
Mexico remained the third-largest source of imports for the Canadian market in 2011, at $24.6 billion, up 11.1% from 2010. Automotive products, mainly motor vehicle parts, except engines, led the rise.
Date: April 5, 2012