The Canada-U.S. Trade and Economic Relationship

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The Canada-U.S. Trade and Economic Relationship

The United States is Canada's largest trading partner and is the largest market for Canadian goods. The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (1989) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994) have both been crucial to increasing market opportunities for Canadian exporters in the U.S.

Ultimately, however, it is Canadian exporters – of all sizes and in all industries – that make this relationship as successful as it is. In 2003, Canada exported approximately C$365 billion worth of goods and services to the U.S., while it imported nearly C$280 billion from its southern neighbour. In fact, U.S. exporters sold more goods to Canada in 2003 than they did to the European Union.

When we look at just a few of the specifics of our trade with the U.S., we find that:

In 2003, the two-way trade in goods and services between our two countries reached C$1.8 billion a day.

Canada is the U.S.'s most important trading partner, taking in 19.2 percent of U.S. goods and services in 2003.

In 2003, Canada was the top export market for 37 U.S. states.

In 2002, Canadian business investment in the U.S. was valued at approximately C$202 billion. U.S. business investment in Canada was valued at just over C$224 billion.

We could add many more statistics, anecdotes and facts, but these numbers are enough to show how the economies of our two countries are intertwined, and to demonstrate the magnitude of the Canada-U.S. economic relationship

1.3 Understanding Canada-U.S. relations

Trade, of course, is only part of a larger network of relationships between our two countries. This network evolves in response to many complex influences, and exporters need to consider how our two countries' ever-expanding, ever-changing relationships will affect their activities. To take just a few examples:

The events of September 11, 2001 and the resulting security measures have affected border wait times, packing legislation, reporting requirements and many other export-related issues.

The Canada-U.S. trade relationship is not static. Political and business strategies and practices change on both sides of the border, and events occur – such as "mad cow disease" – that are beyond almost everyone's control.

Many Americans are not aware of the political and economic value of the Canada-U.S. relationship, and Canada is consequently not a priority for them.

The Government of Canada is very active in fostering relations with the United States, and has expanded its U.S. consular presence to help enlarge and secure the trade relationship.
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