Canada/U.S. trade and investment

Washington, D.C.
4 February 2011

Canada and the United States enjoy one of the largest commercial relationships in the world with trade in goods and services totaling nearly $600 billion in 2009.  Some $1.6 billion worth of goods and services cross the Canada-U.S. border each and every day. 

The bilateral commercial relationship is critical to the economic prosperity and standard of living of people in both countries.  About eight million jobs in the United States are linked to trade with Canada, while it is estimated that up to one in five jobs in Canada is linked to trade with the U.S.

The two economies are highly integrated, and Canada and the U.S. are each other’s largest export markets.  In fact, Canada is the number one foreign market for goods exports for 34 of the 50 states.

In 2009, Canada’s exports of goods and services to the U.S. were valued at almost $306.6 billion.  Canada’s main merchandise exports were mineral fuels and oils, motor vehicles, and machinery.  Canadians and Americans share the closest energy relationship in the world. Energy infrastructure—including oil and gas pipeline networks and electricity grids—is tightly integrated.  Canada is the United States’ largest and most secure supplier of oil, natural gas, electricity and uranium.

Imports of goods and services for the same year from the U.S. were valued at $286.2 billion and merchandise imports consisted principally of motor vehicles, machinery, and electrical and electronic equipment.

The two countries also have one of the world’s largest investment relationships.  In 2009, direct investment in Canada from the United States was worth more than $288.3 billion, while Canadian direct investment in the U.S. was $261.3 billion.

Bilateral commerce is underpinned first, by the 1988 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and then by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into effect in 1994.  Since the NAFTA, Canada-U.S. trade has nearly doubled.

Given the importance of the commercial relationship to both economies, and to the incredible volume of goods and travellers that cross the border every day, it remains a top priority to ensure that the common borders remain secure and open to legitimate commerce and travellers. 

The Declaration on a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and the ensuing action plan will play an essential part in modernizing the border to address future security and competitiveness opportunities and challenges.

Given that the border plays a fundamental part in this trading relationship, it has always been a top government priority. 

That is why our Government has expanded and enhanced trusted traveller and trader programs in partnership with the United States; why it has been building and renewing our border and gateway infrastructure; and, why it has strengthened the safety and security of travellers and cargo. 

By working together to better secure a common perimeter, Canada and the U.S. are taking further steps to ensure their security and economic well being, and to strengthen and bolster the trade relationship.

Other Key Statistics:

• In 2009, 47.1 million cars crossed the border and 39.3 million trips were made by Canadians to the U.S. 

• In 2009, approximately three-quarters of Canada’s merchandise exports went to the United States and one-half of our imports came from the United States.  In turn, approximately one-fifth of the United States’ goods exports went to Canada, and one-seventh of its goods imports came from Canada.

• More trade flows between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan than through any other border crossing in the world.

• Over 20 million American travellers spend about $7 billion in Canada every year.

• Travellers from the United States represent 83 per cent of arrivals into Canada.

• The United States is the largest foreign investor in Canada and the most popular destination for Canadian investment.

• A truck carrying goods crosses the border every 2-3 seconds.