Following large decreases in 2009, Canada’s international merchandise trade experienced a second consecutive year of gains in 2011, though reliance on the United States as a trading partner continued to decline as Asia and Europe gained further ground.
According to an annual review on merchandise trade by Stats Canada, Canada’s total trade — exports and imports combined — came within 2 percent of the record levels posted in 2008. Exports totalled $457.6 billion, an increase of 13 percent from the previous year, as prices rose 8.6 percent. Imports increased 10 percent from 2010 to $456.4 billion, mainly on the strength of volumes, which were up 8.3 percent.
Export levels to the United States in 2011 were just below those recorded a decade earlier, while exports to the UK 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. The U.S. accounted for 74 percent of total exports in 2011, down from 87 percent a decade ago.
Still, exports to the U.S. increased to $330.1 billion in 2011, up 10.4 percent from 2010.
Meanwhile, the share of goods imported from the U.S. declined from 63 percent to 50 percent. In contrast, China’s share of imports has shown the largest gains, increasing from 4.6 percent in 2002 to 10.8 percent in 2011, making it the second-largest source of imports for the 10th consecutive year.