In the more than 30 years after its accession to the GATT, Canada’s foreign trade has developed rapidly, and imports have increased by as much as 27 times. Machinery, instruments, electronic products, computers, industrial products, and communications equipment account for the majority of imported products in Canada, among which automobiles and parts are the main products. In addition, consumer goods also account for a significant proportion of imported Canadian products, and are gradually increasing. Canada’s import trade has a greater dependence on the international market since its inception. Before 1948, Canada’s main import regions were the Americas and Europe. In the Americas, the largest import volume from the United States increased year by year, from nearly US$500 million in 1939 to US$1.9 billion in 1948, while the United Kingdom was the European region. For the countries with the largest number of exports to Canada, their exports during the same period increased by more than 100%.
In 1948, under the influence of many factors, Canada’s import trade began a new development. It has become the world’s fourth largest importer, second only to the then United Kingdom, the United States and France. Its main imports are fuel, steel, machinery and equipment, textiles, tropical and subtropical foods At the same time, the continued trade relations between Canada and the United States and the relaxation of the U.S. tariff restrictions on Canada have led to a more in-depth development of trade between the two countries, which has greatly promoted Canada’s export trade to the U.S., but in contrast, due to Canada’s due to restrictions on imported products, there has been no significant increase in imports from the United States.
In 2008, the regional distribution of Canada’s foreign trade remained uneven. About 30% of its foreign trade volume was with the United States, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Canada’s merchandise trade was hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, Canada’s total imports fell from 434 billion U.S. dollars to 365 billion U.S. dollars, down nearly 16%, of which imports of goods fell by 24% and imports of services fell by 4%, which triggered Canada’s growth and became the first trade deficit since 1975. Among Canada’s 10 major importing countries, imports from the United States, China, Mexico, and Japan have decreased in various degrees from 2008 to 2009, except that imports from South Korea have remained basically stable. Imports fell by as much as 17.8%.
In the first quarter of 2012, the import and export of Canadian goods was 227.24 billion U.S. dollars, of which imports were 112.96 billion U.S. dollars, up 6.3%, and the trade surplus was 1.32 billion U.S. dollars, down 19.3 percentage points. From the perspective of country (region), Canada’s imports from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Japan in the first quarter were US$56.98 billion, US$11.46 billion, US$6.32 billion, and US$4.01 billion, respectively, which increased by 7.3% and 6.5% respectively. 6.9% and 18.0%. From a commodity perspective, mechanical and electrical products, transportation equipment, and mineral products are the top three categories of Canadian imports. In January-March 2012, imports totaled US$60.33 billion, accounting for 53.4% of Canada’s total imports, including imports of vehicles and their accessories. The amount was US$17.66 billion, an increase of 9.5%, accounting for 15.6% of total imports. Canada’s imports of textiles and raw materials, mechanical and electrical products, and furniture from China totaled US$7.4 billion, accounting for 64.5% of Canada’s total imports from China.