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Image: International Markets & Trade

Canada Trade & FDI

Trade
FDI

Canada Trade

Canada is a major participant in international agricultural trade. In 2015, Canada’s total agri-food and seafood exports to all countries equaled just over $48.0 billion, and corresponding imports approached $36.8 billion, according to Canadian statistics. The United States is Canada's largest agricultural trading partner, buying 53 percent of Canadian exports and supplying 59 percent of Canadian imports. In addition, Canada is the leading agricultural trade partner of the United States, when exports and imports are combined. In 2015, Canada accounted for 16 percent of U.S. agricultural exports and 19 percent of imports, as defined and categorized by USDA.

The heightened level of integration between the U.S. and Canadian agricultural sectors is due in part to the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSTA), which was implemented in 1989 and subsumed by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. From 1989 to 1998, CUSTA and NAFTA dismantled virtually all tariff and quota barriers to Canada-U.S. agricultural trade, with a few notable exceptions: U.S. imports of dairy products, peanuts, peanut butter, cotton, sugar, and sugar-containing products and Canadian imports of dairy products, poultry, eggs, and margarine. During the CUSTA-NAFTA period, Canada-U.S. agricultural trade has expanded almost without interruption. Between 1988 (the last year prior to CUSTA’s implementation) and 2015, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada expanded at a compound annual rate of 7.0 percent, while agricultural imports from Canada grew at a rate of 8.4 percent. The major exceptions to this pattern of growth occurred in 2009, following the economic downturn of 2007-09, and in 2015, due to a decline in many commodity prices.

 

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Much of Canada-U.S. agricultural trade consists of intraindustry trade, meaning that each country exports products to the other within certain sectors. In grains and feeds, intraindustry trade encompasses numerous processed products, including dog and cat food for retail sale; mixes and doughs; pastries, cake, bread, and pudding; breakfast cereal; and uncooked pastas. Beef and pork are prominent examples of intraindustry trade outside the grains and feeds sector.

Grains, fruit, vegetables, meat, and related products accounted for about 61 percent of U.S. agricultural exports to Canada in 2015. Among the leading exports were: beef and veal ($1.1 billion), pork ($787 million), dog or cat food for retail sale ($602 million), coffee, roasted, not decaffeinated ($499 million), and lettuce ($458 million).

 

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Roughly 63 percent of U.S. agricultural imports from Canada in 2015 consisted of meat, grains, vegetables, fruit, and related products. The leading agricultural import in 2015 was biscuits and wafers ($1.8 billion), followed by rapeseed oil ($1.4 billion), cocoa and cocoa preparations ($1.3 billion), live cattle and calves ($1.3 billion), and beef and beef variety meats ($1.3 billion).

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Selected U.S. agricultural exports to Canada Excel icon (16x16)

Selected U.S. agricultural imports from Canada Excel icon (16x16)

To view more detailed U.S.-Canada agricultural trade statistics, go to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Trade System.

 

Canada FDI

Foreign Direct Investment into Canada

Canada is a major recipient of U.S. direct investment. As of the end of 2010, Canada was the third largest destination for U.S. direct investment abroad, and the total U.S. direct investment position (i.e., the stock of investment) in all sectors of the Canadian economy equaled about $297 billion on an historical cost basis.

U.S. direct investment in Canada's food and beverage industries is also substantial. At the end of 2010, Canada was the largest destination for U.S. direct investment abroad in the beverage industry and the second largest in the food industry. The U.S. direct investment position in Canada's food and beverage industries in 2010 was $5.9 billion and $7.8 billion, respectively. Mergers and acquisitions involving large firms sometimes lead to large year-to-year changes in the U.S. direct investment position in Canada's food and beverage industries. In contrast, there is little U.S. direct investment in Canadian agricultural production or the Canadian tobacco industry.

 

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The U.S. direct investment position in the Canadian beverage industry has experienced expansive growth over the past 20 years, marked by a compound annual growth rate of 21 percent between 1989 and 2010. Much of this growth, however, took place in a single year. Between 2004 and 2005, the U.S. direct investment position in Canada's beverage industry increased by roughly $5 billion, in part due to the merger of two prominent U.S. and Canadian breweries. Compared with the beverage industry, U.S. direct investment in the Canadian food industry has experienced more moderate growth, increasing at a compound annual rate of 5 percent between 1989 and 2010.

Of the total U.S. direct investment position in Canada's food, beverage, and tobacco industries in 2010, the beverage industry accounted for 57 percent and the food industry accounted for 43 percent. Subsectors within the Canadian food industry that are prominent recipients of U.S. direct investment include grain and oilseed milling and sugar and confectionery products, each with about 7 percent of the total.

 


The proportion of investment going to the beverage industry has risen from about one-third of the total for the food, beverage, and tobacco industries in 1999 to consistently over one-half in the most recent years where data are available. There is no clear trend in the sectoral composition of U.S. direct investment. The shares associated with animal foods and grain and oilseed milling, for instance, do not exhibit a clear upward or downward trend, and much of the investment in the food industry falls in the category of "other food products." The U.S. direct investment position in Canadian animal production has increased over the past decade from negligible levels to $83 million in 2009.

 

U.S. direct investment position in Canadian agricultural production and the food, beverage, and tobacco industries, 1999-2010
Industry199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010
  Millions of dollars
Food 3,693 3,431 3,421 4,153 3,964 2,821 2,718 2,998 4,393 4,456 4,973 5,860
Animal foods 85 88 (D) 37 53 48 57 74 127 141 166 185
Grain and oilseed milling 755 743 602 673 621 695 347 359 804 635 775 999
Sugar and confectionery products (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) 506 844 891 925
Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty foods (D) 223 (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) -6 738 596 257 612
Dairy products (D) 17 (D) 55 (D) (D) -17 (D) (D) (D) 8 28
Animal slaughtering and processing (D) (D) 520 (D) 968 (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D)
Seafood product preparation and packaging (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Bakeries and tortillas (D) (D) 705 972 (D) 11 (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D)
Other food products 1,577 1,126 1,064 1,507 1,589 1,519 1,447 1,264 1,386 1,445 1,922 3,092
Beverages and tobacco products 2,105 1,010 1,341 1,881 2,388 2,295 7,075 6,926 8,162 (D) (D) 7,775
Beverages (D) (D) 1,335 1,873 2,374 (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) 7,753
Tobacco products (D) (D) 6 8 14 (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) (D) 22
Agricultural production -4 -6 6 0 (D) (D) 12 29 62 72 78 (D)
Crop production 5 4 -2 -8 -7 -1 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6
Animal production -9 -10 8 8 (D) (D) 13 31 65 76 83 (D)
(D) = Statistic is suppressed in order to avoid disclosure of data of individual companies.
(*) = Value is between -$500,000 and $500,000.
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

 

Canadian Direct Investment in the United States

Canada is also an important source of foreign direct investment in the U.S. food industry. At the end of 2010, Canada's direct investment position in the U.S. food industry equaled about $1.4 billion on a historical cost basis, which makes Canada the sixth largest foreign investor in the U.S. food industry. Over the past 15 years, the Canadian direct investment position in the U.S. food industry has fluctuated, usually within the range of $1.0 billion to $1.5 billion. As is the case with U.S. direct investment in Canada's food and beverage industries, mergers and acquisitions involving large firms can result in large year-to-year changes in the Canadian direct investment position in the U.S. food industry.

 

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Last updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016

For more information contact: Steven Zahniser