Canada exports more than logs and oil

Canada’s economy is based on exports, and some of the most successful of those exports have traditionally been “primary” products, the products of the forestry, mining, agriculture, and oil and gas industries. But a new report from the Conference Board of Canada’s Global Commerce Centre says that Canada has become very successful in exporting certain  non-primary products as well. In several cases, Canada is among the top ten exporters in the world, often because of our proximity to the all-important US market.

Cosmetics: Canada is the world’s tenth largest exporter of cosmetic products, accounting for three per cent of global cosmetics trade. Proximity to the US and Canadian companies’ ability to establish themselves at an early stage in fast-growth markets account for successes in this category.

Pet food: Canadian exports account for 3.5 per cent of global pet food trade, making Canada the world’s ninth largest exporter. Again, proximity to the US market, and manufacturers’ success at exporting premium brands to emerging markets account for the success. Canadian manufacturers’ reputation abroad for producing high-quality goods is another factor in the success, the Conference Board says.

Photonic devices: Canada is the world’s tenth largest exporter of photonic devices, including imaging and machine vision systems, 3-D scanners, and light detection and ranging mapping and imaging systems.

photonics-laser-scanning-3D-industry-manufacturing-exports-Canada-EDIWeekly
3-D scanner: Canada is the tenth largest exporter of photonic devices in the world.

Inorganic chemicals: Canada is the world’s largest exporter of sodium chlorate, a chemical used as a bleaching agent in the pulp industry. It accounts for 98 per cent of Canadian exports of inorganic chemicals and 75 per cent of global trade for that product. Our global competitiveness at exporting sodium chlorate rests on low electricity costs, ready access to fresh water supplies, and on our proximity to some of the world’s largest pulp manufacturing plants, providing us with an undisputable edge in the North American market.

Synthetic rubber: 80 per cent of Canadian exports of synthetic rubber consist of butyl rubber, a key ingredient in making tires. Canada is the world’s fifth largest exporter of butyl rubber, accounting for almost 15 per cent of global trade. Exports of butyl rubber come from a single plant in Sarnia, Ontario and are supported by the petro-chemical industrial cluster located in the area and our proximity to the U.S. market. However, our global competiveness is currently being challenged by other countries, both in the North American and Asian markets.

These five diverse products share important similarities, the Conference Board statement says. For each of the five, successful sales to countries other than the United States was due to a small number of companies. These companies generally built their success on one or more of the following factors:

  • Proximity to key suppliers or customers
  • Benefiting from the presence of an industry cluster
  • Ability to develop and market innovative products and establish an early presence in fast-growth markets

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • SpaceX-1 Launches Falcon 9
  • English-French partners show all-electric aircraft at Paris Air Show
  • Financial risks associated with emissions limits for Canada for oil and gas industries
  • Microgrids coming to two Ontario power utilities
  • Space X Falcon Heavy launch live! 'Great rocket launch or the best fireworks display,' says Elon Musk. Watch the launch at 3pm today live on EDI Weekly
  • Test of SpaceX crew escape system goes off perfectly
  • Ontario wants to be heard at Enbridge pipeline hearings
  • Manufacturing sector continued to gain in November
  • FedDev money for GTA aerospace company; Bombardier cutting losses on Learjet
  • Economy grew fastest in north, west in 2012: Statistics Canada
  • Natural Resource GDP increased 0.4%, led by Energy subsector at 0.7% — Statscan
  • Is Clean Diesel a myth, or a yet-to-come promise?
  • Quebec aerospace industry in good shape despite setbacks
  • Ford’s 347 kph GT: World's fastest supercar a testbed for new automotive technology
  • NA clean energy goal of 50 per cent can't be met without nuclear, industry says
  • Richard Browning invents super human 450 km per hour “Iron Man” flight suit (video)
  • Green building technology to grow annually by 10.12% to the year 2023
  • Solar Challenge 3,000 kilometer "race" tests solar capabilities and technologies
  • Manufacturers and employers win with new Labour rules in Ontario; jobs did increase 17,600 in January 2019
  • Toyota investment in Ontario brings new technologies, keeps jobs
Scroll to Top