Six Promising Export Markets for Canadians

As a result of a global influx of opportunities, Canadian exporters have intriguing options ranging from across the border to across the pond, and the other side of the world. Essentially, any country willing to work with your company is worth pursuing.


Japan, Canada’s second longest trading partner, accounted for $14.3 billion in total Canadian exports in 2021, according to the Government of Canada. Canada and Japan continue to enjoy good relations — sharing common science, technology, and innovation objectives. The primary exports from Canada to Japan include coal, copper ores, canola seeds, pork, and pharmaceutical products.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) helped make Japan one of Canada’s most successful markets for value-added wood products and forest products. Among the gains in this sector, the CPTPP includes the elimination of all Japanese tariffs on forest products and value-added wood products — which provides significant opportunities for Canadian wood exporters in the Japanese market.

United Kingdom

The U.K. is Canada’s second largest destination for Canadian direct investment abroad. In 2020, Canada exported $13.2 billion worth of products to the U.K. — including $11.4 billion worth of gold, $424 million worth of crude petroleum, and $270 million worth of iron ore, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) and TrendEconomy.

Historically, Canada and the United Kingdom have enjoyed mutually advantageous commercial relations. In 2019, the U.K. was Canada’s third-largest destination for merchandise exports worldwide and was also a key source of foreign direct investment, as well as science and technology partnerships. As stated on the Government of Canada’s website, the aim of the two countries is to “improve global economic conditions so that free and fair international trade and investment can thrive.”


A report published in 2022 by WorldsTopExports.com states that Africa (including South Africa and the Central African Republic) accounts for one per cent of Canada’s exports.

According to the OEC, in 2020, exports from Canada to South Africa (totalling $269 million) included $32 million in wheat, $17.6 million in diamonds, and $13 million in excavation machinery. In the same year, exports from Canada to the Central African Republic (totalling $152,000) included $85,000 in broadcasting equipment and $65,900 in cars.

Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions on Earth, with one-quarter of the world’s fastest-growing economies located in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Government of Canada.


A 2022 study by WorldsTopExports.com reports that India accounts for $2.35 billion — or 0.5 per cent — of total Canadian exports. According to the OEC, in 2020, Canada exported $2.7 billion in products to India. Those products included $524 million in dried legumes, $406 million in coal briquettes, and $365 million in potassic fertilizers.

In previous (pre-pandemic) years, according to the Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada engaged in more than $4.5 billion in trade with India. India comes in ninth place as a major export destination to Canada. Due to its large scale and rapid change, some believe India may be the world’s third-largest economy as soon as 2030.


Though relations between the two countries have been somewhat strained in recent years, Canada’s second top exporter — accounting for $19.3 billion of total Canadian exports in 2021 — continues to be China, according to the OEC. The opportunities for Canadian exports to China is tremendous.

China boasts the fastest growing economy on Earth, has the largest retail and e-commerce market, and is the largest exporting nation on the face of the planet. It also has a middle-class population with ever-increasing purchasing power.

Export Edge Canada reports that China’s economy is shifting from resource investment and the manufacturing of exports to consumer goods and services.

According to the OEC, Canadian exports in 2020 to China included $2.09 billion in iron ore, $1.46 billion in sulfate chemical wood pulp, and $1.27 billion in wheat. In the 25 years previous, Canada’s exports to China rose from $3.17 billion in 1995 to $19.3 billion in 2020 — an annualized rate increase of 7.5 per cent.

And Canada’s number one export partner? Not surprisingly, coming in first place is the United States.

United States of America

The richest nation on Earth, with a population of approximately 334 million and a quarter share of the global economy, the United States is Canada’s chief exporter — by a significant margin — accounting for $380.4 billion, or 75.6 per cent of total Canadian exports, according to WorldsTopExports.com.

Due to the low dollar, coupled with a revival in U.S. consumer spending, that 75.6 per cent is increasing and represents hundreds of Canadian businesses actively engaged with the States. This active involvement is both lucrative and diverse — because the U.S. isn’t simply one market, it’s several.

The top target export states in the U.S. continue to be New York, Ohio, and Texas. However, a new state — North Dakota — has entered the export revenue playing field and has become the fastest growing state in terms of the U.S. economy. 

From 1995 to 2020, Canadian exports heading for the U.S. rose steeply — from $143 billion to $264 billion. That’s an annualized rate increase of 2.49 per cent. Last year, Canada’s top exports to the U.S. included $45.4 billion in crude oil, $29.7 billion in cars, and $8.02 billion in vehicle parts, according to the OEC.

Though the pandemic certainly made exporting/importing with the U.S. more difficult, necessity made it a reality. According to a report published in 2021 by the International Trade Administration, Canada now does about $1.7 billion worth of trade with the United States each day.

Canada and the U.S. don’t just share a border, they share a hunger for growth.

Finally, as per the 2022 online report from WorldsTopExports.com, for 2020, Canadian exports represented about 2.9 per cent of the value of the world’s total exported goods. Canada saw $503.4 billion in trade products distributed throughout the world in 2021.

Simply put, export revenue opportunities await, so don’t limit yourself. It’s a big world, after all. 

Peter Campbell | Contributing Writer