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In May 2011, Canada reported a trade deficit of CAD814 (US$861) million, with imports amounting to CAD37.8 (US$40) billion compared to exports of CAD36.9 ($US39) billion. For the decade preceding 2009, Canada registered a stable trade surplus, the change to a deficit arising from a reduced surplus of trade to the US. 

International trade makes up a large part of the Canadian economy, with exports amounting to 45% of its GDP. The overwhelming majority of this trade, indeed, is with the United States, which received almost three quarters of Canadian exports and sent half of Canada’s imports in 2010. Canada’s inclusion in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes some way to explaining the extent of this exchange.

Canada is a net exporter of energy – unusual for a developed country. Along with this, it exports minerals, vehicles and aircraft, machinery and parts, timber, and plastics. In terms of imports, it largely buys machinery, motor vehicles, electronics, chemicals, and durable consumer goods. The average ad valorem tariff for imported goods is 4.7%.