Major Imports of Canada, Top Major Imports in 2023

Major Imports of Canada, Top Major Imports in 2023

The Top Major Imports of Canada in 2023

As an advanced economy and one of the wealthiest nations globally, Canada has a high demand for imported consumer goods, machinery, equipment and raw materials. Total annual imports exceed $450 billion, making Canada the 11th largest importer worldwide. Understanding Canada’s major import categories provides insight into the nation’s consumption patterns, industrial composition and global sourcing trends.

Top Categories of Canadian Imports

Over 75% of Canada’s imports fall into three broad categories:
  • Industrial Machinery – At over $85 billion annually, various types of machinery represent Canada’s largest import category. Key imports include electrical gear, engines, pumps, construction equipment and more.
  • Energy Products – Canada spends roughly $55 billion per year importing crude oil, natural gas, refined fuels and coal to meet energy needs.
  • Consumer Goods – Imported autos, pharmaceuticals, electronics and clothing account for around $75 billion in annual imports.

Beyond these major groupings, other significant Canadian imports include chemicals, plastics, metals, agricultural products and telecom equipment. The diversity of imports highlights the breadth of Canada’s economy and need to source both raw materials and finished products globally.

Leading Suppliers of Imports to Canada

The United States is by far Canada’s dominant source of imports, accounting for over 50% of the total. China follows at around 13%, then Mexico at 5%. Other major supplying nations include Germany, Japan, the U.K. and South Korea. Proximity and free trade pacts help explain the high volume sourced from the U.S.

For American exporters, Canada presents a natural foreign market given their geographic and cultural advantages. Canada also offers an educated populace, trusted business climate and stable economy conducive to trade.

Imports to Support Canada’s Manufacturing Sector

Despite shifting some production overseas, manufacturing remains an important sector in Canada. Total manufacturing output exceeds $230 billion, led by transportation equipment, chemicals, food products, metal fabrication and machinery. Maintaining a vibrant manufacturing base relies partly on importing industrial equipment, components, raw materials and partially finished goods.

Canada’s more limited domestic supply of items like metal ores, petroleum, rubber and certain chemicals means manufacturers must import substantial quantities. Being able to source high-quality inputs from global markets helps Canadian producers remain competitive. For nations exporting industrial goods, equipment and commodities, Canada presents a robust market.

Trends Driving Growth in Canadian Imports

Several economic factors explain Canada’s surging imports in recent decades:
  • Rising population and consumer demand
  • A shift toward more services and knowledge industries
  • Offshoring some manufacturing and domestic supply limitations
  • Increased global competitiveness and foreign direct investment
  • Free trade pacts expanded access to foreign goods
  • Exchange rates that have favored imports at times

While imports can displace some domestic supply, Canada trades actively to take advantage of global efficiencies. Access to competitively priced foreign machinery, components, resources and talents allows Canadian firms to specialize in high-value endeavors.

Talk to a Specialist About the Canadian Import Market

Given the complexities of international trade, partnering with a qualified import/export specialist is advised for firms considering entering the Canadian market. Experts can provide critical guidance on:

  • Navigating Canadian customs, duties and regulations
  • Understanding local business culture and buyer expectations
  • Finding the right sales channels and marketing approach
  • Transport logistics, warehousing and managing risks

Canada offers a close, stable market for exports. But specialized expertise ensures your entry strategy capitalizes on this potential. Consult experienced trade professionals today to deliver a winning Canadian market entry.

The Growing Volume of Canadian Imports

Over the past two decades, the total value of Canadian imports has increased substantially, reflecting rising consumer demand and industrial activity. According to Statistics Canada, the total value of merchandise imports has grown from C$294 billion in 2000 to over C$511 billion in 2020, representing growth of 74%. Several categories of imports to Canada have risen sharply.

The value of imported energy products, including crude oil, natural gas, and refined petroleum has more than doubled from C$16 billion in 2000 to C$37 billion in 2020. This reflects Canada’s rising energy consumption along with higher global fuel prices. At the same time, imports of industrial and electrical machinery have climbed from C$41 billion to C$85 billion over the past 20 years. This machinery is needed to support Canada’s large manufacturing and construction sectors.

Rising Consumer Goods Imports

Canadian households have also been purchasing growing amounts of imported consumer products in recent decades. From 2000 to 2020, auto imports grew the fastest, rising168% from C$29 billion to C$78 billion according to Statistics Canada. Other major consumer goods imports that increased substantially include pharmaceuticals, up 149%, and clothing/textiles, up 78%.

Canadians’ rising income levels has allowed increased spending on imported consumer electronics, appliances, furniture and other household goods not always available from domestic manufacturers. In total, consumer goods account for roughly C$225 billion of Canada’s C$511 billion merchandise imports.

Expanding Agricultural Imports

While well known as an agricultural exporter, Canada has also increasingly relied on imports to supplement domestic food production. Total agri-food imports have swelled from C$21 billion in 2000 to over C$51 billion in 2020 reports Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Much of this growth is due to rising fruit and vegetable imports needed to meet consumer demand for year-round availability.

Imports of fresh and processed fruits climbed from C$3.3 billion to C$8.1 billion between 2000 and 2020 reveals AAFC data. Over the same period, fresh and processed vegetable imports grew from C$1.7 billion to C$5.4 billion. Canada’s population growth and diverse demographics help explain surging produce demand. For nations exporting agricultural goods, Canada offers a mature, stable market.


Essential Topics You Should Be Familiar With:

  1. major imports of canada
  2. major imports and exports of canada
  3. major exports of canada
  4. canada imports
  5. us major imports
  6. canada main imports
  7. canada imports and exports
  8. importer of record canada
  9. canada imports by country
  10. us imports from canada
Scroll to Top