Friday, August 14, 2009

Beyond the Southern Border

Historically, the United States has been Canada's dominant trade partner. With its relatively limited domestic market and vast resources, Canada has been quite dependent on exports to the U.S. However, the global economic recession has changed this reality, at least for the interim.

In fiscal year 2000, approximately 87 percent of all Canadian exports were to the U.S. Recent figures show a drop to almost 71 percent.

Politicians have long advocated diversification of trade relations as insurance against a serious drop in trade with the U.S. Now that reality has dictated a change, many Canadian companies are experiencing a drastic rise in income largely due to overseas trade partners that previously had not been considered.

While Canadians hope for a resuscitation of the U.S. economy, as export costs to the U.S. are far less than distant foreign addresses, the amount of trade with countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia has provided economic recovery for many Canadian businesses.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has targeted the Chinese market as a partner for Canadian trade and will pursue the issue on an official visit to China later this year. In addition, his government is presently negotiating a trade deal with the European Union.

Most economists agree that the U.S. economy will rebound from the current recession, albeit not as quickly as Americans would like. In the interim, the Canadian economy is moving forward and has found new addresses to further trade. Having discovered these new lucrative markets, it is unlikely that Canadians will return to the high level of dependence on trade with the U.S. The global economy is maturing and Canadian resources are playing a vital role in this process.

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