Our Trade Relationship With Canada In 2 Charts and 200 Words

I know this happened a million years ago and was just meaningless idiocy, but just for the record, here is Canada’s trade balance with the United States in dairy products:

Yes, they protect their dairy market. So do we. In fact, we protect ours more, which is why Canada runs a persistent trade deficit with the US in dairy products.

As for the bigger picture, it’s true that the US runs a trade deficit in overall goods. But there’s one reason for that: oil. We could import our oil from anywhere, but we happen to import it from Canada. If you take that out of the picture, then once again it’s Canada that’s running a trade deficit with the US and the US that has the trade surplus:

And then, of course, there are services. Even if you include oil, our trade balance in goods and services with Canada was +$8.4 billion in 2017. So to summarize our trade relationship with Canada:

  • We run a trade surplus in dairy products.
  • We run a trade surplus in total goods and services.
  • We run a trade surplus in goods excluding oil.

It doesn’t matter very much if we run a trade surplus or deficit with Canada. But in every way that anyone should care about, we run a surplus. The only trade deficit worth mentioning is due to our inexhaustible appetite for oil. But that’s our problem, not Canada’s.


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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