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Exporting to Canada

Exporting to Canada - Background

Exporting to Canada opportunities are plentiful in a country as vast and diverse as Canada.  As a developed nation, the country is one of the most affluent in the world.  However, the population is quite small given its land mass.  

Photo Credits: Panino - Boni Idem

Exporting to Canada - The Opportunities

Here are the key industries in Canada to search for export to Canada opportunities:

  1. Agricultural and Food Products

    The shift in Canadian diets from red meats to more fruits and vegetables has impacted the types of imports being brought into Canada.  Even though beef and pork are still popular, more retail space is devoted to fruits and vegetables than any other type of food.  Imports of baked goods, ales and beers have grown over the years.  Animal feed and pet food are other large food sectors which are imported into Canada.  Some key items in the agricultural and food products category are: bananas, cereal, lettuce, and dairy products.
  2. Aircrafts and Parts

    The aviation imports have been fueled by the government's Department of National Defense.   The demand for engine components, gas turbines, and propellers is anticipated to continue to increase in the future.
  3. Boating Equipment

    The import of boating equipment and accessories continues to rise. Domestic manufacturing of boats is limited in Canada.  Due to different government regulations, certain boating accessories are produced in Canada such as life jackets.  Canadian made trailers are also popular items in the domestic market.  Other items in demand include outboard motors and compasses.
  4. Building Products

    The demand for building products are driven by the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional construction industries.   If construction is down, the demand for renovation products tends to go up.  Canadians will renovate and not move.  Key items in this category are: hardwood flooring, vinyl windows and roofing shingles.
  5. Computers and Computer Software

    The growth for computer software will be driven from the home computing, in-house publishing, educational, entertainment and information and reference segments.   Sales of personal computers have been steadily growing over the years with small and medium size businesses accounting for the bulk of the demand.  Canada is one of the largest importers of computer and computer software in the world due to the sophisticated consumers and a lack of domestic supply.  Items of import include: software, modems and laptop and desktop computers.

6.  Electronic Products

The electronic components segment is broad in Canada covering everything from transistors, relays, and diodes.  The Canadian end users of electric components are in the medical, automotive, and military industries.  The majority of products in this category are imported from other countries because small Canadian suppliers do not have the scale to compete with large global suppliers.

7.  Home and Office Furniture and Supplies

The opportunity of exporting to Canada in the furniture and office supplies category exists with traditional furniture such as wooden and metal ready to assemble products.  Ergonomic furniture will also grow in demand due to a more health-conscious society and an aging population.  As with most categories of imports, Ontario has about half of Canada's demand.  Items in this category include car seats, bedroom and dining room sets, mattresses, office desks and chairs, and computer workstations.

8.  Office Supplies

Office consumable products include writing instruments, paper, paper clips, and staples.  Traditionally, Japan and Germany are large exporters for the Canadian writing instruments market.  Asian countries of China, Taiwan and Thailand supply the paper clips, staples and other items.

9.  Health Products

Canada is renowned for its universal government funded healthcare. This comprehensive healthcare system drives the demand for a broad range of medical products.  As a government controlled industry, medical products that result in improved efficiencies or cost are always in demand.  Due to the aging population, there is also the home care and mobility market.  Items in the health products category vary from dialysis equipment, bathroom safety, wheel chairs, cane and x-ray equipment.  The health products also cover the non-government funded dental profession.  Products include dental office products and instrumentation.

10. Household Appliances and Products

This category of goods range from hand held tools, plumbing supplies, non-powered lawn tools, kitchen appliances, and water filtration systems.  Some of the products are driven by the number of housing starts.  Others such as air filtration are caused by the demands of an aging more health conscious population.

11. Industrial Machinery

Pulp and Paper, Industrial Refrigeration, and Oil and Gas Industries drive the demand for the industry machinery market in Canada.  The Pulp and Paper companies want products that reduce effluent or outflow of water in their paper making process.  The demand for meat and poultry production equipment in agricultural processing is also on the rise.  Commercial refrigeration is used in the food associated companies.  The oil producing provinces of Alberta and Newfoundland will experience demand for oil processing industrial equipment.

12. Plastics and Chemicals

Plastics are used in automobiles, packaging, pipes and transportation businesses.  The primary users for chemical imports are the soap and cleaning products manufacturers.  Other chemicals are used for herbicides and pesticides.

13. Pollution Control Equipment

Public awareness and government legislation for air, water and soil pollution will create the need for equipment in these areas.  To be more environmentally friendly, companies desiring to be "Green" will result in new markets in pulp and paper, textile, chemical and metallurgy.  Products such as analytic equipment, filters, and recycling equipment will increase in demand.

14. Telecommunications Products

Canada is one of the largest importers of telecommunication equipment in the world.  Canadians have a strong appetite for foreign telecommunication products even though there are strong Canadian manufacturers represented within this sector. Deregulations of the telecommunication industry and joint ventures will open up opportunities for exporting to Canada.  ATM, wireless and satellite technologies will require telecommunications equipment. Fiber-optics cable, cellular phones, cordless phones and data communications equipment are some of the key products in this category.

15. Textiles and Apparel

Canadians continue to demonstrate strong demand for quality items at fair prices in this category.  This is where the Asian manufacturing companies such as those from China dominate the Canadian landscape with their exports.  Apparel has be an import from China opportunity for many decades.  Many men, women and child clothing items fall within this grouping.  Textile items include carpets and rugs, and natural and man-made fabrics.

16. Toys and Sporting Goods

Canada, driven by a society that is into personal fitness is one of the largest importers of sports equipment in the world.  Hockey equipment to fulfill its national passion is always in demand as well as equipment for other sports such as baseball, softball, fishing, golf, skiing, and tennis.  The fitness revolution also created the need for general physical fitness equipment.

17. Vehicles and Parts

This category is a great opportunity for exporters to Canada. Vehicle parts are required to build new cars as well as to service older cars in the market place.  There is a strong demand for aftermarket auto parts in Canada.  The growing trucking industry also requires items from this category.  Products vary from car electronics, wheels, drive axles to transmissions.  

Whether you import from China or from another country, Canada has a variety of opportunities due to its diverse population with different needs. For foreigners seeking to export to Canada, it represents a tremendous business opportunity due to the small domestic manufacturing base not able to meet the needs of its local Canadian population.   

With only 1/10 the population of the United States, Canada does not have the manufacturing capacity to supply its domestic needs. Canadians also have a strong desire for foreign branded goods.  Consequently, it represents a huge opportunity for those foreigners looking to export to Canada.