Canadian flags hanging on building

(Photo: Embassy of Canada)

Canada, U.S. value trade relationship

July 24, 2023 | Jeff Hutton

Beyond speaking to Congressional leaders earlier this month, this year’s Iowa-Missouri Policy Leaders Fellowship (PLF) class sat down with officials from the Canadian embassy to discuss current trade issues between the United States and our neighbors to the north.

“Our trading relationship really shines, and we really do work very well together,” says Christine McKee, an agricultural counselor with the Canadian embassy. 

The numbers

McKee says $2.1 billion worth of goods and services cross the Canadian-U.S. border every day. More than $19.4 billion of processed food and beverage products made in the United States were exported to Canada in 2022. U.S. ag exports to Canada have increased 71% in the past 15 years.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its successor, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), have helped strengthen the overall trading relationship between the United States and Canada, McKee says.

"Trade is very important to our country," McKee says. "We buy more from the U.S. than China, Japan and the UK combined."

The current total U.S.-Canada agriculture and agri-food trade is valued at $69.7 billion.

That includes U.S. exports to Canada of $32.1 billion including $3.9 billion in fruits and nuts; $3.3 billion in beverages, spirits and vinegar; $3.2 billion in vegetables and roots; $3 billion in baked goods and prepared cereals; and $2.9 billion in edible preparations.

Building in Washington DC

(Photo: Embassy of Canada)

U.S. imports from Canada is valued at $31.5 billion including $5.8 billion in baked goods and prepared cereals; $5.1 billion in fats and oils; $3.6 billion in beef and pork; $2.9 billion in vegetables and roots; and $1.9 billion in chocolate.

Canada, McKee says, is the No. 1 agricultural export market for 26 U.S. states.

For Iowa specifically, bilateral agricultural trade between Canada and the Hawkeye State was valued at $2.5 billion in 2022. Iowa exported $1.3 billion of goods including $313 million in grain alcohol; $151 million in oil cakes; $132 million in fresh, chilled or frozen pork; $86 million in prepared or preserved meat; and $65 million in dog and cat food.

Iowa imported $1.2 billion in good from Canada including $464 million in canola oil; $139 million in live pigs; $111 million in oats; $54 million in wheat and meslin; and $53 million in fresh, chilled or frozen pork. 

Working together

Neil Krummen, a PLF member from Linn Grove says the opportunity to gain experience about U.S.-Canada trade was informative.

“I had a good time and experience in D.C.,” he says. The Canadian embassy was pretty cool. It was interesting to learn about our country’s relationship with Canada and how important trade is between us.”

McKee says the U.S.-Canada trade relationship is the envy of the world, especially with a strong integrated supply chain.

“We really do benefit from working together,” she says. “And it takes all of us to strengthen protect and preserve that relationship and we do appreciate that.”

Interested in joining Policy Leaders Fellowship? Visit the PLF page and submit an application.