OTTAWA (CP) -- Canada's reliance on the United States as a trading partner fell even further in 2008 as American automobile and housing markets declined during the economic downturn.
Statistics Canada reports the United States accounted for less than two-thirds -- 65.7 percent -- of Canada's total merchandise trade (exports and imports combined) in 2008.
That's down from 67.2 percent in 2007 and 74 per cent in 2003.
The agency says exports to countries other than the United States have been growing for six years, representing 22.3 percent of total exports in 2008, up from 14.3 percent in 2003.
Leading the gain for Canada's exports from 2007 to 2008 were the Asia Pacific countries -- mainly Japan -- and Brazil.
Exports to Japan increased 20.2 percent from 2007 to $11.1 billion, driven by coal, canola, and wheat, while exports to China totalled $10.4 billion in 2008, up 9.1 percent.
Canada's exports to Brazil increased 70.7 percent from 2007, led by potash, used as a fertilizer, as well as coal and newsprint.
Similarly, imports from countries other than the United States have been on the rise for seven years, accounting for 47.6 percent of Canada's total imports in 2008, up from 39.4 in 2003.
Imports from countries other than the United States rose by 10.7 percent in 2008 compared with a year earlier, led by continued growth from China, Canada's second-most important trading partner for imports, behind the United States.
Chinese companies sold $42.6 billion worth of merchandise to Canada last year, up 11.3 percent from 2007. Telecommunications equipment, games, toys and computers were the main goods imported from China.