Guide

Exporting to Canada

Assess the opportunity for exporting to Canada

Canada has a diversified economy, generating demand for a wide range of consumer and industrial products. Key industries range from oil exploration and other natural resources to technology.

Significant imports include pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronic components and machinery. Other promising sectors for exporters include biotechnology, information technology and telecommunications, all areas in which Northern Ireland's businesses are strong. 

At the same time, it is important to realise that there is strong competition, both from domestic Canadian companies and from US suppliers. These competitors benefit from lower costs compared with exporters based in Northern Ireland. To succeed, you need to offer real customer benefits as well as being price-competitive.

Regional focus

Canada is the second largest country in the world, though the population is only around 36 million and the economy around half the size of the UK's. Most of the population lives relatively close to the southern border with the US.

In many industries, key players are clustered around one or two cities. A successful export strategy will focus on these key locations. In some industries, national or local government can also be an important potential customer.

A similar approach can be used for exports of consumer goods. Many exporters target Toronto, Canada's largest city and a key consumer goods market.

To identify potential customers and their location, search the Canadian Importers Database.