The State of Canadian Trade: Looking Ahead |

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The State of Canadian Trade: Looking Ahead

Canadian trade professionals are cautiously optimistic when predicting what may be in store in 2021. With the new year already underway, we’ll be assessing the state of affairs and predictions for the industry. We will be pulling from the Global Export Forecast by Export Development Canada (EDC) — which aims to identify the trends that influence global trade, as well as an article by journalist Mary Gooderham in the Globe & Mail

Stephen Tapp, EDC’s chief economist stated on the topic:

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how strong global trade has been, and in particular how well Canadian trade has held up in the last six months.”

Continue reading to see why Tapp made such a statement and other predictions for 2021…

There’s no doubt that the pandemic significantly modified the trajectory of the global economy. However, across the board, it appears that Canada’s trade performance has been quite resilient so far.

As stated by the EDC report:

“[The] Global Export Forecast sees Canadian exports falling by 16% in 2020, which is better than the 20% drop initially feared. We also expect a modest improvement in overall conditions in 2021, with exports rising by 9%.”

So, all things considered, things did not perform as badly as expected by trade experts.

Further, the report predicts that there will be a “slow and uneven road ahead” for various Canadian export sectors. However, commercial goods such as consumer goods, agricultural products, chemicals and plastics, are well above the pre-pandemic performance.

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We’ve seen many Canadian companies putting investment towards scaling up, exploring new sectors, and new markets. In fact, some exporters have never been busier. The companies that have been trading goods that are in high demands as a result of COVID-19 (like medical goods) are doing just that.

Gooderham of the Globe & Mail pulls an example from Medicom Inc, a Montreal-based company. Medicom sells medical gloves, masks, gowns, etc. They have increased their overseas operations as a response to the pandemic — serving a total of 99 countries now.

Another example of a Canadian company adapting well to these times, as reported by Gooderham: Off2Class. A Toronto-based educational technology company that has worked to ensure their educational materials have a dual purpose for working in online and physical settings, which is quite broad, as they serve 120 countries!

Both the Globe & Mail and the EDC are looking at 2021 projections with optimism. It is truly an opportune time for Canadian businesses to expand in new ways: to different countries, adding variety to offerings, exploring new supply chains. Tapp points out that Europe may be a good option for expansion, as there is the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in place. 

As Canada’s second-largest trading partner, the agreement aims to give Canadian businesses “preferential access to and excellent opportunities for growth in the EU.”

If you’re interested in expanding into new markets – or just starting out a Canadian business today, be sure to partner with the right trade professionals, so as to not waste precious time and money.


Working with a customs broker can help you smoothly import and export commercial goods with ease. Customs consultants can also assist in the research behind exploring new opportunities. As such, they are a key player in any business’ success. If you’d like to begin a conversation with a customs broker, click here for a no-commitment chat.