Why Canada? It's as Easy as it Gets


For many decades while posted overseas, going home meant traveling from one large international airport to another. I’m now enjoying being based in Ottawa, Canada where I travel by car to the United States. When I drive to Maine, as I frequently do, I cross into the United States through small towns where houses and libraries straddle our international boundary, and flowerpots are the bollards to keep you from accidentally crossing over before reaching passport control. This rural connection between the United States and Canada is why I’m excited about the Rural America’s Intelligence Service for Exporters (RAISE) program, and why I’m pleased to have recently welcomed the State of Maine’s trade mission to Canada – the first in-person visit since the pandemic pushed us all into the virtual work world.

Since Canada is the single-largest U.S. export market, Canada naturally ranks first among the major markets sought after by U.S. rural businesses. With a population of 38 million, Canadians spend more than 60 percent of their disposable income on U.S. consumer goods. In 2020, Canada ranked as the top export market for 32 of 50 states thanks to numerous commonalities, like geographic proximity, cultural affinity, brand recognition, and ease of doing business.

Our economies are extremely integrated with nearly $1.7 billion of goods and services flowing across the border daily. During the full manufacturing cycle of certain goods, materials seamlessly cross the US-Canada border multiple times before the end-product reaches the consumer market. Logistically, most of Canada’s commercial and industrial hubs are situated near the U.S. border, rendering cross-border export processes smooth and swift.

Our partnership also endures thanks to solid trade frameworks that lower entry barriers. The United States of America, Mexico, and Canada Agreement (USMCA) furthers good regulatory practices and promotes North American competitiveness. In February 2021, the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership established a blueprint for expanded cooperation between both countries in vital sectors, including promoting economic growth, pandemic recovery, combatting climate change, and addressing global issues.

Thanks to our new virtual matchmaking solutions, rural exporters are enjoying greater access to the Canadian market. Statistics from RAISE indicate that rural businesses are regularly looking to Canada to expand in industries like telecommunications equipment, renewable energy, electrical systems, aviation, among others.

Whether you are a first-time or established exporter, I would strongly encourage rural businesses to include Canada in their international sales strategy. The benefits are clear: Canada offers rural businesses new sources of international demand for their unique products and solutions. But don’t take my word for it: two-thirds of RAISE clients pick Canada for a deep-dive. The U.S. Commercial Service team in Canada will continue to guide RAISE clients through the process, from market exploration to expansion, to fuel your international growth. Contact our team members in the U.S. Embassy and Consulates across Canada through your local U.S. Commercial Service office or your RAISE program contact. We can help you better navigate provincial regulations, conduct due diligence on market potential, connect you with relevant stakeholders, and guide you through requirements and procedures.

We look forward to supporting your decision to select Canada as part of your RAISE deep dive and 2022 export development plan!