Canada is the number-one market for U.S. agricultural exports, and the two nations share the world's largest bilateral trading relationship according to a new report from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). In 2008 U.S. agricultural exports to Canada reached a record $16.2 billion, according to the report. U.S. agricultural exports to Canada accounted for 14 percent of total U.S. food and agricultural product exports of $115.4 billion.

Consumer-oriented agricultural products accounted for 74 percent of total U.S. food and agricultural product sales to Canada in 2008 with fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, snack foods, breakfast cereals, processed horticultural products, and red meat products as the category leaders. American products accounted for 62 percent of total Canadian agricultural and food imports in 2008.

During 2008, a number of consumer-oriented agricultural categories posted record sales to Canada. The top five categories are fresh vegetables (U.S. $1.5 billion), fresh fruit (U.S. $1.4 billion), snack foods (U.S. $1.4 million), red meat ($1.3 billion).

Canada is also an important market for U.S. fish and forestry exports. Canada is the No. 2 market for U.S. fish, and seafood exports reached $708 million (U.S.) in 2008. Despite being a major producer and world exporter of forest products, Canadian imports of U.S. forest products reached about $2.3 billion in 2008. Combined, total U.S. farm, fish and forestry product exports to Canada reached a record $19.26 billion during CY2008, $2.6 billion more than to Mexico, the next largest market destination.

The United States and Canada have the world's largest bilateral trading relationship. During 2008, two-way merchandise trade valued $568 billion. Total bilateral agricultural trade between the U.S. and Canada reached $34.2 billion in 2008, or more than $90 million per day. Two-way truck traffic alone exceeds 7,000 trucks per day. That’s an average of almost one truck, every-other-minute, 24 hours a day.

Under the tariff elimination provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the majority of U.S. agricultural products have entered Canada duty-free since January 1, 1998. On December 4, 1998 the United States and Canada signed a Record of Understanding, an agreement to further open Canadian markets to U.S. farm and ranch products. Tangible benefits of the agreement have accrued to the U.S. agricultural industry.

The full report is available from FAS.