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Permanent link for Commerce in Canada on April 14, 2023

The view of Canada across the Detroit River is a perfect skyline, with the vibrant Canadian flag waving to newcomers. These bustling establishments are just a few extant examples of Canada’s lucrative economy, which had a GDP of  $2.200 trillion USD as of 2023.

This economy is sustained through a well-educated workforce, a stable banking system, and plentiful natural resources. These advantages are well-utilized in the many trade organizations Canada is a member of, including the European Union’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and, most relevant to Michigan businesses, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA)--called CUSMA in English-speaking Canada. These trade agreements give Canada access to many foreign markets. 

However, Canada’s largest trading partner remains the United States. According to the International Trade Administration, “The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s largest and most comprehensive trading relationship that supports millions of jobs in each country and constitutes a US$1.7 trillion bilateral trade and investment relationship.”

In spite of this positive trade relationship and Canada’s overall economic prosperity, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing business in Canada. 

Cultural Similarities

While Canada and the U.S. share some cultural similarities, such as language, religion, and demographics, it is important to remember that “Canadians and Americans should not be thought of as interchangeable, and it is an etiquette faux pas to act as if that were the case”. In particular, the province of Quebec tends to expect more formality.

Additionally, U.S. businesses should consider language differences. While many Canadians are fluent in both English and French, there are parts of the country where one is preferred over the other, and both English and French translations are appreciated, if not required. 


One of Canada’s most profitable natural resources is its crude petroleum production, derived from the largest oil reserves in the world. However, as concern for the climate rises, Canada is looking towards a more sustainable future. Both its logging and fishing industries have suffered from environmental negligence. American companies should consider sustainable options and alternatives when engaging in Canadian partnerships. 

Learn More

To learn more about the benefits of doing business in Canada, please join GVSU’s Van Andel Global Trade Center & the U.S. Commercial Service – Grand Rapids Office on May 3rd, 2023, as they host the 37th Michigan World Trade Week International Business Conference! We will welcome the General of Canada in Detroit, Colin Bird, to give a Canadian Economic Update over lunch followed by a What’s New in Canada breakout session with the Consulate of Canada’s Brittany Foley! Register today!


About the Contributor

Parker Mackey is a Student Assistant at GVSU’s Van Andel Global Trade Center. They are a 2nd-year junior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, emphasis on painting. They also work for GVSU’s History Department, transcribing for the Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project. They enjoy painting, hiking, and listening to folk punk. 

Categories: Canada Economic Update Export Global Consumer
Posted on Permanent link for Commerce in Canada on April 14, 2023.

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Page last modified April 14, 2023