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International trade in culture goods

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The Daily


Monday, June 25, 2007

Canada's imports and exports of culture goods declined in 2006. The trade deficit widened to its largest level since 1999, as imports, especially from Canada's largest trading partners – the United States and China – continued to surpass exports.

Canada imported $3.9 billion worth of culture goods from the world, a 3.2% decline from 2005. At the same time, exports fell 12.7% to $2.1 billion, the third consecutive decline.

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As a result, Canada's trade deficit in culture goods expanded from $1.7 billion in 2005 to $1.8 billion in 2006, the largest deficit since 1999.

The trade deficit with the United States, Canada's largest trading partner, expanded by $236 million to nearly $1.2 billion. This was the result of a 12.4% fall in exports, which far exceeded a 0.9% decline in imports.


Note to readers

The international trade data on culture goods are obtained from the International Trade Division at Statistics Canada. Trade data are regrouped into culture categories according to the Canadian Framework of Culture Statistics. Therefore, the categories of culture goods presented here are not necessarily compatible with the International Trade Division's publications.

These estimates include culture goods such as books, compact discs, films and paintings. Culture services, intangibles such as performances and broadcasts, are not included in these estimates. Royalty payments associated with the final sale of certain shipments of culture products are embedded in the value of the goods.

Valuations are on a customs basis in current dollars. This method measures the changes in the country's stock of material resources that result from the physical movement of merchandise into or out of Canada. When goods are imported into, or exported from Canada, declarations must be filed with the Canada Border Services Agency. These declarations provide information such as the description and value of goods, the province of origin and the country or US state of destination for exports, as well as the port of clearance, the country or US state of origin for imports and the mode of transport.

Exports from Canada do not necessarily represent "Canadian content." Data limitations do not allow for this characteristic to be measured. Similarly, imports are not necessarily "foreign content." The country of origin of mass-produced goods is an indication of where manufacturing occurs, and not necessarily of the creation or production of "masters".

Imports coming from Canada (mainly returns) are excluded from the total import value.

The project is co-funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Since 2001, China has held second place in terms of imports of culture goods. China is also currently the second largest contributor to Canada's trade imbalance, as imports from China are more than 20 times larger than Canada's culture exports.

Three-quarters of culture imports are writing and published works

Writing and published works represented nearly three-quarters (73%) of all the culture goods imported into Canada in 2006.

Imports of books, newspapers and periodicals and other printed matter grew $25.8 million in 2006 to $2.8 billion. Items such as technical, scientific and professional books, text books for school, art and pictorial books, journals, periodicals and cards are included in this culture category.

The second largest contributor to culture imports was the film and video category (7.3%). Imports in this culture category declined by almost $75 million from 2005. The price of items in the video category, mainly DVDs, has been decreasing since 2000.

Books, film and advertising material represent over half of culture exports

Three commodity groups accounted for more than half of Canada's total exports of culture goods: books, which represented 19%, film (18%), and advertising material (nearly 16%).

Canada's exports of culture goods fell for the third consecutive year. Gains in exports within the other visual arts, architecture and heritage categories were not strong enough to offset declines in other categories, such as video, other printed materials, advertising and photography.

The Canadian dollar has been depreciating against the Euro and the UK pound sterling, making Canadian exports more attractive to the European Union and the United Kingdom. However, 90% of Canadian culture goods exports go to the United States. The drop in the American dollar relative to the Canadian dollar has consequently made Canada's exports less attractive to its largest trading partner.

Top trading partners: US, China, France, UK

Canada's top two-way trading partners (imports plus exports) in culture goods for 2006 were the United States, China, France and the United Kingdom.

In 2006, the United States was still Canada's largest trading partner by far, accounting for 90% of all exported culture goods and 78% of all imports.

Canadians imported mainly books and newspapers from the United States. For every $10 of culture goods Canadians imported from the United States, $7.61 were spent on writing and published works, $0.85 on film and video, and $0.58 on advertising. The remainder was spread among sound recordings, photography and original art.

Canada's exports to the United States were more diversified. For every $10 of culture goods the United States bought from Canada, $3.80 were spent on books, newspapers and periodicals and other printed material, $2.68 on film and video, and $1.67 on advertising. Photography, sound recordings and visual arts accounted for the rest.

For the last six years, imports of culture goods from China have been the second largest, after the United States. In 2006, imports from China increased 5.9% to $295 million, while exports to China rose 3.9% to $13.8 million. Almost half of Canada's imports of culture goods from China were printed books.

In 2006, exports to the United Kingdom dropped by almost $31 million from 2005. The value of exports of video, other printed material, newspapers and periodicals, and photography recorded the largest decline. Exports of culture goods to the United Kingdom nevertheless remained the second largest for the seventh consecutive year. Canada exported mainly books and videos to the United Kingdom.

Exports to France were the third largest, books accounting for 60% of them.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 5088.

Detailed and summary data tables for the culture goods trade, by culture category and subcategory, along with cross-tabulations of trade between Canada and selected countries in table format (87-007-XWE, free) are now available on our website from the Publications module. These tables have been created based on the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics (81-595-MIE2004021, free). The Culture Goods Trade Data User Guide (81-595-MIE2006040, free) is also available.

Data users can also request custom tabulations on a cost-recovery basis.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-307-3382; 613-951-5418; fax: 613-951-1333; culture@statcan.gc.ca), Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics.