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Study: International trade in environmental and clean technology products by origin and destination, 2007 to 2017

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Released: 2019-02-18

This study looks at the international exports and imports of environmental and clean technology (ECT) products from 2007 to 2017 by region and country of origin and destination. It also explains the methodology and the data sources used.

International trade in ECT products has increased strongly over a period of 10 years, with exports rising from $8.3 billion in 2007 to $12.4 billion in 2017 (+49.6%), compared with 23.3% growth in exports for the overall economy. ECT imports also rose over the same period, from $6.6 billion to $12.1 billion (+83.2%). Imports for the overall economy were up 41.1%.

Canada had a $312 million trade surplus in ECT products, compared with a $48.8 billion trade deficit for the overall economy in 2017.

The majority of the value of Canadian exports of ECT products were destined for the United States. They received $6.3 billion in ECT goods, a further $2.2 billion in re-usable waste products and $783 million in ECT services for a total of $9.3 billion in 2017. The largest single ECT export to the United States was electricity, totalling $2.3 billion. The majority of ECT imports also came from the United States, at a value of $7.4 billion in 2017.

  Note to readers

Environmental protection and clean technology is an activity that takes place in every industry in Canada. Clean technology is defined as any process, good, or service that reduces environmental impacts through: environmental protection activities that prevent, reduce, or eliminate pollution or any other degradation of the environment; resource management activities that result in the more efficient use of natural resources, thus safeguarding against their depletion; or the use of goods that have been adapted to be significantly less energy or resource intensive than the industry standard.

The Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account (ECTPEA) provides a measurement for this sector as it quantifies the size and scope of environmental and clean technology activity in the Canadian economy. Estimates are directly comparable with national results for the Canadian economy. This account and the present study were developed as part of the Federal Clean Technology Data Strategy.

The data presented in this paper are consistent with those presented in the ECTPEA, although minor differences may arise due to revisions in the international trade data.


The study "International Trade in Environmental and Clean Technology Products by Origin and Destination, 2007 to 2017" is now available in Environment Accounts and Statistics Analytical and Technical Paper Series (Catalogue number16-001-M).

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