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Annual international trade in services, 2022

Released: 2023-11-10

Canada's exports and imports of services both increased in 2022, led by the strength of the recovery in international travel. Exports of services totalled $173.0 billion in 2022, a 16.1% gain from 2021, while imports of services into Canada reached $189.0 billion (+25.0%).

Commercial services imports and exports posted modest gains in 2022, following increases through 2020 and 2021—a resilience facilitated by rapid digital transformation in industries in Canada and worldwide. Transportation services imports and exports hit record highs in 2022. Passenger fares contributed the most with the recovery in international travel, followed by marine transport, reflecting international demand for goods coupled with cargo and container rates remaining at historic highs well into 2022.

Chart 1  Chart 1: International trade in services
International trade in services

As a result, Canada's deficit on international transactions in services widened from $2.2 billion in 2021 to $16.0 billion in 2022, compared with a deficit of $15.1 billion in 2019, the year preceding the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel increases in 2022

Exports of travel services increased $17.3 billion to $36.5 billion in 2022. Exports of travel services to the United States, which rose by $6.0 billion to $8.0 billion in 2022, were outpaced by exports to the rest of the world, which rose $11.2 billion to $28.5 billion. Personal travel spending in Canada by residents of countries other than the United States—notably France, Great Britain, Mexico, India and China—rose 60.5% to reach $27.1 billion in 2022, surpassing the 2019 level of $24.7 billion. As tourism recovered, international students' expenditures in Canada also increased significantly and accounted for two-thirds of all personal travel export value in 2022, compared with a share of 46% in 2019. Recent estimates show rising tuition for international students in Canada, with a rising cost of living in Canada also pushing up expenses for students.

Imports of travel services rose from $10.2 billion in 2021 to $37.3 billion in 2022. Travel services' imports from the United States rose from $4.5 billion in 2021 to $22.2 billion in 2022, still below the pre-pandemic high of $25.3 billion in 2019. Travel expenditures by residents of Canada in all other countries (excluding the United States) reached $15.1 billion in 2022, up from $5.7 billion in 2021, but below the $21.6 billion level in 2019.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Services balances
Services balances

Commercial services continues to post gains

Commercial services hit record high values in 2022. Exports were up 2.3% to $115.9 billion following a strong performance in 2020 (+5.8%) and 2021 (+15.2%). Commercial services have proven to be a resilient area within international trade for many globalized economies, including Canada. In the face of substantial pressure, business services traders tended toward digitally delivering many services exports throughout the pandemic. Canada's exports of information and communication technology (ICT) services, which include telecommunication services, computer services, and charges for the use of intellectual property related to computer software, were up a further 0.7% to $26.5 billion in 2022, representing 22.9% of all exports of commercial services. Growth in financial services exports (+10.6%) in 2022 was more pronounced to countries other than the United States (+14.7%) than exports to the United States (+7.4%).

Commercial services imports were up 1.5% in 2022 to $113.9 billion, following an increase of 13.1% in 2021. The growth in 2022 was especially pronounced for management services from both the United States and overseas, followed by computer services, and research and development products. Imports of overall ICT services totalled $20.1 billion in 2022, up 2.9% from $19.5 billion in 2021 and representing 17.6% of all commercial services imports. The increase was concentrated in imports from the United States, as payments to US multinationals for digitally delivered services continued to climb.

Transportation returns to pre-pandemic levels in 2022

Transportation services also reached record highs in 2022. Imports rose 32.8% to $36.1 billion in 2022, nearly twice the level of exports and 10.6% above 2019 levels. Of the nearly $9 billion gain in imported transportation services, $5.5 billion were imports from countries other than the United States. Imports from Hong Kong led the increase, while rising import values from Great Britain, China, Singapore, Germany, Greece, France and the Netherlands also contributed.

Transportation services exports rose 26.9% to $18.9 billion in 2022 (compared with $18.5 billion worth of exports in 2019). Transportation services exports to non-US countries increased $2.4 billion to reach $9.1 billion in 2022, larger than the rise for exports to the United States (+$1.6 billion). Exports to Hong Kong reached a record high, as did exports to Singapore and Taiwan. Gains were also observed for France, Great Britain, and Germany, though exports to these countries remained below pre-pandemic levels.



  Note to readers

This is the annual release of Canada's detailed international transactions in services. This release contains details by country and service category for international transactions in services. Trade in services covers transactions in travel services, transportation services, a range of business and professional services (referred to as commercial services), and government services.

The results for the 2022 reference year are preliminary and were derived from a combination of the latest 2021 benchmark surveys and 2022 quarterly surveys.

Revisions and coverage

Generally, revisions reflect the integration of the most recent information from surveys and administrative data sources. In this release, revisions were applied to reference years 2020 and 2021.

Products

The updated Canada and the World Statistics Hub (Catalogue number13-609-X) is available online. It illustrates the nature and extent of Canada's economic and financial relationship with the world using interactive charts and tables. This product provides easy access to information on trade, investment, employment and travel between Canada and a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, Japan, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-607-X) is available.

The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (Catalogue number13-606-G) is also available. This publication will be updated to maintain its relevance.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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