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Trading services with the world

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Canadians are major global traders. The value of what we sell has long been greater than what we buy from overseas. For the most part, this international trade surplus has stemmed from traditional exports such as natural resources and manufactured goods.

Canadian international trade in services recorded another in a long line of deficits in 2006. Companies bought $82.4 billion worth of services abroad and sold $67.2 billion. This record-high $15.2 billion services deficit was mainly the result of larger deficits in travel and transportation services.

Even though foreign tourists have always been drawn to Canada in large numbers, Canadian tourists abroad still outspent them in 2006, by $6.7 billion.

As more and more Canadians travelled abroad in 2006, their spending on transportation provided by non-Canadian carriers really added up, driving the transportation services deficit to $7.1 billion. Higher fuel prices and stronger demand for transportation services contributed to the larger deficit in 2006.

Our international trade in commercial services posted a $2.2 billion deficit in 2006. The commercial services categories with the largest deficits were royalties and licensing fees, and insurance.

Architectural, engineering and technical services, computer and information services, and research and development services all generated surpluses within commercial services, as foreign companies sought out Canadian technological expertise and ingenuity.