A Snapshot: UK-Canada Trade Relations

By Joe Godbold
© James Wheeler/pixabay – CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

Joe Godbold

First published: 18 February 2020
Last updated: 18 January 2022


Building on our UK-Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory, we have pulled together all of the relevant information pertaining to UK-Canada trade relations, including UK government announcements relating to all of the latest statistical information around UK-Canada trade, as well as finding all of the latest information around trade and investment, with a UK-Canada focus. 

Period: Four quarters to the end of Q2 2021 (unless specified otherwise)

  • Rank as trading partner (goods and services):
    • 14th trading partner (accounting for 1.7% of total UK trade)
    • 16th largest goods trading partner (accounting for 1.7% of UK goods trade)
    • 15th largest services trading partner (accounting for 1.8% of UK services trade)
  • Rank as export market:
    • 13th largest export market (accounting for 2.0% of total UK exports)
    • 13th largest goods export market (accounting for 1.9% of UK goods exports)
    • 11th largest services export market (accounting for 2.0% of UK services exports)
  • Rank of import market:
    • 19th largest import market (accounting for 1.5% of total UK imports)
    • 16th largest goods import market (accounting for 1.6% of UK goods imports)
    • 18th largest services import market (accounting for 1.4% of UK services imports)
  • Total trade in goods and services: £20.9 billion (decrease of 8.0% or £1.6 billion from previous year)
  • Total UK exports to Canada: £11.6 billion (decrease of 5.5% or £672 million from previous year)
  • Total UK imports from Canada: £9.4 billion (increase of 29.2% or £2.1 billion from previous year)
  • Outward stock of FDI (2019): £32.1 billion (2.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock)
  • Inward stock of FDI (2019): £20.0 billion (1.3% of the total UK inward FDI stock)

For further information, visit DIT’s Trade and Investment Factsheet for Canada.

Latest News about UK-Canada Trade:

  1. The UK sends anti-tank weaponry to Ukraine, while Canada sends special forces. (18/01/2021): https://www.news24.com/news24/world/news/uk-gives-ukraine-anti-tank-weapons-as-canada-sends-special-forces-20220118
  2. Canada has been removed from the safe travel list so people should not travel into the EU for non essential reasons. (17/01/22): https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexledsom/2022/01/17/eu-travel-ban-canada-australia-removed-from-safe-travel-list/?sh=7fe3849f1be3 
  3. FinDev Canada has announced a $13million dollar participation in Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund (EEGF), which is co-funded by aid from the UK government, for development of access to clean energy in Africa. (17/01/2021): https://cceonlinenews.com/2022/01/17/findev-canada-boosts-access-to-clean-energy-in-africa/
  4. Following worldwide government shifts to decarbonise, the global race for lithium will cause a rise in the price of electric car batteries. (15/01/2021): https://inews.co.uk/news/lithium-electric-cars-batteries-rise-cost-vehicles-carbon-neutral-uk-climate-1343403
  5. The TCA between Canada and the UK agreed to start negotiations on a new bilateral trade agreement by 1st April 2022 and finish the negotiations in 2 years. The government planned to hold a consultation process before starting the negotiations. (11/01/22): https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3469e9ca-0a18-49ac-af6e-2b208d03a860
  6. The Canadian Dollar is holding its ground against the Pound, counteracting the UKs handling of how to emerge from the Pandemic, through oil price increases benefitting domestic firms. (11/01/2021): https://www.exchangerates.org.uk/news/34797/2022-01-10-gbp-cad-forecast-pound-canadian-dollar-exchange-rate-rangebound-coronavirus-anxieties-ease.html
  7. Canada’s new environment minister envisages quicker phase out of fossil fuel energy and jobs. (09/01/2022): https://thenarwhal.ca/federal-environment-minister-steven-guilbeault/
  8. The UK, Canada, and other partners have further coordinated in dealing sanctions against Belarus and its government. (07/01/2022): https://www.globalcompliancenews.com/2022/01/07/eu-uk-us-and-canada-coordinate-on-further-sanctions-against-belarus/
  9. The Canadian government announced its biggest trade surplus in more than 13 years in November, with record exports offsetting flooding causing a surge above economists’ predictions. (06/01/2022): https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/canada-trade-surplus-soars-highest-191317619.html
  10. British firms plan to increase company prices by 5% to counteract rising inflation. (06/01/2022): https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/u-k-inflation-builds-with-companies-planning-5-price-increases
  11. Leading energy fund manager, Eric Nuttall, encourages investment in small, non-oil-and-gas Canadian firms. (05/01/2022): https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/stick-canada-2022-top-performing-145808014.html
  12. Trudeau announces a plan for mandatory climate-related financial disclosures from companies. (05/01/2022): https://www.natlawreview.com/article/canada-announces-plan-mandatory-climate-financial-disclosures
  13. Brexit has facilitated the easier UK exports to Canada of haggis, than to the EU. (05/01/2022): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/01/05/brexit-red-tape-means-now-easier-export-haggis-canada-eu/
  14. The NSI Act has come into force today, granting the UK government more powers to vet foreign investment so as to protect national security. (04/01/2022): https://www.theepochtimes.com/new-uk-law-boosts-scrutiny-over-hostile-foreign-takeovers_4192074.html
  15. A conversation with Britain’s High Commissioner to Canada, Susannah Goshko, including details on the currently negotiated FTA, Brexit, and further innovation in science. (30/12/2021): https://ipolitics.ca/2021/12/30/a-conversation-with-british-high-commissioner-susannah-goshko/
  16. Canada and the UK further their renewable drive with massive developments eyed for tidal power. (23/12/2021): https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Tidal-Energy/Canada-And-The-UK-Are-Eyeing-Massive-Tidal-Power-Developments.html
  17. The UK’s new National Security and Investment Act 2021 comes into force on 4 January 2022, affecting investors worldwide, with the UK looking to reassure businesses. (20/12/2021): https://www.ft.com/content/b4c38d21-986c-4eab-a04f-47f946056974
  18. i3 Energy, a UK and Toronto listed Oil and Gas company, is to invest US$47 million into Canadian assets, including participation in 17 new wells. (20/12/2021): https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/905818/i3-energy-is-growing-a-production-base-in-canada-905818.html
  19. After Omicron’s outbreak, Canada is debating a new ban on non-essential travellers, focally considering France’s ban on travellers from Britain. (18/12/2021): https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/12/18/canada-is-still-considering-a-ban-on-non-essential-travellers-sources-say.html
  20. Canada’s food industry must learn from the UK supply-chain crisis. (16/12/2021): https://financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/mark-taylor-canadas-food-industry-must-take-important-lessons-from-the-u-k
  21. The UK Trade Remedies Authority has proposed trade measures for biodiesel, furthering UK FAME production industry protection, but also trade with USA and Canada for HVO (for the benefit of UK agricultural and transport industries). (15/12/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-trade-remedies-authority-proposes-trade-measures-for-biodiesel
  22. Canada-UK trade talks enter a new phase ahead of formally commencing the negotiations on their bilateral FTA in April 2022. (15/12/2021): https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3469e9ca-0a18-49ac-af6e-2b208d03a860
  23. British equities suffer record outflows for 2021, diminishing returns and backfiring for those who bought into the “buy UK” equity trade. (14/12/2021): https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/investment-ideas/article-once-loved-buy-uk-equity-trade-proves-cheap-and-unloved/
  24. Anne-Marie Trevelyan has set out the hopes for Britain’s trade agenda, at a key note speech addressing the beginning of formal negotiations with regions, including Canada. (13/12/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/anne-marie-trevelyan-keynote-address-at-asia-house-global-trade-dialogue
  25. The G7 will look to present a united front against Russia, in light of Russian aggression against Ukraine. (10/12/2021): https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-britain-seeks-g7-show-of-unity-against-russia-over-ukraine-crisis-2/
  26. Octopus Energy, a UK-based energy firm, has secured a $300m investment from Canada Pension Plan, allowing movements into renewable energy for the company. (10/12/2021): https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/dec/10/octopus-energy-raises-long-term-investment-to-value-startup-at-5bn
  27. The Government of Canada has announced $8.7M in funding for four new projects in Vancouver under the National Trade Corridors Fund, which will help to improve operational efficiencies and reduces import and exports costs. (10/12/2021): https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/government-of-canada-invests-in-four-projects-to-increase-efficiency-of-cargo-handling-in-the-lower-mainland-870947076.html
  28. The UK and Canada have joined the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. (09/12/2021): https://www.investing.com/news/world-news/australia-joins-diplomatic-boycott-of-beijing-winter-games-2703564
  29. Liz Truss has set out vision for increased security and defence partnership with Canada, including through cyber security and work in the Arctic. (08/12/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/foreign-secretary-liz-truss-building-the-network-of-liberty
  30. Canadian robo-adviser Wealthsimple’s exit from the UK is expected to usher a further wave of casualties from the “oversaturated” UK market. (06/12/2021): https://www.ftadviser.com/platforms/2021/12/06/wealthsimple-exit-one-of-a-number-of-casualties-to-come/
  31. Canadian infrastructure company, BAI communications, has bought UK private network supplier Vilicom. (03/12/2021): https://www.capacitymedia.com/articles/3830291/private-network-operator-vilicom-bought-by-canadas-bai
  32. The UK has helped broker a deal with the WTO which will lead to a cut cost of global services trade by £113 billion. (02/12/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-helps-broker-groundbreaking-wto-agreement-set-to-cut-cost-of-global-services-trade-by-113-billion
  33. General Fusion – a vancouver based company with plans to commercialise its magnetised target fusion energy technology for a further source of clean electricity – has secured $130 million of funding, including from the UK and Canadian governments. (01/12/2021): https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/general-fusion-funding-magnetized-target-fusion-energy-technology
  34. New support, including from Canada, for UK’s agri-food and drink industry, on the back of “Global Britain”. (30/11/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-support-for-uks-world-leading-agri-food-and-drink-industry
  35. Lords committee on future trade deals highlights legal obstacles down the line in CPTPP deal. (22/11/2021): https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/news-focus-pacific-trade-deal-facing-formidable-legal-obstacles/5110630.article
  36. UK International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, announces plan to boost UK’s overseas trade. (17/11/2021): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59313263
  37. UK trade official states UK ‘on track’ to join CPTPP by 2022. (16/11/2021): https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/Interview/U.K.-on-track-to-join-CPTPP-by-2022-trade-official-says
  38. Canadian Climate Minister, Steven Guilbeaut, reiterates further work big emitters need to do post-COP26. (16/11/2021): https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-nov-16-2021-1.6250538/climate-minister-says-canada-still-needs-to-do-more-but-cop26-brought-victories-1.6251070
  39. The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board has further extended its investments towards a new UK real estate development. (15/11/2021): https://realassets.ipe.com/news/cpp-investments-federated-hermes-create-new-uk-real-estate-partnership/10056348.article
  40. Canadian investment organisation CULT Food Science Corp has made an investment into UK firm 3D Bio-Tissues Limited. (09/11/2021): https://vegconomist.com/investments-acquisitions/canadas-cult-food-science-corp-makes-strategic-investment-into-uks-3d-bio-tissues-ltd/
  41. Following Brexit, the losses for the UK in trade deals are 178 times bigger than gains. (07/11/2021): https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-trade-deals-australia-new-zealand-b1959478.html
  42. Canada and the UK are among 20 countries who agree to stop financing fossil fuels internationally. (04/11/2021): https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/11/04/canada-us-italy-among-20-countries-stop-financing-fossil-fuels-internationally/
  43. The UK and Canada have worked in tandem to secure an increased phase out of coal at COP26, in efforts to ensure a just transition. (03/11/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/end-of-coal-in-sight-as-uk-secures-ambitious-commitments-at-cop26-summit
  44. 12 countries (including the UK and Canada) have pledged $12 billion donor support to support and reverse the forest loss and protect land rights, through the Global Forest Finance Pledge (GFFP). (02/11/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/12-billion-donor-support-to-halt-and-reverse-forest-loss-and-protect-land-rights
  45. Canadian telecommunications firm TELUS takes a stake in iSmash, to provide the financial power to accelerate its UK expansion. (01/11/2021): https://news.sky.com/story/canadian-telecoms-giant-telus-takes-stake-in-tech-repair-chain-ismash-12456993
  46. Following recent monetary policy shifts, investors test bankers’ insistence that elevated inflation will be minimal, betting on a further shift in global monetary policy. (01/11/2021): https://www.ft.com/content/e8fd411b-6adc-4404-9d72-88fc7f9f475e
  47. New appointment of Canadian Environment Minister – Steven Guilbeault – signals switch to greener Canadian tact. (01/11/2021): https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/01/steven-guilbeault-canada-environment-minister-518446
  48. Boris Johnson has met with Justin Trudeau, discussing issues including a new FTA. (30/10/2021): https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/readouts/2021/10/30/prime-minister-justin-trudeau-meets-prime-minister-boris-johnson-united
  49. Canada’s oil industry fears new climate minister – ex-greenpeace activist Steven Guilbeault. (30/10/2021): https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/30/ahead-of-cop26-canadas-oil-industry-fearful-of-new-minister
  50. Canadian Dollar gains are unlikely to be as stellar as markets are expecting, according to a report from the MUFG Bank. (29/10/2021): https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/cad/16124-canadian-dollar-strength-to-fade-says-mufg-despite-hawkish-boc
  51. The Bank of Canada has added to the short-term bond market tumultuation by signalling it could raise rates as soon as the middle of next year. (29/10/2021): https://www.ft.com/content/9c08a498-16be-48dc-b491-3627e0b4aed3
  52. The UK and Canadian space agencies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on joint activities and information sharing on Space. (28/10/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-canada-space-agencies-sign-mou-on-joint-activities-and-information-sharing
  53. Canada has been found to be the largest financier of fossil fuels. (28/10/2021): https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/10/28/news/canada-takes-carbon-crown-when-it-comes-fossil-fuel-financing
  54. Canada and the EU are seeking legislative efforts to impose human rights and due diligence obligations on multinational employers, bringing processes in line with those such as Britain. (28/10/2021): https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/europe-and-canada-seek-to-mandate-human-4289237/
  55. Britain’s latest budget has provided a backdrop to increased trade with Canada, with a £67.6 million cash boost for the Department for Trade designed to be used as part of a program that includes securing a new trade deal with Canada. (28/10/2021): https://bfpg.co.uk/2021/10/spending-review-global-britain/
  56. The Bank of Canada has ended its Quantitative Easing program. (27/10/2021): https://www.cityindex.co.uk/market-analysis/bank-of-canada-ends-quantitative-easing-program/
  57. Companies (including from the UK and Canada) have been outed as using ‘net-zero’ as a smokescreen to delay climate action as part of greenwashing. (27/10/2021): https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/10/27/news/report-outs-companies-big-polluters-ahead-cop26
  58. Canada’s third largest pension fund, OTPP, has slashed its bonds holding, in manhunt for better inflation-hedged returns via real assets, with a global expansion plan including into the UK. (26/10/2021): https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/Canadas_OTPP_cuts_bonds_targets_real_assets_as_inflation_hedge-TR20211026nL8N2RL3CIX1/
  59. Another large Canadian pension fund, CDPQ, plans to invest $12bn in UK and European assets. (26/10/2021): https://todayuknews.com/market/pension-fund-cdpq-plans-to-pour-12bn-into-european-and-uk-assets/
  60. The UK COP26 presidency has published a Climate Finance Delivery program, led by German State Secretary Flasbarth and Canada’s Minister Wilkinson, in delivering a planned trajectory of $100bn per/year in climate finance to support developing countries. (25/10/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-cop26-presidency-publishes-climate-finance-delivery-plan-led-by-german-state-secretary-flasbarth-and-canadas-minister-wilkinson-ahead-of-cop26
  61. The new UK-New Zealand FTA will pave the way for the UK to join the CPTPP bloc. (22/10/2021): https://thediplomat.com/2021/10/the-geopolitics-behind-the-new-zealand-uk-free-trade-agreement/
  62. Rishi Sunak has announced a new scheme to woo foreign talent and back innovative business, with a £1.4bn investment fund being announced in next week’s budget. (24/10/2021): https://www.independent.co.uk/business/new-schemes-to-back-innovative-businesses-and-woo-foreign-talent-b1944207.html
  63. UK and Canadian allies agreed to end export credit support for unabated coal-fired plants at the OECD. (22/10/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-trade-partners-agree-to-end-export-credit-support-for-coal
  64. The UK has offered support to Canada’s statement (here) at 7-8 October 2021 World Trade Organisation General Council. (18/10/2021):https://www.gov.uk/government/news/world-trade-organization-general-council-october-2021-uk-statements
  65. The UK has invited Canadian companies to a bilateral space investment trade mission, in March 2022. (15/10/2021): https://www.events.great.gov.uk/ehome/200231227
  66. At preliminary discussions to MC12 – at a meeting of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) – a topic on “Women and Intellectual Property” has been put forward and co-sponsored by countries including the UK and Canada (14/10/2021): https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/trip_14oct21_e.htm
    • Engaged discussion included on programmes for assisting/promoting women’s participation in the IP system and measures that have proven useful for supporting women entrepreneurs in participating in the IP system
  67. Emma Wade-Smith OBE has been appointed the new HM Trade Commissioner for North America (27/09/2021): https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-hm-consul-general-and-trade-commissioner-for-north-america-announced-by-uk-government
  68. The UK offers to take part in cold-weather exercises and bring in some of its more advanced capabilities such as nuclear-powered submarines to help with surveillance and defence in Canada’s Far North (24/09/2021): https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/britain-uk-canada-arctic-defence-submarines-russia-china-1.6187347
  69. New NDP MP for Nunavut, Lori Idlout, hopes to shift the balance of power in the relationship between her territory and the federal government as the Government of Canada looks to Canada’s North for resources (22/09/2021): https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/new-nunavut-mp-lori-idlout-wants-to-shift-territory-s-relationship-with-federal-government-1.6185424
  70. Federal election results in Canada’s North have produced three Liberal candidates, a New Democrat and a Bloc Quebecois member in the five ridings from Yukon to Labrador; the main issues prominent to these areas are housing, climate change, health care and reconciliation (21/09/2021): https://www.arctictoday.com/liberals-win-most-seats-across-canadas-north/
  71. Trudeau’s victory in the election has secured a new mandate that includes a number of tax-based incentives for climate action, funding for clean energy infrastructure projects and related climate action policies, and investing in global trade (21/09/2021): https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada-election-2021-justin-trudeaus-liberals-party-platform/
  72. HMCS Harry DeWolf​​ begins maiden voyage as the lead vessel of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) to enhance the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) ability to assert Canadian sovereignty in Arctic and coastal Canadian waters, and support international operations as required (09/09/2021): http://www.navy-marine.forces.gc.ca/en/fleet-units/aops-home.page 
    • The Harry DeWolf class of ships (six in total) will expand on the existing affiliation with the Inuit Nunangat in Qikiqtani region of Nunavut (formalized in May 2019) by forming affiliations in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions of Nunavut as well as the Inuvialuit, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut regions.

Joe Godbold is a Global Leadership Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. He is part of the PRPI team behind the UK-Arctic Trade and Investment Observatory, and serves as the lead for Canada.