As an affluent, high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and affluent living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US its principal trading partner.
Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with the US, which absorbs about three-fourths of Canadian exports each year. Canada is the US’s largest foreign supplier of energy, including oil, gas, uranium, and electric power. Given its great natural resources, highly skilled labor force, and modern capital plant, Canada enjoyed solid economic growth from 1993 through 2007. Buffeted by the global economiccrisis, the economy dropped into a sharp recession in the final months of 2008, and Ottawa posted its first fiscal deficit in 2009 after 12 years of surplus. Canada”s major banks, however, emerged from the financial crisis of 2008-09 among the strongest in the world, owing to the financial sector”s tradition of conservative lending practices and strong capitalization. Canada achieved marginal growth in 2010 and 2011 and plans to balance the budget by 2015. In addition, the country”s petroleum sector is rapidly becoming an even larger economic driver with Alberta”s oil sands significantly boosting Canada”s proven oil reserves, ranking the country third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
Source: CIA – The World Factbook