Opportunity 2013: Your Best Export Bets

It all depends on what you're selling: Autoparts? Head for Brazil. Financial services? Buon giorno, Italia. Here's who wants what from us, and why.

Written by PROFIT staff


Total imports from Canada in US$ Change since 2006
$19B +86%

United Kingdom

Britain is spending big to recover more oil and gas from its aging North Sea wells, and welcomes Canadian expertise in this area. Britain is also keen on offshore wind energy, creating a need for seabed-mapping and construction services. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s huge pharmaceutical sector is outsourcing functions such as clinical trials, for which Canada’s advanced health-care system, competitive cost and multicultural population make it the ideal location.

$330B -8%*

United States

The rebounding U.S. housing industry’s hunger for lumber will make forestry our fastest-growing export sector in 2013, forecasts Export Development Canada. Canadians also can do very well providing outsourced research, manufacturing and clinical-trial management to the U.S. life-sciences industry; information-security and e-learning tech to governments and IT firms; and efficiency technologies for water-supply systems in drought-prone areas.

$819M +73%


This country has US$60 billion worth of large projects on the go or in the pipeline for airports, roads and hospitals—an opening for suppliers of infrastructure expertise and equipment. Chile also expects US$50 billion of additional investment in its booming mining sector over the next decade, driving demand for engineering and project-management services. And Chile’s privatized power utilities need help building plants and transmission systems.

$1.3B +132%


As Turkey privatizes its fast-growing power-generation and distribution systems, the new entities are in the market for construction, financial and environmental services. The country also is a big consumer (but shrinking producer) of pulse crops such as lentils, a field in which Canada is a key exporter. And as Turkey begins to exploit its vast mineral resources, our deep mining expertise places us well to supply engineering, lab work and environmental studies.

$839M +55%


Thailand is spending US$10 billion to ramp up its flood-control systems to avoid a repeat of the 2011 flooding that submerged two-thirds of the country. That’s an opportunity for firms with expertise in big infrastructure projects. As Asia’s second-largest food exporter, the country also has a fast-rising demand for food-processing, storage and packaging equipment. And the booming consumer-electronics sector needs raw materials and components.

$17B +116%


Food exporters can tap soaring demand from China’s burgeoning middle class for organic and health foods, and packaged ready-to-eat and takeaway products. The country also is pushing hard to green its economy, making it hungry for technologies to reduce air pollution and manage wastewater . And China’s manufacturers are anxious to upgrade inefficient logistics systems—an opening for supply-chain managers.

Country change in imports, by product category, 2006-2011

  • Brazil

    Automotive products (+280%)

  • Italy

    Financial services (+423%)
    Integrated circuits & electronic components (+223%)

  • Nigeria

    Fuel (+4,121%)

  • Egypt

    Food (+245%)

  • Russia

    Telecomm services (+179%)
    Computer & information services (+297%)

  • South Korea

    Construction services (+136%)

Sources: Export Development Canada, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and World Trade Organization

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