Consumer Products Sector

If your company is in Canada’s consumer products sector, Canada’s free trade agreements (FTAs) and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) are creating opportunities for businesses like yours.

Consumer products encompass a wide array of manufactured goods that are purchased primarily for personal, family and/or household purposes and include such diverse products as food, beverages, apparel, textiles, cosmetics, furniture, printed products and household appliances.

From years of experience, Canada’s consumer products sector has developed globally recognized skills and techniques, especially in the apparel, textiles and personal care subsectors. An example of Canadian-made technology and expertise marketed beyond Canada is a proprietary enzymatic process that turns organic fibres into soft, durable ecofriendly fabrics for use in applications such as apparel and footwear. Other uses include military and automotive applications.

In 2011 Canada’s consumer products exports accounted for 12.3 percent ($55 billion) of Canada’s total merchandise exports. Of that percentage, food and beverages accounted for 42.5 percent, while paper and paperboard products accounted for another 30.7 percent. The United States is the main export destination for consumer products followed by China (including Hong Kong), South Korea, Germany and the Netherlands.

Taken together, the Canadian consumer product industries account for close to a third of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and 35 percent of employment. That is why the Government of Canada is ensuring that the needs of companies in this sector are reflected in bilateral government-to-government commercial agreements such as FTAs and FIPAs.

Examples of such agreements include:

  • The Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement, implemented in August 2009.
    Between 2009 and 2012, Canadian exports of consumer products grew by 5.3 percent to reach $42.4 million.
  • The Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement, implemented in November 2002.
    The agreement eliminated tariffs on textiles, apparel and footwear. Since its entry into force, Canadian exports of consumer products to Costa Rica have increased by more than a third to $49.9 million.
  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), implemented in January 1994.
    In the years following implementation, Canadian exports of consumer products to its NAFTA partners have nearly doubled from $21.5 billion in 1993 to $41.8 in 2012.

For more information about new international business opportunities and how Canada’s FTAs and FIPAs can help your company in a particular market, please contact a trade commissioner or check out the Trade Commissioner Service website.