Types of Trade

Trade can be between countries or between regions within a country and can consist of trade in goods (merchandise or commodities) or trade in services (for example, legal services, tourism or computer programming).

Trade between countries is termed international trade and, in Canada, trade between provinces is called interprovincial trade.

Merchandise Trade: Exports

For merchandise trade, exports are split into domestic exports and re-exports. Domestic exports include goods grown, extracted, processed or manufactured in Canada, including goods of foreign origin that have been materially transformed in Canada and for which customs documents must be filed, which are destined for foreign market(s).

Re-exports are exports of goods of foreign origin which have not been materially transformed in Canada, including foreign goods withdrawn for export from bonded customs warehouses.

Total exports are the sum of domestic exports and re-exports. When BC Stats reports exports from the province, it generally reports domestic exports, since this figure better reflects the performance of the industries within the province itself. Exports including re-exports would be the preferred figure if one were interested in things such as port activity or transportation and storage.

Merchandise Trade: Imports

Merchandise imports include all goods that have crossed Canada's territorial boundary, whether for immediate consumption in Canada or stored in bonded customs warehouses. Imports include "re-imports", or goods that were extracted or manufactured in Canada and were not materially transformed elsewhere.

The Balance of Trade

The net of total exports minus imports is the balance of trade. A positive balance of trade is called a trade surplus and a negative balance is a trade deficit.