Growing Exports of Canadian Manufactured Goods

Besides accounting for more than one tenth of Canada’s total GDP, the country’s manufacturing sector exports more than $354 billion each year, comprising 68% of all of the country’s merchandise exports. Through our advocacy efforts and program services, CME is determined to further engage industry and government to reinvigorate Canadian exports and expand Canada’s opportunities for future growth.

As part of CME’s mission to unlock Canada’s export potential, we work with both private and public sector partners to help manufacturers explore, access, and navigate domestic and foreign markets. CME’s export-related services and offerings continue to expand, including industry-specific events, networking opportunities, peer councils, training, and other resources.

Why It Matters

Canadian companies need customers and suppliers from other markets to grow and subsequently drive investment, job creation, and prosperity for all Canadians. As a small market with a small consumer base in the broader global context, Canada has been declining in importance as a trading nation:

  • Canadian value-added manufacturing exports remain largely stagnant, falling behind other advanced economies
  • Canada’s gains in export growth have been offset by massive increases in imports and widening trade deficits
  • Small and medium-sized businesses, limited in size and investment capacity, are unprepared for global competition
  • Canada has an inconsistent track record in leveraging free trade agreements for value-added manufactured exports

Impact on Manufacturers

Positioning Canadian businesses to capitalize on trade and export opportunities will be critical in meeting the government’s objectives of building a stronger, more prosperous middle class and economic base across Canada. CME’s bi-annual Management Issues Survey (MIS) has reported four main obstacles that are preventing manufacturers from expanding their exports:

  • Costs and/or risks to fund new market opportunities
  • Costs of travel to develop business connections
  • Lack of information about markets
  • Difficulty penetrating supply chains

Our Advocacy Work

Our expertise in the area of trade and exports allows CME to offer a wide range of solutions to help manufacturers develop new markets and overcome importing and exporting challenges. Notably, CME played a key role in advising the government throughout the Canada-US-Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA) ratification.
CME also works with governments to ensure that SMEs can benefit from trade agreements by improving access to market intelligence; creating better export-readiness programs; and simplifying government supports.


Our advocacy efforts have resulted in:

  • Getting over $1B in direct supports and capacity building for SMEs to grow exports
  • Defending industry against steel and aluminum tariffs by encouraging retaliatory tariffs
  • Obtaining government support for affected companies through rapid duty deferral program
  • Working with railroad companies and the government to help resolve railway strikes and blockades that affected the movement of manufactured goods and trade
  • Worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the movement of manufacturing personnel across the border



Doubling Value-Added Exports

According to CME’s trade advocacy reports, industry and government should work together to focus resources on areas that will strive towards doubling value-added exports by 2030 – one of the primary objectives of CME’s Industrie 2030 manufacturing strategy for Canada. In gearing up for Canada’s exports, CME seeks to revolve these efforts around three key export pillars:

  • Strengthening Canada’s existing export foundations, with a focus on building from existing trade agreements, especially the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), and leveraging our natural and existing strengths and resources;
  • Scaling up small- and medium-sized companies to support them going global through stronger support programs for domestic investment as well as international growth opportunities; and
  • Attracting foreign direct investment and global production mandates from large multinational companies.

Read CME’s report Stalled Trade: Gearing Up for Canadian Exports for more information.
Learn more about our Member Savings.

CME Services for Manufacturers

Exporting 101 Resources

Exports not only drive growth in output and profitability, but also fuel innovation, product development, and investment opportunities. This one-stop export online resource guide provides manufacturers with the tools and knowledge they need to start accessing new markets and increasing their exports.

Export Peer Councils

CME peer councils offer both experienced and aspiring exporters an opportunity to connect and discuss a variety of trade-related topics – from market entry strategies to supply chain disruptions – all while exploring best practices, policies, and trends in the export sector with the guidance of industry experts.

The Forum For International Trade (FITT) Training Program

The Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing international business training, resources, and professional certification to individuals and businesses.


FITT offer sthe only international business training programs and related professional designation (CITP®|FIBP®) endorsed by the Canadian government. Their international business training solutions have become the standard of excellence for global trade professionals across Canada and around the world.


In keeping with FITT’s mission, they are thrilled to offer CME members 30% off all FITTskills online training from now until Feb 28, 2023.


For more information, contact: Pamela Hyatt, Content Marketing Specialist, FITT, at, 1-613-230-3553 x 112.