Trends in Alberta Agri-Food Exports, No. 14 - Agri-Food Trade with the United States and Mexico since NAFTA, 1994 - 2017

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 The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement among the United States (US), Canada and Mexico designed to remove tariff barriers between the three countries. The NAFTA was established in 1994 and became the World's largest trade agreement. Since then, trade between the three countries has increased significantly. During the past 24 years (1994-2017), Alberta's agri-food exports to the US more than doubled, while exports to Mexico more than quadrupled. Also, agri-food imports from both countries increased substantially.

Historically, Alberta has a positive trade balance, exporting more than importing. As an export oriented province, Alberta has recorded surpluses in agri-food trade with the US and Mexico every year.

  • The US continues to be Alberta’s largest and most important export market for primary agriculture commodities (animals and crops) and value added processed products such as meats and other food products. Historically, the US is the sole export market for Alberta's live cattle (non-purebred) and hogs, and accounts for 70% of all beef exports.
  • Also, the US is Alberta's largest market for imported agri-food products, accounting for almost 65% of all imports. These include mainly vegetables and fruits, beverages (wines and other alcoholic beverages), water and various food and food ingredients.
  • Over the past 24 years, agri-food exports to the US grew from $1.8 billion in 1994, to $4.3 billion in 2017. Despite the increase in value, its share of Alberta’s total agri-food exports has been declining, from a record 58% in 2002 to 38% in 2017. The declining share of Alberta's agri-food exports to the US was mainly offset by increased market share in China, Japan and Mexico.
  • Mexico is Alberta's fourth largest export market and second largest import market. Agri-food exports to this market grew, from $109 million in 1994, to $602 million in 2017. Also, imports increased significantly, from $27 million to $326 million. Alberta exports to Mexico included canola seed, beef, wheat and pork. Imports included mainly vegetables and fruits, beer and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Overall, NAFTA has had a positive impact on Alberta's agri-food trade with the US and Mexico.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Barbara Pekalski.
This document is maintained by Rita Splawinski.
This information published to the web on March 8, 2018.