Canada's cultural trade deficit widening

Imports surpass export for fourth year

TORONTO -- Canadians just can't get enough of Hollywood movies and TV shows.

Canada's trade deficit in cultural goods continued to widen last year as imports from the country's two largest trading partners, the U.S. and China, surpassed exports for the fourth year running, Statistics Canada reported Oct. 10.

The government statistics agency said Canada in 2007 imported just under CAN $4 billion ($3.48 billion) in culture goods, including film, TV shows and books, against CAN $3.9 billion in 2006.

At the same time, exports last year came to just under CAN $2 billion ($1.74 billion), compared to $2.1 billion in 2006.

The U.S. remains Canada's biggest trading partner in culture goods, according to Statscan, as it accounted for 90% of Canada's exports and 75% of imports last year.

The second largest trading partner remains China, which provided 8.3% of imports in 2007, up from a year-earlier 7.5%.

The bulk of cultural goods traded by Canada internationally represents books and other printed product, which accounted for 72% of imports and 36% of exports in 2007, Statscan reported.

The second largest market lies in film and video product, which accounted for 7.5% of imports last year. These were mostly U.S. TV series that dominate prime time TV schedules here, and Hollywood movies that fill screens at the local multiplex.