Total imports include all goods which have entered Canada or the United States, by crossing territorial (customs) borders, whether for immediate domestic consumption or for storage in custom bonded warehouses.
In the case of Canada, re-imports are included. These are goods that have re-entered Canada after having been exported abroad, without having been materially altered or substantially enhanced in value while abroad.
In the case of the United States, "General imports" are employed and goods entering the "U.S. Foreign trade Zones" are included, as well as those destined for bonded warehouses. The term "general imports" is used to distinguish them from "imports for consumption", which only reflect goods entering into the U.S. consumption channels.
Total exports include all goods leaving the country, through customs, for a foreign destination. It consists of the sum of domestic exports and re-exports.
Total exports = Domestic exports + Re-exports
Domestic exports consist of the exports of all goods grown, produced, extracted or manufactured in Canada or the United States, leaving the country, through customs, for a foreign destination.
Exports of imported merchandise which has been substantially enhanced in value are also included.
Re-exports (called "foreign exports" in the U.S.) refer to the export of goods that have previously entered Canada or the United States and are leaving in the same condition as when first imported.
Exports of imported merchandise, which has been minimally processed but not substantially enhanced in value, are also counted as re-exports.
The balance of trade represents the difference between exports and imports of goods between the trader and one (or more) of its international trading partners.
Trade balance = Total exports - Total imports
- Trade deficit - The trade balance is negative if the trader imports more goods than it exports.
- Trade surplus - The trade balance is positive if the trader exports more goods than it imports.