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Culture Goods Trade (2008)

January 16, 201016 January 2010

Culture and international trade

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Statistics Canada provides raw data annually on trade in culture goods and services. There are separate data tables for culture goods and culture services. The most recent culture goods trade tables, providing data from 2008, were released in October 2009. Hill Strategies Research has analyzed this raw data for this issue of the Arts Research Monitor.

Statistics Canada’s definition of culture goods includes “books, magazines, newspapers, postcards, calendars, films, videos, digital videodiscs (DVDs), sheet music, compact discs (CDs), cassettes, vinyl long-playing phonograph records (LPs), paintings (original and reproductions), photographs, sculptures, ornaments and figurines, architectural plans, designs and drawings, advertising materials, museum exhibits, coin and stamp collections, and antiques. Unrecorded media, such as blank CDs, are not included.”

In 2008, total exports of culture goods amounted to $1.7 billion, a deficit of $2.4 billion when compared with the $4.1 billion in imports in that year. While there has been a large trade deficit in culture goods since 2000, this is the largest deficit during the period. In fact, the culture goods deficit is 45% higher than in 2000.

Most of the increase in the culture goods deficit has come since 2005, when it stood at $1.7 billion. Most of this increase was due to lower exports: exports decreased by $664 million (or 28%) between 2005 and 2008. During the same period, culture goods imports increased by 1%. (These figures have not been adjusted for inflation.)

Since 2005, there has been a sharp decrease in the trade surplus for advertising, which has contributed to the overall increase in the culture goods deficit. There has also been a sharp increase in the trade deficit for newspapers and periodicals, other printed materials, and video.

Among culture goods sectors, the largest exports in 2008 were in publishing ($628 million, including books, newspapers and periodicals, and other printed materials). Despite the relatively high level of exports, imports of published goods ($2.9 billion in 2008) were much higher than exports. The second-largest export area was film and video ($506 million). Film and video imports ($327 million) were lower than the level of exports. (Film production and distribution services are excluded from this data but are captured in separate culture services data.) Exports of original Canadian works of visual art totalled $74 million, while imports of original foreign works equalled $177 million in 2008.

Culture goods trade with the United States represents 80% of total culture goods trade, including 89% of exports and 75% of imports. In 2008, Canada had a culture goods trade deficit with the United States of $1.5 billion.

Although far behind the U.S., China is Canada’s second-largest culture goods trading partner. China represents 6% of total culture goods trade. Trade with China accounts for 8% of imports but only 1% of exports, resulting in a large culture goods trade deficit with China ($330 million). France and the United Kingdom each account for 3% of total culture goods trade, while Germany represents 1% culture goods trade. Canada has a culture goods trade deficit with all of these countries.

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