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How Canadian Businesses Succeed By Exhibiting At U.S. Trade Shows

If you are a Canadian company looking for new customers to buy from you, look no further than the aisles of trade shows in the United States.

Exhibiting in the U.S.

The trade relationship between Canada and the United States is the second largest trade relationship between the more than 200 countries in the world.  Which may be a surprise, when you realize that Canada has only the 37th largest population in the world (the U.S. is 3rd).  Fully 75% of Canadian exports go to the United States!

Manufactured goods are the lion’s share of this tsunami of trade.  While it’s true that much of Canadian manufacturing consists of branch plants for U.S. firms, there are still many Canadian-owned firms making their own exportable products headquartered in Canada.  Plus, agricultural and services imports from Canada into the U.S. are also strong.

Let’s look at some of the leading Canadian industries exporting to the U.S., and just a few of the major U.S. shows that host markets for those industries.  These figures come from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and are for 2015:


MANUFACTURING (US $295 Billion Total)
Mineral Fuels (US $70 Billion) OTC, SEG Annual Meeting, Subsea Tieback Forum & Exhibition
Vehicles (US $55 Billion) SEMA, AAPEX, NBAA Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, HAI Heli-Expo, NADA, Great American Trucking Show, NAFA
Machinery (US $20 Billion) FABTECH, AHR, WESTEC, SOUTHTEC, Fastener, plus many specialty shows
Plastics (US $11 billion) NPE (National Plastics Expo), AWFS
AGRICULTURE (US $22 Billion Total)
Snack Foods (US $3.7 Billion) SNAXPO, Sweets and Snacks Expo, NACS Show
Meats, Animals, Vegetable Oils, Fruits & Vegetables    (US $7 Billion) World Dairy Expo, IPPE, Summer Fancy Foods Show, Fresh Summit, Natural Products Expo East, Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show
SERVICES (US $30.2 Billion Total)
Travel DEMA Show, HX: The Hotel Experience
Transportation Aviation Week MRO Americas Conference & Exhibition
Telecommunications, Computer, & Information Services CES, NAB, InfoComm, E3, CTIA, CEDIA, SC: High Performance Computing, OFC, IWCE, Interop Las Vegas


And this list – selected shows from the largest 250 U.S. shows (according to is just for starters.  For manufacturers, there are many, many other specialty shows that are the largest events in North America for companies in their industry.


With the Canadian Dollar now near an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, that makes Canadian products an even better value for U.S. buyers.


So if you’re looking for a great place to find more buyers for your Canadian products, get your passport and head to a U.S. trade show!

About the Author

Brian Gordon was a founding partner of Skyline Toronto before his retirement in 2018.

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