Statistics Canada says the trade deficit for March increased to a record $4.1 billion as imports also reached a record high.
The agency says the result compared with a trade deficit of $2.9 billion in February.
Canadian imports climbed 6% to $51.7 billion in March due to the motor vehicles and parts sector as well as consumer goods.
Meanwhile, exports increased 3.7% to $47.6 billion boosted by the aircraft and other transportation equipment and parts sector as well as farm, fishing and intermediate food products and energy products.
Exports excluding energy products rose 3.6%.
In volume terms, imports rose 5.3% and exports grew 3%.
Canada’s trade numbers shouldn’t be written off as bad news, CIBC World Markets senior economist Royce Mendes said in a note, since two-way trade rose significantly. “The news on a wider trade deficit is weighing on the Canadian dollar, but this report actually seems like good news from a GDP perspective given what it implies for domestic demand.”
U.S. trade deficit falls to $49 billion
Record exports trimmed the U.S. trade deficit in March, the first drop in seven months in a massive gap that President Donald Trump is determined to shrink with an aggressive America first policy.
The Commerce Department says the trade deficit—the difference between what America sells and what it buys in foreign markets—slid to $49 billion, down from $57.7 billion in February and the lowest since September.
Trump has vowed to bring down America’s massive deficits, which he blames on bad trade agreements and abusive practices by U.S. trading partners.
Exports rose in March to a record $208.5 billion, led by shipments of civilian aircraft and soybeans. Imports slipped 1.8% to $257.5 billion.
The United States ran a $20.5 billion surplus in the trade of services such as education and banking. But that was offset by a $69.5 billion deficit in the trade of goods.
Top administration officials are visiting Beijing this week for talks aimed at reducing America’s huge trade deficit in goods with China, which fell 11.6% in March to $25.9 billion. Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products, and the Chinese have targeted $50 billion in U.S. products, including soybeans and small aircraft.
The administration is also seeking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, and has slapped tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Despite the reduction in March, the trade gap is up 18.5% to $163.4 billion so far this year.
The president views trade deficits as a sign of economic weakness that can be brought down by more aggressive trade policies. Most economists say they are caused by bigger economic forces, mainly the fact that the United States consistently spends more than it produces.
The trade gap has continued to rise since Trump entered the White House partly because the U.S. economy is strong and American consumers have an appetite for imported products and the confidence and financial wherewithal to buy them.