A high share of exports and imports in total output suggest an outward looking, culturally aware community, open to the world. Taken together, imports and exports as a share of GDP are an accepted measure of the openness of the economy. Exports demonstrate the ability to compete globally and imports indicate specialization. Merchandise exports do not include service exports.
Imports allow an economy to specialize and use resources and talents where it produces most income. Imports sustain export competitiveness and maintain competitive pressure on prices in the domestic economy.
A growing share of income in Manitoba was generated by exports over the last 10 years. This was most evident from 2005 to 2008, when Manitoba exports grew from 26 per cent to 33 per cent of GDP. Partly driven by the favourable U.S. exchange rate, Manitoba exports grew rapidly during this period. In 2012, Manitoba exports to the world totalled $11.1 billion and represented 26.5 per cent of its total GDP.
In comparison to the national scale, Manitoba’s export proportions are lower. And at 46 per cent of GDP, Manitoba’s import activity is above the national measure and is becoming more specialized than the rest of the nation—especially over the last few years.
Total Exports as a Per Cent of GDP: Manitoba and Canada
Total Imports as a Per Cent of GDP: Manitoba and Canada