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, using resources and talents where the most income is produced. 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 2013, Manitoba exports to the world totalled $12.6 billion and represented 24.2 per cent of its total GDP.
In comparison to the national scale, Manitoba’s export proportions are lower and therefore show evidence of less global competitiveness. Manitoba’s import activity at 37 per cent of GDP 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
Source: Statistics Canada and Conference Board of Canada, Spring 2014
Total Imports as a Per Cent of GDP: Manitoba and Canada