Friday, 12 July 2013

Economy

Main article: Economy of Canada Nations that have Free Trade Agreements with Canada as of 2009 are in dark blue, while nations in negotiations are in cyan. Canada is green.

Canada is the world's eleventh-largest economy, with a 2012 nominal GDP of approximately US$1.82 trillion. It is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8, and is one of the world's top ten trading nations, with a highly globalized economy. Canada is a mixed economy, ranking above the US and most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom, and experiencing a relatively low level of income disparity. In 2008, Canada's imported goods were worth over $442.9 billion, of which $280.8 billion originated from the United States, $11.7 billion from Japan, and $11.3 billion from the United Kingdom. The country's 2009 trade deficit totalled C$4.8 billion, compared with a C$46.9 billion surplus in 2008.

Since the early 20th century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one. Like many other First World nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three-quarters of the country's workforce. However, Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of its primary sector, in which the logging and petroleum industries are two of the most prominent components.

Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy. Atlantic Canada possesses vast offshore deposits of natural gas, and Alberta also hosts large oil and gas resources. The vastness of the Athabasca oil sands and other assets results in Canada having 13% of the global oil reserves, the world's third-largest, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Canada is additionally one of the world's largest suppliers of agricultural products; the Canadian Prairies are one of the most important global producers of wheat, canola, and other grains. Canada is a major producer of zinc and uranium, and is a leading exporter of many other minerals, such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead. Many towns in northern Canada, where agriculture is difficult, are sustainable because of nearby mines or sources of timber. Canada also has a sizeable manufacturing sector centred in southern Ontario and Quebec, with automobiles and aeronautics representing particularly important industries.

Representatives of the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1992.

Canada's economic integration with the United States has increased significantly since World War II. The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965 opened Canada's borders to trade in the automobile manufacturing industry. In the 1970s, concerns over energy self-sufficiency and foreign ownership in the manufacturing sectors prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government to enact the National Energy Program (NEP) and the Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA). In the 1980s, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives abolished the NEP and changed the name of FIRA to "Investment Canada", to encourage foreign investment. The Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) of 1988 eliminated tariffs between the two countries, while the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expanded the free-trade zone to include Mexico in 1994. In the mid-1990s, Jean Chr├ętien's Liberal government began to post annual budgetary surpluses, and steadily paid down the national debt.

The global financial crisis of 2008 caused a major recession, which led to a significant rise in unemployment in Canada. By October 2009, Canada's national unemployment rate had reached 8.6 percent, with provincial unemployment rates varying from a low of 5.8 percent in Manitoba to a high of 17 percent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Between October 2008 and October 2010, the Canadian labour market lost 162,000 full-time jobs and a total of 224,000 permanent jobs. Canada's federal debt was estimated to total $566.7 billion for the fiscal year 2010–11, up from $463.7 billion in 2008–09. In addition, Canada's net foreign debt rose by $41 billion to $194 billion in the first quarter of 2010. However, Canada's regulated banking sector (comparatively conservative among G8 nations), the federal government's pre-crisis budgetary surpluses, and its long-term policies of lowering the national debt, resulted in a less severe recession compared to other G8 nations. As of 2013, the majority of the Canadian economy has stabilized, although the country remains troubled by slow growth, sensitivity to the Eurozone crisis and higher-than-normal unemployment rates. The federal government and many Canadian industries have also started to expand trade with emerging Asian markets, in an attempt to diversify exports; in 2011, Asia was Canada's second-largest export market, after the United States. Widely debated oil pipeline proposals, in particular, are hoped to increase exports of Canadian oil reserves to China.

Science and technology Main article: Science and technology in Canada The Canadarm robotic manipulator in action on Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-116 mission in 2006.

In 2011, Canada spent approximately C$29.9 billion on domestic research and development. As of 2012, the country has produced fourteen Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine, and was ranked fourth worldwide for scientific research quality in a major 2012 survey of international scientists. It is additionally home to a number of global technology firms. Canada ranks seventeenth in the world for Internet users as a proportion of the population, with over 28.4 million users, equivalent to around 83 percent of its total 2012 population.

The Canadian Space Agency operates a highly active space program, conducting deep-space, planetary, and aviation research, and developing rockets and satellites. Canada was the third country to launch a satellite into space after the USSR and the United States, with the 1962 Alouette 1 launch. In 1984, Marc Garneau became Canada's first astronaut. As of 2013, nine Canadians have flown into space, over the course of fifteen manned missions.

Canada is a participant in the International Space Station (ISS), and is a pioneer in space robotics, having constructed the Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre robotic manipulators for the ISS and NASA's Space Shuttle. Since the 1960s, Canada's aerospace industry has designed and built numerous marques of satellite, including Radarsat-1 and 2, ISIS and MOST. Canada has also produced a successful and widely used sounding rocket, the Black Brant; over 1,000 Black Brants have been launched since the rocket's introduction in 1961.

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