Economy - overview: As an affluent, high-tech industrial society, Canada today closely resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards. Since World War II, the impressive growth of the manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy into one primarily industrial and urban. The 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (which includes Mexico) touched off a dramatic increase in trade and economic integration with the US. As a result of the close cross-border relationship, the economic sluggishness in the United States in 2001-02 had a negative impact on the Canadian economy. Real growth averaged nearly 3% during 1993-2000, but declined in 2001, with moderate recovery in 2002. Unemployment is up, with contraction in the manufacturing and natural resource sectors. Nevertheless, given its great natural resources, skilled labor force, and modern capital plant Canada enjoys solid economic prospects. Two shadows loom, the first being the continuing constitutional impasse between English- and French-speaking areas, which has been raising the specter of a split in the federation. Another long-term concern is the flow south to the US of professionals lured by higher pay, lower taxes, and the immense high-tech infrastructure. A key strength in the economy is the substantial trade surplus.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of April 17, 2003
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