Numbers Behind the World’s Closest Trade Relationship
Whether we’re discussing the ancient merchants that traversed the legendary Silk Road, or the transfer of goods across modern border lines, trade has always been about building close relationships.
There are many examples of strong and mutually-beneficial trade relationships all throughout history, but one doesn’t have to look far back to find what could be considered the closest bilateral relationship ever known: the one between the United States and Canada.
These two countries are each other’s best customers, and they share the world’s longest international border (5,525 miles long). They are both Western democracies with shared cultural heritage and similar standards of living – and each day, the two countries exchange a whopping US$1.7 billion in goods and services.
Our infographic today highlights numbers and tangible examples behind this lengthy relationship between the U.S. and Canada.
America’s Best Customer
Despite China surpassing Canada in 2015 to become America’s largest trading partner in aggregate, the majority of Chinese trade comes in the form of imports ($462B imports vs. $115B exports). That means China is actually only the third-largest customer of American-made goods, buying about 8% of total U.S. exports in 2016.
The largest buyer of American goods is still north of the border – in fact, Canadians buy about 18% of total U.S. exports, which is more than twice that of China.
Here’s what Canada buys from the U.S.:
|#1||Vehicles & Auto Parts||$48.1 billion|
|#3||Electronic equipment||$23.9 billion|
|#4||Mineral fuels including oil||$15.5 billion|
|#6||Live trees and plants||$9.0 billion|
|#7||Medical, technical equipment||$8.1 billion|
|#8||Aircraft, spacecraft||$7.4 billion|
|#9||Iron or steel products||$5.5 billion|
|#10||Furniture, lighting, signs||$4.9 billion|
Canada is the most important international customer for 36 states – and every day the equivalent trade of all U.S./Japan happens over just one bridge (Ambassador Bridge) between Detroit, MI and Windsor, ON.
Canada’s Best Customer
Americans return the favor in a big way: an incredible 76% of Canadian exports are bought by Americans.
Here’s what the U.S. buys from Canada:
|#1||Vehicles & Auto Parts||$60.1 billion|
|#2||Mineral fuels including oil||$57.6 billion|
|#4||Live trees and plants||$18.9 billion|
|#7||Electronic equipment||$9.4 billion|
|#8||Gems, precious metals||$7.3 billion|
It’s estimated that 78% of Canadian exports to the U.S. are raw materials, parts and components, and services used to create other goods in the United States.
Through many years of trade, the supply chains between the two countries have become highly integrated.
Much of the time, the U.S. is buying raw materials and intermediate goods, which get used in final products destined for domestic and global markets. Many of those even get sold directly back to Canada.
This could be buying Canadian crude to reduce reliance on OPEC, importing low cost hydro electricity during times of heavy rainfall, or using Canada’s steady supply of aluminum to make more environmentally sound vehicles.
Few countries in the world have this kind of economic interdependence – and the history, integration, and value of goods traded makes this arguably the world’s closest bilateral trade relationship.
Ranked: The World’s Top Diamond Mining Countries, by Carats and Value
Who are the leaders in rough diamond production and how much is their diamond output worth?
Ranked: World Diamond Mining By Country, Carat, and Value
Only 22 countries in the world engage in rough diamond production—also known as uncut, raw or natural diamonds—mining for them from deposits within their territories.
This chart, by Sam Parker illustrates the leaders in rough diamond production by weight and value. It uses data from Kimberly Process (an international certification organization) along with estimates by Dr. Ashok Damarupurshad, a precious metals and diamond specialist in South Africa.
Rough Diamond Production, By Weight
Russia takes the top spot as the world’s largest rough diamond producer, mining close to 42 million carats in 2022, well ahead of its peers.
Russia’s large lead over second-place Botswana (24.8 million carats) and third-ranked Canada (16.2 million carats) indicates that the country’s diamond production is circumventing sanctions due to the difficulties in tracing a diamond’s origin.
Here’s a quick breakdown of rough diamond production in the world.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||9,660,233|
|10||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||688,970|
|18||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||3,904|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||3,534|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated.
As with most other resources, (oil, gold, uranium), rough diamond production is distributed unequally. The top 10 rough diamond producing countries by weight account for 99.2% of all rough diamonds mined in 2022.
Diamond Mining, by Country
However, higher carat mined doesn’t necessarily mean better value for the diamond. Other factors like the cut, color, and clarity also influence a diamond’s value.
Here’s a quick breakdown of diamond production by value (USD) in 2022.
|5||🇿🇦 South Africa||$1,538M|
|9||🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||$143M|
|19||🇨🇬 Republic of Congo||$0.20M|
|20||🇨🇮 Cote D'Ivoire||$0.16M|
Note: South Africa’s figures are estimated. Furthermore, numbers have been rounded and may not sum to the total.
Thus, even though Botswana only produced 59% of Russia’s diamond weight in 2022, it had a trade value of nearly $5 billion, approximately 1.5 times higher than Russia’s for the same year.
Another example is Angola, which is ranked 6th in diamond production, but 3rd in diamond value.
Both countries (as well as South Africa, Canada, and Namibia) produce gem-quality rough diamonds versus countries like Russia and the DRC whose diamonds are produced mainly for industrial use.
Which Regions Produce the Most Diamonds in 2022?
Unsurprisingly, Africa is the largest rough diamond producing region, accounting for 51% of output by weight, and 66% by value.
|Rank||Region||Share of Rough|
Diamond Production (%)
|Share of Rough
Diamond Value (%)
However diamond mining in Africa is a relatively recent phenomenon, fewer than 200 years old. Diamonds had been discovered—and prized—as far back as 2,000 years ago in India, later on spreading west to Egyptian pharaohs and the Roman Empire.
By the start of the 20th century, diamond production on a large scale took off: first in South Africa, and decades later in other African countries. In fact between 1889–1959, Africa produced 98% of the world’s diamonds.
And in the latter half of the 20th century, the term blood diamond evolved from diamonds mined in African conflict zones used to finance insurgency or crime.
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