According to Statistics Canada, Canada exported $16.3 billion worth of merchandise to China in 2011, and imported more than $48 billion.

Canada mainly exports natural resources to China, and largely imports manufactured goods. This makes the relationship somewhat unusual, says one expert.

“It’s a weird trade pattern,” says Gordon Betcherman, a professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa.

“It’s exactly the pattern you would expect to see between a rich, developed country and a much poorer developing country – except it’s exactly flipped.”

Betcherman says Canada and China’s unorthodox trade relationship is a reflection of Canada’s resource wealth and China’s reputation as “the world’s factory.”

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