Discussion paper

DP7609 Do trade missions increase trade?

In an effort to stimulate trade, Canada has conducted regular trade missions starting in 1994, often led by the Prime Minister. According to the Canadian government, these missions generated tens of billions of dollars in new business deals. This paper uses bilateral trade data to assess this claim. We find that Canada exports and imports above-normal amounts to the countries to which it sent trade missions. However, the missions do not seem to have caused an increase in trade. In the preferred specification, incorporating country-pair fixed effects, trade missions have small, negative, and mainly insignificant effects.


Head, K and J Ries (2009), ‘DP7609 Do trade missions increase trade?‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 7609. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp7609