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The U.S. Capitol is seen on the first morning of a partial government shutdown on Dec. 22, 2018.J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press

Statistics Canada is warning that the partial shutdown of the U.S. government could have an impact on the agency’s ability to release a complete picture of trade between North America’s largest trading partners.

Each country has been using the other’s import data to produce its export statistics since 1990.

U.S. imports from Canada reported to U.S. Customs and Border Protection are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and sent to Statistics Canada to be used as statistics for Canada’s exports to the United States.

Data for November won’t be affected by the shutdown, which started on Dec. 22. However, future months could be affected because data for Canada’s exports to the United States ended with the December numbers.

The United States is Canada’s most important trading partner, with about 75 per cent of Canada’s total merchandise exports destined for the country, while Canada is the top export destination for U.S. goods, accounting for about 18 per cent of total U.S. merchandise exports.

The statistics agencies of each country normally publish trade statistics simultaneously on predetermined dates.

“The sharing of import data, which is generally preferred because of the greater scrutiny import shipments are subject to by customs agencies, helps to ensure accurate and coherent bilateral trade statistics, while reducing the administrative burden on exporting companies,” Statistics Canada said in a statement on Thursday.

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