The auto industry was the biggest trade driver between Canada and the U.S. in 2016, data released Monday from Statistics Canada shows.

By state, Michigan was the biggest U.S. trade destination for Canada, with motor vehicles accounting for over half of exports last year. Big auto distribution centres in California helped the state become Canada’s second-biggest export partner in 2016, with motor vehicles accounting for two-thirds of exports.

Overall, vehicles and parts accounted for more than one-fifth of all traded commodities between Canada and the U.S.

Another big trading state for Canada was Illinois, which accounted  for almost 10 per cent of Canada’s total U.S. exports.  The main commodity exported to the state last year was crude oil. Illinois was also a key import destination for Canada, with nearly seven per cent of Canada's total imports from the U.S. coming from the state, with the biggest commodity imported being diluents for crude bitumem.

Texas was also important to Canadian trading activity the U.S., with exports to Texas totaling $22 billion in 2016 and imports amounting to $18 billion, with crude oil being the dominant resource traded.

Despite strong regional trade activity, total merchandise trade between the two countries was $673 billion in 2016 overall, down slightly from the $688 billion traded the year before.