OTTAWA, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- With energy accounting for the bulk of Canada's exports, Trade Minister Ed Fast said new markets were vital to diversifying the nation's economy.
The Canadian Trade Ministry said exports of crude oil grew 8.1 percent overall and generated more than $70 billion for the economy last year. It said exports of energy products overall brought in more than $115 billion.
"Canada is a trading nation, and increased trade leads to new jobs and opportunities for all Canadians," he said in a statement Wednesday. "That's why our government continues to work hard to open new markets and trade routes for our priority export commodities."
Fast's office said 91.4 percent of all energy exports currently target the U.S. market.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sought to diversify Canadian exports by encouraging more energy trade with Asian markets.
The National Energy Board, the Canadian regulator, said in a 100-page report on the energy sector published in November the country has an estimated 339 billion barrels of crude oil reserves.