More than $87 million in Idaho goods and services flowed across the 45-mile-wide border into Canada two years ago. That makes Canada Idaho's biggest trading partner, a Canadian economics expert says.

Arthur Goddard, political, economic and academic relations officer for the Canadian consulate general, attended the 12th annual Inland Business Outlook Conference recently. He was there to drum up local support for the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada.Phosphate rock, vegetable products, chemicals, lumber and kitchen utensils are among Idaho products that head north.

Idahoans buy about $76 million in petroleum products, newsprint and other Canadian goods but sell 14 percent more to Canadians than they buy, Goddard said. Nationwide, Canada is the United States' best customer, buying more American exports than all the European Economic Community countries combined.

But Canada's national election became a stormy referendum on the trade agreement. Many Canadians bitterly oppose the agreement, arguing that Canada's national identity could be smothered by its more-powerful neighbor, Goddard said. He acknowledged the controversy but said the majority party has been gaining some of the ground that it lost earlier.