Maybe you're ready to expand your business beyond provincial or national borders. Find out what you need to do business internationally, including exporting and importing.
How to export your products or services
Plan your export approach
Before you start: do you want to take a market-driven or product / service driven approach to exporting?
- Market-driven approach: look at what the foreign market wants, and plan how to get the right product or service to fill their need
- Product/service-driven approach: Find a foreign country to sell the product or service you already have
Create an international business plan
Your international business plan will help you decide if exporting is worth the risk. Make sure you consider:
- Your target market
- Their population and demographics
- The market demand and needs
- The country
- The market's legal considerations
- Currency and commercial risks
- Delivery logistics
- Financial implications
Register for a Canada Revenue Agency import-export program account
Your products could get delayed at the border unless you register for an import-export account with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Make sure you use the right Harmonized System (HS) codes
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (or HS) is the standardized six-digit coding system of names and numbers used by over 200 countries in international trade. Importers and exporters must declare their products using the right codes.
More information on exporting
- Is your company export ready? The Government of Alberta's albertacanada.com has a guide to finding out if your company is ready to export, including human resources, financial and legal considerations, logistics, transportation, and more.
- Intellectual property for exporting businesses: Canadian Intellectual Property Office can help you protect your intellectual property internationally before you export your goods.
- Exporting goods from Canada: Canada Border Services Agency's brochure will help you track and report your exports out of Canada.
- Step-by-step guide to exporting commercial goods from Canada: The Canada Border Services Agency offers a detailed guide to exporting, including how to prepare, declare, classify, ship, and report your exported goods.
- Export Development Canada: This federal crown corporation provides insurance and financial services, bonding products, and small business solutions for Canadian exporters.
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service: Has in-depth information about international markets and business sectors to help you plan your exports. They also have magazines, webinars, events, and guides on exporting from Canada.
- Export Controls: Find out what permits and certificates you need to export your goods.
- Credit management for exporters: Make sure you get paid when doing business internationally. This guide from Export Development Canada will help you establish a strong international credit management plan.
- Hiring a customs broker: Customs brokers can work with the Canada Border Services Agency on your behalf to ensure you receive the most favourable customs duty rate available. Find a customs broker at the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers.
- Export tools: This collection of brochures from the Government of Canada will introduce you to the government organizations that can help you export your products, including the Trade Commissioner, Canadian Commercial Corporation, Export Development Canada, and the Business Development Bank of Canada.
- Freight forwarders can also help you manage export transportation logistics
How to import goods or services into Canada
- TFO Canada's step-by-step guide to importing for Canadian entrepreneurs: This guide will help you research, find suppliers, plan for tariffs, and organize shipping for imported goods
- Canada Border Services Agency's step-by-step guide to importing commercial goods into Canada: Learn how to prepare for importing, classify your goods, determine duties and taxes, and ship your goods.
- Importing commercial goods into Canada: This guide from the Canada Border Services Agency will help you plan for the tariffs, forms, and procedures you need to follow to import goods into Canada.
- Checklist for importing commercial goods into Canada: This easy-to-follow checklist from Canada Border Services Agency will help you make sure you've covered all the bases before you import goods into Canada.
Still have questions?
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