There are many opportunities for Canadian businesses to enter markets outside of Canada, but the exporting process can sometimes seem overwhelming. There are a number of different rules and regulations that you need to be aware of as you navigate this process and start selling your goods around the world.
Canadian Government requirements and processes
When exporting commercial goods from Canada, you will generally need to:
- Have a Business Number with an import-export account
- Determine the country of origin of the goods (are they produced in Canada or somewhere else?) and potentially complete a Canadian certificate of origin
- Find out if the goods can be exported or if they are prohibited or restricted in any way
- Find out if you need an export permit
- Classify the goods according to the Harmonized System (HS codes) or the Canadian Tariff Classification Number
- Report your exports to Canada Border Services Agency
- Ship your goods, which could involve an inspection of your shipment by Canada Border Services Agency and could bring about penalties, if you do not comply with customs requirements
You will need to obtain a Business Number and learn about the exporting requirements of the Canadian government.
- Permits and licences
Find the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal permits and licences that you may need to start or manage your business.
- Business Number (BN)
Your Business Number is your single account number for dealing with the government regarding GST/HST, payroll, import/export and other activities.
- Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods
Use this one-pager as a reminder of the key steps involved in exporting your goods.
- Exporting goods from Canada: A handy guide
Get a detailed overview of the process of exporting commercial goods from Canada.
- Canadian Economic Sanctions
Be aware of the Canadian sanctions that prohibit or restrict economic activity with specific countries, organizations and individuals.
- Export and import controls
Get permission to export or import products related to agriculture, firearms, logs, softwood lumber, steel, textiles, clothing, the military and more.
- Foreign Trade Zone
These officially designated areas offer tariff and tax exemptions on the purchase or importation of raw materials, components or finished goods.
Importing country requirements
In addition to complying with Canadian government requirements, you will also need to know the requirements of the importing country. For example:
- What paperwork is required at the border?
- Do you need a certificate of origin?
- Are there any restrictions on your product?
- Are you required to comply with local labelling requirements?
These information services are a good starting point for understanding and staying up to date on the requirements of importing countries.
- TradeCert Online Export Documentation System
Get Certificates of Origin for your exports online from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. There is a fee and you must register for this service.
- Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS)
Get market and sector-specific information, access to Canadian trade commissioners' contact information and a list of events through the TCS website.
- NAFTA Cross Border Movement of Business Persons
Learn about temporary entry into the United States and Mexico as a business person under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Exporting to the United States
Learn how to export to the U.S. Find information on the American market, NAFTA, customs procedures, and border security.
- CE product mark for European Conformity
Exporting to Europe? Find out how to ensure and prove your product meets applicable health, safety, and environmental requirements.
- Exporting to the EU — A Guide for Canadian Business
Exporting to the European Union? Learn about the legislation affecting your exports to Europe, including CE marking, duties and regulations.
- eCertify — Electronic certification of export documents
Save time and money while increasing compliance and productivity by obtaining an electronic certificate of origin for your export documents.
- The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation
If you handle the personal data of EU residents while exporting goods or services to them, these regulations may apply to you.
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