Export market research

Market research can help you target your efforts where you are most likely to succeed. Be prepared to take extra steps and pay additional fees when dealing with markets abroad.

  • Conducting market research
    Learn more about market research, how it can improve your business decisions, and how to conduct a market research campaign.
  • International markets
    Discover new markets for your products and services by studying foreign market reports and international statistics.
  • Importing and exporting
    Find Canadian and foreign trade statistics and other information that can help you to grow your business.
  • 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.
  • Technical barriers to trade
    If you are considering an export opportunity, identify potential trade barriers before pursuing the market.
  • Country information — Export Development Canada
    Find profiles of foreign countries, as well as information on EDC resources available for each country.
  • Market reports — Canadian Trade Commissioner
    Access key market intelligence by industry and by region and discover new global market opportunities. Registration is required.
  • Country Insights
    Get cultural, demographic, and political information on countries with whom you would like to conduct business.
  • Market analysis tools
    Access these powerful tools to track global trade and international markets and to help you in your market analyses. Registration is required.
  • Priority markets
    Learn more about the export markets identified as offering the best opportunities for Canadian businesses.


Foreign buyers can be charged duty to buy your products. This factor could influence their decision about whether to buy from you or from someone else. Knowing this information in advance will help you find markets where you can be more competitive and will assist you in establishing your pricing strategy. To find tariff information for other countries, you will need to know the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System code of your product. It's also good to know which countries have favourable market conditions, like free trade agreements.

Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System assigns a six-digit number to each basic commodity. This classification is used by customs officials around the world to determine the duties, taxes and regulations that apply to products entering their country.

Countries are allowed to add additional digits to the numbers for statistical purposes. In Canada, two additional digits are added for exports, and four additional digits are added for imports. The United States uses a ten-digit system for both exports and imports.

Online resources can help you determine the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding HS codes of your goods.

  • Canadian export classification
    Find the harmonized system (HS) code you need to assign to the goods you wish to export.
  • Customs Tariff
    Use the Customs Tariff to determine the classification of your imported and exported goods and the rate of duty you may need to pay on your imports.

International trade agreements

Trade agreements help to eliminate or reduce tariffs on Canadian exports, which can increase your competitiveness in foreign markets.

Canada has free trade agreements with several countries including the United States, Mexico, Columbia, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Peru, Israel, Jordan, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland.

Agreements with other countries are being negotiated to help improve your access to more global markets.

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