Are You Ready?

Whether you are interested in expanding your business by exporting or investing abroad, or importing products from an international market, there are steps you need to take to ensure you are prepared. If you are ready to do business abroad or just assessing your international market potential, here is some valuable information to help you get started.

Thinking of exporting abroad?

The Government of Canada has pledged to support Canadian firms like yours as they pursue opportunities in the global marketplace. Canadian firms of all sizes and in all sectors have successfully exported abroad. Those performing well can expect to see benefits from increased sales, lower market vulnerability and longer product life. Are you ready to compete in the global marketplace?

Why should I export?

Exporting to new markets is one way to grow your business and increase your sales. The more diverse your market, the less vulnerable you will be to downturns resulting from local or regional business cycles or from seasonal sales fluctuations. Also, many products have a natural life cycle in the domestic market. By introducing a product to a new market abroad, you could substantially increase its longevity.

Where to start?

Before you start exporting, it is important to determine whether you are ready. There are many things to consider such as your resources, customer profile and any product modifications that may be needed to fit the customer abroad, as well some other factors that are important in the evaluation process. View the Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting and begin exporting to your next market.

How do I choose an export market?

Canada has free trade agreements (FTAs) in force with more than 10 countries that provide a competitive advantage across a wide range of sectors. In addition, Canada has begun trade negotiations with more than 60 countries, including some of the world’s key markets. Whether you are choosing a market because of existing connections or have simply heard about its economic advantages and opportunities, FTAs can benefit you.

Who can help you?

Government of Canada resources

The Government of Canada offers a number of resources through its departments and agencies to help you export to a foreign market.

Thinking of importing your products?

Importing commercial goods into Canada is a regulated activity that requires a business to be well informed and methodical. The Government of Canada has pledged to support Canadian firms like yours as they seek opportunities in the global marketplace.

Why should I import?

If the goods you need for your business are unavailable in this country or cost less in others, then you may want to import them. Using foreign suppliers can decrease your input costs and give you access to specialized products and resources that otherwise may not be available in Canada.

Where to start?

Before you start importing, you need to obtain the necessary documentation for the product, which will include determining whether there are any restrictions on its importation. It is important that you follow the Step-by-Step Guide to Importing to ensure your product is cleared through customs.

How do I choose a market to import from?

You will have to determine where you can source the best products at the best price. There are several online resources available to help you avoid certain risks and locate international suppliers.

What about tariffs?

Importers can benefit by importing goods from countries with which Canada has free trade agreements (FTAs), because goods imported from these FTA countries may not be subject to tariffs. Canada has free trade agreements in force with more than 10 countries and has begun negotiations with more than 60 others, including some of the world’s key markets.

If you are importing from non-FTA countries and you will be using these imports as manufacturing inputs, you will be able to benefit from planned reductions in tariffs on these items: the Government of Canada has committed to eliminating all remaining tariffs on manufacturing inputs and machinery and equipment used for manufacturing by 2015. Canada will be the first tariff-free country for industrial manufacturers among the 20 major economies around the world (G-20).

Who can help?

Government of Canada services and agencies

The Government of Canada offers a number of services through its departments and agencies to help you import from a foreign market.

Thinking of investing abroad?

The Government of Canada has pledged to support Canadian firms like yours as they pursue opportunities in the global marketplace. Whether you are looking into business mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures or expanding operations abroad, resources are available to help you maximize your opportunities.

What is Canadian direct investment abroad?

Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA) is where a Canadian company owns more than 10 percent of a foreign enterprise and can influence its management. A Canadian firm can directly invest abroad in a variety of ways. Examples include setting up operations abroad and outsourcing, acquiring a foreign enterprise, entering a merger or other sort of alliance with a foreign enterprise, or setting up a joint venture with a foreign enterprise. These types of investments are typically long-term.

Why invest abroad?

Business is going global. To keep up in the global marketplace, many companies are considering investing abroad as another way to remain competitive and relevant in today’s economy: such investments are a key to securing greater market access. By investing abroad, a company can avoid foreign tariff barriers, enhance business networks and partnerships, and gain better access to new technologies and resources, which is especially important in the extractive sectors. It also increases brand recognition for a company and for Canada.

Your company’s direct investments abroad will do more than benefit your company: they will also contribute to the health of the Canadian economy. Every dollar invested abroad generates up to two additional dollars of exports at home.

Where to begin?

Successful investing abroad begins with a solid international business development strategy that outlines clear objectives and outcomes. Canadian companies that are performing strongly at home and have clear direction benefit the most from direct investment abroad. The international business development strategy should identify what products or services you offer, your industry sector, the type of investment you want to make, and the market you wish to invest in. As you develop the strategy, be sure to factor in the investment regulations of the destination country: some markets are friendlier to foreign investment than others.

Choosing a market

The Government of Canada has concluded and brought into force foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) with over 30 countries (Hyperlink to Map) to make investing abroad safer and more predictable. Whether you are choosing a market because of existing connections or have simply heard about its economic advantages and opportunities, FIPAs can benefit you.

Who can help?

Investment promotion agencies abroad

Investment promotion agencies provide a range of services for foreign companies looking to invest in their country. For example, they can provide information on site locations, taxes, logistics and sources of financing, as well as on other resources designed to help the potential foreign investor. The agencies can also offer information on the benefits of investing in a particular country and on viable business opportunities there. Most countries have investment promotion agencies. Be sure to explore these country-specific resources and discover your opportunities abroad. A good place to start is the membership list on the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies website.

Government of Canada services

The Government of Canada offers a range of services to help companies access foreign markets. Learn more about our resources and explore your next market.