Canada - 5 recommendations for exporters and investors

1) An immense territory which encourages dialogue between close neighbors, whether buying or selling: business eyes turn first towards the south and the American states. Canada is not a single large market, but a juxtaposition of small and medium markets. A single business location to cover the whole country is unusual. Canada needs to be approached locally, in most cases on the scale of a Province. The first question is “where in Canada does my sales prospecting have the best chance of success, starting with Montreal (Quebec) or Toronto (Ontario)?

2) French or English? We cannot talk about two language blocks. There is indeed a Canada which functions in English only, from Ontario westwards to the Pacific coast, but the situation is more complicated in the east of the country. In Quebec, the only Province that has officially adopted the French language, you have to arrive with documents in French, otherwise you run the risk of disappointing some of Quebec’s citizens. But you must be ready at all times to produce an English version, simply because the sector requires it or because a monolingual English speaker has just joined the meeting.

3) Do not confuse Canada with the United States: their mentalities and working methods are very different. But in the world of business, Canadians are North Americans, and this is just as true in French-speaking Quebec. At your first meeting, your opposite number will want a rapid and precise reply to three questions: “what does it do?”, “how much does it cost?” and “how much will I gain?”. See the following page for more insights.

4) This does not exclude friendly relationships and warm dialogue on more personal matters (hockey, a trip to Belgium or to Europe, the family, the chalet or beer), but usually after the business has been dealt with. One thing at a time…

5) If your market prospection is promising, do not even think of operating directly. To become successful, an SME must be able to absorb the cost of a proactive local office for two or three years. Otherwise, you will need to join forces with a strong local partner. This second stage is virtually unavoidable, indispensable as a basis for credibility and to inspire confidence: you have to be omnipresent, guaranteeing the follow-up and post-sales service which every North American customer expects.

source : European Commission, September 2017

CETA overview

CETA is a trade agreement between the EU and Canada. On 21 September 2017 it provisionally entered into force, so most of the agreement now applies. It opens up Canada’s goods, services and public procurement markets, helps protect labor rights and the environment, and enables smaller EU firms in particular to export more to Canada. Now EU countries’ national parliaments, and in some cases regional ones too, need to ratify the agreement. Then it can fully and definitively enter into force.

Focus on Trade in goods

CETA will help new and existing EU exporters because it:

  • abolishes over 98% of Canadian customs duties from day 1 of entry into force.
  • will save EU businesses €590 m each year in Canadian customs duties over time.
  • helps make EU exporters more competitive.

Opening the Canadian market for Food and drink products

  • Removes tariffs on EU food exports for Chocolate, confectionery & Bread, pastries, biscuits
  • Removes or manages barriers to exporting drinks Wine Spirits
  • More than doubles Canadian quota for EU cheese exports over time

Promoting and protecting Europe’s flagship food and drink products & Protect Sensitive EU products such as:

  • beef, pork, sweetcorn – with limited, tariff-free quotas
  • poultry and eggs – by not opening its market.

Removes Canadian customs duties on key EU manufacturing exports like Clothing, Vehicles, Machinery, electrical equipment, Medical devices, optical instruments, Chemicals

Helps EU small firms export more through:

  • reduced trade barriers
  • tariff elimination
  • simplified customs procedures
  • more compatible technical requirements

Author: Adrienne Gentil