When it comes to international trade, no country has more to offer than Canada. Literally. Canada, after all, is the U.S.'s second-largest trading partner, with more than $1.8 billion worth of trade moving between the two nations daily. Canada also has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.7 trillion and industries as diverse as automotive, aerospace, mining and renewable energy.
Population: 35,881,659 (July 2018 est.)
Area: 9,984,670 sq. km
Language(s): English, French
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Major industries include machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, electricity, durable consumer goods.
Source: CIA World Factbook
Your primer on entering this market begins with a few insights on how business is done.
Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the second Monday in October and it’s as much of a holiday there as it is in the U.S. Most people have the day off and no one is expecting to receive or send a shipment. So save your delivery expectations for Tuesday.
Canada has a hub of technology industries dubbed the Technology Triangle or Ontario Technology Corridor, centered around the cities of Waterloo, Ottawa and Toronto. Located in a province that generates 37% of Canada’s GDP, it’s the perfect region to start in if you are looking to expand a tech business or cater to a cosmopolitan workforce.
Canada embraces its multicultural population, regardless of ethnicity or background. This makes Canada one of the best places to do business. From having both English and French as official languages countrywide to hosting the biggest Caribbean festival outside the Caribbean, Canada is truly the sum of its diverse parts.
Free Trade Agreement
Together with Mexico and the United States, Canada is a signatory to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. Taking effect in July 2020, the USMCA is a free trade deal that superseded the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As one of the world’s largest free trade agreements, the USMCA offers significant benefits to U.S. merchants looking to sell into Canada—and vice versa.
Customs Duties and Taxes
One of the major differences between the old NAFTA and the new USMCA is an increase in the de minimis threshold for small packages couriered into Canada from the United States. De minimis is the level set by countries below which goods are typically free from customs duties or taxes. Under the new agreement, qualifying small package shipments shipped from the United States and valued at less than $150 CAD are no longer subject to customs duties. The previous threshold was $20 CAD. Meanwhile, the de minimis for taxes on shipments shipped into Canada from the U.S. increased from $20 to $40 CAD.
These changes to the de minimis rules are widely seen as good news for U.S. e-commerce merchants. Canadian shippers into the United States already benefit from a de minimis of $800 USD, one of the most generous thresholds in the world. Online sellers shipping from the United States into Canada now enjoy relief from custom duties for shipments valued at under $150 CAD.
Visit our international shipping section for step-by-step instructions on how to ship, including:
Flights: 88 weekly
Air Hubs: Mirabel, QC; Hamilton, ON; Ottawa, ON; Toronto, ON; Winnipeg, MB; Calgary, AB; Vancouver, BC
Delivery Fleet: Over 2,900 (package cars, tractors and shifters) of which more than 40% run on alternative fuels
Operating Facilities: 63
Use this UPS Country or Territory Regulations tool to find all of the specific documentation and regulations that may affect your international shipments.
• Import and export forms
• Customs clearance information and duties and taxes
• Areas served
• Billing options
• Gift exemptions
• Invoice requirements
• Items classified as documents
• Prohibited or restricted items
• Transportation options
• Special clearance requirements
• Value limits
• Weight and size limits
Our expertise with Canada’s unique documentation and customs requirements may help to reduce the chance of delays and extra fees. We offer 24/7 customs services with commodity and security inspections, smooth entry into the country and clearance procedures that begin before our planes land.
UPS Capital offers a suite of financial and insurance services to help protect your bottom line and grow your top line. Options for exporters can include cargo insurance and trade credit insurance which can help mitigate the risks of selling globally.
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