How to Compete When You Export

For many businesses, exporting Canadian goods to America is a great idea. With a consumer base of 316.6 million people, it can be incredibly exciting and profitable, though there's certainly no shortage of competition. When looking into distributing your goods to the US, how can a small Canadian business maintain a competitive edge?

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has removed a number of trade barriers between the North American nations by reducing or even eliminating tariffs on imported goods to support competitive price and trade. Additionally, shipping from Canada to the US (or vice versa) can be easy with the help of full service LTL freight companies that specialize in Canada/US trans border shipping.

Finding an LTL freight shipping partner to assist in moving a pallet of goods from Canada to the US at a great price is a good start, but you can take it one step further! As a Canadian exporter shipping to the US, your customers will likely have to deal with customs related administrative work; paying associated fees or spending the time to gather and submit paperwork to officials. Another way to give your US customers easier access to your product, and further increase your competitiveness, is to become an Importer of Record for your goods (in addition to being a Canadian exporter).

Though it might seem a little counter-intuitive to be an "importer" when you’re also exporting from Canada, taking on both these responsibilities means that your customers in the US will be able to purchase your products just as easily as if they had purchased them locally. In terms of extra costs and convenience this makes your product more desirable and helps level the playing field when competing against a local company's goods.

Acting as the importer of record means that you have taken on the responsibility of declaring your product to US Customs and Border Protection. Additionally, you'll take care of the administrative work at the border, sparing your customers the headache thus making your products both price competitive and easy to obtain.

According to Small Business BC, here are the US Customs requirements for becoming an Importer of Record:

  • May be a resident or a non-resident of the USA
  • Must have detailed knowledge of the goods
  • Must either be the buyer or the seller
  • The non-resident importer allowance by US Customs and Border Protection offers Canadian businesses equal ground when competing in the US market.

For more information on how to import your product under your own account, consult a professional customs broker. To learn more about your transportation options or to request a quote, please contact us.

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