Business Opportunities in Canada
Most international business polls rank Canada within the top 5 countries for competitive advantages. Also, since Canada is the United States' largest trading partner, it is an easy access point to the American market as well. However, to be truly successful in the Canadian marketplace, it is important to do your homework.
Before venturing into the doing business with Canada, it is necessary to make sure there is a market for your product or service in the country. You may think that you have the best product or service in the world, but if there is no demand for it in Canada, then it is best to try elsewhere.
Canada has specific rules and regulations for establishing and operating a business within its boundaries. For instance, it has two official languages: English and French. Therefore, all product labelling and information must be given in both languages, so make sure that your budget allows for this.
Look into whether your product falls under what Canada considers 'controlled' goods, or goods restricted by tariffs and/or quotas. Controlled import goods include: textile and clothing, agricultural products, steel products, and weapons and munitions. Controlled export goods include: sugar, peanut butter, textiles and clothing, military goods, nuclear energy materials and technology, softwood lumber, roe herring, and certain items with medicinal value. If exporting or importing these items, you may need to obtain a special permit from Canada's Export and Import Controls Bureau (EICB) before you are able to do business. However, even if you do get a permit, you may not be able to do business on the level you need to make a profit because of the fees. Make sure you test this out along with Canada's customs laws, tariffs, and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).
Bear in mind that you must not only follow federal laws in Canada, but also the provincial laws where your business is located, or will be conducted. This not only includes business structures and employment standards, but environmental laws as well. Taxation can be confusing since more than one jurisdiction may be involved. Meanwhile, there are a number of Canadian federal and provincial tax incentives available to you. For up-to-date information on laws and tax issues, it is best to get professional advice.
Business success is extremely limited without suitable marketing. This means that your advertising - words, sounds, and images - should combine appropriately to portray an image tempting to Canadian buyers. If English is not your first language, you must make sure that all of the labelling and information on products, pamphlets, and your website meet Canada's high English standards. The Canadian buying public may judge the use of poor English to reflect poor quality, and this will result in poor sales.
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