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  • By LAC Blog
  • Wednesday 20, January 2021

With a population of 37.6 million and 3,855,100 square miles of land, Canada is easily one of the world’s leading economic forces. Due to its stability, continual economic growth, and sound financial policies, Canada is a land of opportunities for importers. Therefore, if you wish to import to Canada from the US or Latin America. So, to help you out, we will cover the basics of how to import to Canada from countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, or China.

Business opportunities to consider when importing to Canada

As one of the driving forces in the world economy, Canada’s market is quite developed in various areas. As reported by the U.S. Trade Administration, notable industries include:

  •   Aerospace technology – Canada has the fifth-largest aerospace market in the world, with over $22.4 billion in revenues in 2017. It also leads in civil aircraft production, civil engine production, and civil flight simulator production.
  •   Vehicle manufacture – Ford, Toyota, Honda, FCA, and General Motors are all present in Canada.
  •   ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) – This is one of Canada’s strongest and fastest-growing sectors.
  •   Renewable energy – With 16.3%, Canada ranks higher than the OECD average of 10.5% when it comes to renewable energy usage.

The other notable sectors for import include agriculture, defense equipment, medical devices, and education.

Canada is a large territory, with thousands of kilometers separating its main cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. Therefore we would recommend that you select a specific region to explore whether there is a suitable market for the products you are planning to import.

Top imports to Canada

While exploring business opportunities for your imports, you should first take a look at the import trade statistics history. Here are the top imports to Canada in 2018 according to the OEC:

  •       Cars: US$29.4 billion – 7.96% of total imports.
  •       Refined petroleum: US$15.8 – 4.28%.
  •       Delivery trucks: US$3.17 billion – 3.71%.
  •       Crude petroleum: US$12.2 billion – 3.3.1%.
  •       Computers: US$7.86 billion – 2.13%.
  •       Packaged medicaments: US$7.39 billion – 2%.
  •       Broadcasting equipment: US$6.19 billion – 1.68%.
  •       Gold: US$4.99 billion – 1.35%.

Challenges to consider when importing to Canada

As is the case with all countries in the world, there are some challenges when it comes to importing to Canada:

  •   The main challenge to consider when importing commercial goods to Canada is the tariffs. While Canada has eliminated tariffs on all industrial and most agricultural products imported from the United States under USMCA‘s terms, there are some tariffs that remain. For example, the tariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on dairy and poultry.
  •   If you consider importing agricultural products, you have to keep in mind that Canada’s Seeds Act prohibits the imports of any variety of seeds that are not registered with Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
  •   Canada’s regulations on compositional standards for cheese, limit the amount of dry milk protein concentrate (MPC) that can be used in cheese making, reducing the demand for dry MPCs.
  •   Considering that Quebec is a bilingual province, you need to keep in mind that all import documentation must be presented in both languages (French and English). 

Import restrictions and prohibitions

When it comes to restrictions and prohibitions, Canada has a fairly regular system. The following items are not permitted:

  •   Unlicensed firearms,
  •   Dangerous chemicals, 
  •   Used mattresses,
  •   Goods manufactured or produced by prison labor.
  •   Used or secondhand motor vehicles (keep this in mind if you plan on shipping vehicles to Canada).
  •   White phosphorus matches, etc.

It is important to carefully consult Canada’s import guide before importing any products. 

Import to Canada: Customs clearance

For customs clearance, there are a couple of things you need to ensure in order to avoid any issues. Whether you are importing as a business or as an individual, a Business Number (B.N.) issued by CRA is required. The process is free and does not take a long time. You will need to call CRA’s Business Window at 1-800-959-5525 or visit their official website. Most of the required documents will depend on the goods you are planning to import.

Certain goods require extensive paperwork in order to clear customs, therefore, you should obtain them in advance. The type of goods and country of origin from when you are importing will also have a substantial impact on your tariffs.

Due to documentation, taxes, and import duties, we highly recommend that you hire a customs broker, to help you in the clearing process.

Imports requirements and documentations

The most important document that you will need to have for all imports to Canada, is a Canada Customs Invoice, or a commercial invoice containing all the required information by the customs authorities. Apart from that, you will also need to have the following:

  •   Business number (as described before).
  •   Form B3.
  •   Bill of lading.
  •   Cargo control document.

Finally, if you are importing to Canada from the U.S. or any other country, you will need to keep in mind that Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) eManifest program requires importers in all modes of transportation to transmit all shipping information (cargo, conveyance, house bill, supplemental reports, release documentation) in advance in order to facilitate the customs clearance process.

Modes of transportation to and within Canada

When it comes to transporting goods to and within Canada, there are many options available. Road, rail, sea, and air are all viable modes of transportation, depending on what you want to transport and from where.

If you plan to import from Mexico and the US, the most common mode of transportation is usually by ground. Therefore, it is recommendable to partner with a freight forwarder that specializes in cargo trucking and knows how to deal with the complexities that may arise when transporting goods from a country such as Mexico.

Latin American Cargo has been offering ground transportation solutions for the last 2 decades. During this time we have developed a network of reliable carriers that know how to maximize fleet productivity, in order to ensure faster, safer, and smarter cargo transportation.

Import to Canada from the USMCA region and Latin America now!

With all this in mind, it should be evident that importing to Canada can be a good business decision. However, it is imperative that you find the right shipping partner to ensure that your importation from countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, or Chile will be a total success.  


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