Doing business with Canada is as simple as doing business with California, true or false? The answer may surprise you: it is true and false. 

True: Doing business with Canada is as simple as doing business with California for the following reasons:

• No language barrier – English is the language spoken by most Canadians
• No ocean transportation needed. You can reach your clients via ground or air.
• Common need of same products. Canadians import and use all common products, Californians import and use all common products.

False: Doing business with Canada is not as simple as doing business with California for the following reasons:

• It requires border stopping and examination of products by government officials.
• It requires following certain rules and regulations to clear products to enter Canada.
• It requires duties and taxes on products crossing to Canada.

While doing business with Canada can be very rewarding for many reasons, logistically, it can very well be a nightmare.

Let us examine the positives of doing business with Canada:

Rewarding reasons for doing business with Canada:

1. The NAFTA agreement made it easy to do business between the North American countries. Many goods receive little or no duties and taxes.
2. Transit time is very short compared with exporting overseas.
3. U.S. products are in demand in Canada.

U.S Government encourages export to Canada:

The U.S. Government has many programs to help U.S. companies find buying partners in Canada. Contact your local U.S. department of commerce for details or visit 

The Canadian Government encourages export to the USA:

If you are an importer of any products, consider our friends in Canada. The Canadian government has instituted several programs to help Canadian companies find distributors and buyers in the USA. Contact your local Canadian consulate to start importing from Canada. 

Helpful Steps When Exporting or Importing from Canada:

Now that you negotiated a deal with a distributor in Canada to sell your products, or you completed your marketing campaign for your products in Canada, before you can accept orders to fulfill, did you:

• Select your logistics provider with Canadian expertise?
• Select your custom broker with Canadian laws experience? Did they advise you of your options to reduce duties and taxes for you and your customers?
• Decide on how you’re going to charge your customers for the duties and taxes?
• Decide on how your company will handle returned goods? Did you exercise your options with your logistics provider?
• On imports from Canada, did you know that your export broker may not handle your returns for you? 

Many questions must be answered and studied prior to your first shipment; in fact, your pricing should not be shared with your customers prior to gathering all the necessary information on your export and import issues.

There are many logistics providers that offer answers to your export and import from Canada, However, finding the experts can eliminate future problems and provide smooth transactions that would contribute to your company’s success.


Reputation supersedes the name of the providers; when looking for a good cup of coffee in the morning, people line up at Starbucks. Remember, good product + competitive pricing = repeated sales. You can not achieve this formula without the right supply chain management plan. That plan must include the right logistics partner. Choose wisely. 

Sam Karam is Branch Manager, Purolator International, Houston, TX, USA. He is the author of the People Buy from People blog ( Call 1-888-ship-123 or visit for more information.