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Exporting to Canada: The gold mine next door


It's time to tap into opportunities with our northern neighbor – "because your competitors certainly are."

From a shared border to a shared language, it's no wonder why Canada is often referred to as our friendly neighbor to the north. But what many U.S. businesses might not know is that congeniality extends to cross-border commerce as well.

"You're doing yourself a disservice by not paying attention to Canada – because your competitors certainly are." – David Rosenberg

The country ranks as the United States' largest trading partner, with 2015 exports reaching nearly $281 billion and imports topping $296 billion in goods, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

Still, like the vast deposits of natural resources under Canada's lush mountains and prairies, there are a number of export opportunities waiting to be discovered.

"Just 5 percent of U.S. businesses today use exports as a growth engine," says Ruchi Shah, UPS's director of U.S. international marketing. "Canada is a natural first export step and one of the largest, most easily targeted markets anywhere.

"It's a tremendous opportunity right in our own backyard."

Navigating cross-border complexities with a trusted partner

In many ways, Canada resembles an extended U.S. market – an entirely new region with 36 million people. Nine of every 10 Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border, and nearly half of the population clusters in and around six major cities. Canadians speak English outside Quebec, and many rely on U.S.-made products.

Still, many stateside businesses are daunted by international expansion. How do they manage currency differences, tariffs/taxes, customs, and other cross-border complexities?

From pickup to delivery, from small packages to freight shipments, UPS helps exporters ship seamlessly, combatting surprise brokerage fees, minimizing customs holds, and keeping delivery times and costs predictable.

UPS has had a stake in the Canadian market for more than 40 years, with 12,000 UPS employees now operating 140 facilities and seven air hubs. UPS delivers to every address in the country, and, last year, brokered 6 million shipments through customs.

UPS also recently improved time-in-transit for shipping lanes to Vancouver/Pacific and Ottawa/Toronto, ensuring northbound exports arrive faster.

Taking a bite out of the B2B exporting market

In business-to-business (B2B) trade, Canadian enterprises seek components for the fast-growing high-tech segment, and goods for robust healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and automotive production.

Strategies to grow exports to Canada closely resemble a U.S. approach. (In Quebec, communications require Canadian French; otherwise, not much of a shift from current sales and fulfillment strategies is required.)

A strong U.S. dollar presents some challenges, but overall, U.S. exports to Canada remain healthy, reaching $62.6 billion in the first quarter of 2016.

Additionally, UPS encourages U.S. B2B exporters to Canada to take advantage of a non-resident importer (NRI) program.

"An NRI takes the headaches out of Canadian transactions, since the U.S. business acts as importer of record," says Peter Howard, UPS's sales director for Canada brokerage services. "The NRI ensures two things: no additional consumer fees, and every shipment has an importer on file, which minimizes holds and delays."

Catering to Canadian B2C markets

Canadians rank among the world's most connected Internet users, with 90.9 percent of the population having access. In addition, two-thirds of Canadians own a smartphone and almost half own a tablet computer. Some 28.8 million Canadians are wireless subscribers.

In business-to-consumer (B2C) trade, Canadians traditionally favor landed costs (all charges included). Online products like clothing carry high duty rates of up to 18 percent, while sales tax tacks on an additional 5 to 15 percent. Export customers can take advantage of UPS TradeAbility® tools, which help navigate landed costs, international forms and compliance.

From e-commerce-savvy customers to common U.S. buying practices, the Canadian exporting market is indeed fruitful. And as David Rosenberg, international marketing manager for UPS, stresses to businesses, time is of the essence: "You're doing yourself a disservice by not paying attention to Canada – because your competitors certainly are."

Check out the UPS Export Guide to Canada and infographic.

Shipping to Canada? UPS can help


UPS has had a stake in the Canadian market for more than 40 years. With 12,000 UPS employees, more than 2,800 vehicles and seven air hubs, UPS has Canada covered. In fact, UPS serves every province and territory in Canada. Here's how UPS can help you ship to Canada:
  • More delivery options. UPS offers the broadest range of small package services to Canada, matching the speed you need with your budget. Packages to major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver can be delivered as early as 9 a.m. the next business day, giving you two delivery options before noon. One-day and two-day deliveries are available across Canada. For less-urgent shipments, UPS Standard to Canada ground service is also available. Transit times will vary by origin and destination. UPS recently improved ground transit times for shipping lanes to Vancouver/Calgary/Edmonton and Ottawa/Toronto, ensuring northbound exports arrive faster.

  • Heavy freight. UPS provides comprehensive air, less than truckload (LTL), and full truckload freight services to and from Canada. UPS offers guaranteed door-to-door air freight services, in addition to non-guaranteed freight forwarding services. And while many carriers give you only a range of transit times, UPS gives you time- and day-specific delivery options so you get the predictability and flexibility you need. UPS LTL services are also backed by a day-definite, on-time guarantee at no additional charge for shipments between the 48 contiguous United States and Canada. Through Coyote Logistics, UPS offers full truckload service via all equipment types with 24/7 multilingual assistance for inbound, outbound and intra truckload moves to all 10 Canadian provinces.

  • UPS Customs Brokerage. Our expertise with Canada's documentation and customs requirements helps ensure compliance, while reducing any potential delays and extra fees. We offer 24/7 customs services with commodity and security inspections to facilitate smooth entry into the country. Additionally, when UPS is your brokerage service provider, we offer free routine customs clearance for your shipments into Canada for most of express services. Last year, UPS brokered 6 million Canada-bound packages through customs.

  • Free exporting tools. Additionally, UPS exporting tools enable you to find and manage harmonized tariff codes, calculate landed cost estimates and check compliance information, all in advance. Whether you're exporting from Yuma or importing from the Yukon, know you can always rely on UPS to get your products exactly where they need to be, when they need to be there.

  • UPS Capital® services. The financial arm of UPS offers a full range of financing and insurance options to help you operate with greater productivity and minimize risk when shipping to Canada. These options include cargo insurance, trade credit insurance and asset-based lending.


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