Теги: угода про вільну торгівлю
Canadian footwear market. What Ukrainian producers should take into account

The Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) has been in force between Ukraine and Canada for over two years. Under this agreement, most Ukrainian goods are not subject to import duties when imported into Canada. Benefits apply to shoes as well, averaging 18% of the customs value, which is our competitive advantage over such powerful global footwear suppliers as China or Vietnam.

Let’s try to understand how easy it is for Ukrainian footwear manufacturers to enter the Canadian market and take advantage of its competitive advantages.

Helicopter view

Canada’s shoe industry volume is expected to reach CAD 7.7 billion in 2019. In Ontario alone, one of Canada’s 10 provinces, there are 1,260 shoe stores.

During a year, an average Canadian family spends approximately CAD 624 on shoes, of which CAD 347 for women and girls, and CAD 277 for men and boys.

Canada is among the top five shoe consuming countries, with the lion’s share being imported. Last year, Canada imported 161 million pairs of shoes from China and Vietnam only (69% of total footwear imports).

The next group of major shoe-supplying countries for Canada are Italy – 8%, Cambodia and Indonesia – 4% each. The remaining footwear imports (15%) come from other countries including Ukraine.

Ukrainian company Belsta participated at Toronto Shoe Show

 

At the same time, Canada also successfully exports shoes. In 2018, shoe production in Canada reached CAD 458 million. Canada ranked 12th in the world of footwear exporters. About 90% of Canadian shoes were exported to the United States.

There are more than 120 footwear industries in Canada, mainly in Ontario (24), Quebec (22) and British Columbia (10). These are mostly small (up to one hundred workers) factories with modern equipment. In total, shoe manufacturing across the country employs about 1.4 thousand people.

Footwear preferences of Canadians

The Canadian footwear market is fairly conservative, especially with regard to winter models. Canadians have special requirements for winter footwear. As they joke, the Canadian year has only two seasons – winter and construction season, and both require good-quality footwear.

The frost-and-snow season in Canada lasts for five months. Therefore, winter footwear should, first and foremost, provide warmth, be waterproof and stability on slippery surfaces. In other words, consumer comfort determines the style of winter footwear.

Some winter footwear models in Canada have been consistently sold for decades. According to Andy Orchard, Cougar Shoes Inc.’s Sales Manager, red-tab winter boots have been in demand in the Canadian men’s, women’s and children’s footwear market for over forty years. “When I was 15 or 16 years old (40 years ago), everyone, absolutely everyone in Canada, wore those boots. The red tabs had to be outside in order to be visible. It was something like a uniform. This model of Cougar winter boots is in demand among Canadians to this day”, – he says.

Ukrainian footwear companies visited Cougar Shoes Inc. in August 2019

 

Ethnic diversity has some influence on Canadian consumer preferences. Especially in such numerous diasporas as Hindu or Chinese. Today, one of five Canadians is born outside Canada. By immigrating to Canada, people bring with them national habits or preferences from their countries of origin. First of all, it concerns traditional food, clothing, and footwear.

External influence on the market

The footwear market in Canada is significantly influenced by the US footwear market trends, which is almost 10 times bigger than the Canadian market. This is natural because about 90% of Canada’s population resides in the 100-mile strip along the US border, and the economies of both countries are closely related.

FN PLATRFORM Show in Las Vegas is one of the most important American footwear shows that determine shoe fashion in Canada. According to Tamara Szames, a Canadian shoe market analyst, the footwear shown at FN PLATRFORM in August will hit store sales next spring. She also emphasizes the increasing influence of fast fashion on the footwear market, especially for summer and sports shoes. This means that the “must-have shoes” that were just shown on the catwalk should be manufactured very quickly because “… if you missed the season shoes you may have missed the whole season”.

Canadians pay little attention whether the materials used to make shoes are natural or not. What is important is water resistance. This is one of the qualities of shoes in Canada that influences the buying decision. And this is not only for winter shoes. Don’t be surprised to read “waterproof” on sandals. The Canadian logic is: if you get caught in the rain in the sandals or stepped into a puddle, they should not get wet through or absorb water. Water should simply trickle down the sandals without creating discomfort.

Ukrainian waterproof shoes at Toronto Shoe Show

 

Recently the so-called “consumer fatigue” from Chinese imports has been increasing in North America. Many consumers are ready to refocus on other manufacturers if they offer comfortable and modern models at attractive prices. Quite often, a lower price is a determining factor for Canadians deciding to buy shoes.

This is what Ukrainian shoe manufacturers should take advantage of. Taking into account all the specifics of the Canadian market and offering an attractive price due to the absence of import duties, the Ukrainian shoe business has every chance to win its place under the changing Canadian sun.

Author – Valeriy Kokot

Ukrainian apparel producers in Canada: Five steps to success

Olga Shtepa, coordinator of the CUTIS project, explained the specifics of the Canadian apparel market and provided five practical tips for Ukrainian apparel manufacturers to become successful exporters to Canada

Canada is a northern country. Due to its mostly cold climate, it is a powerful player in the field of warm clothing and home to such well-known brands as Canada Goose, Mackage, Sentaler, Rudsak or Moose Knuckles. Canadian consumers spent $36 billion CAD on clothing in 2018. Apparel imports in Canada have grown from $10.1 to 12.5 billion CAD over the last four years.

This is definitely good news for Ukrainian companies because thanks to the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) and the abolition of import duties, Ukrainian clothing has 18% preferences on the Canadian market compared to imports from such powerful global players as China. All this creates attractive conditions for encouraging Ukrainian clothing manufacturers to export to Canada right now.

Each manufacturer, of course, has its own path and understanding, but based on the experience of the Project, we suggest reflecting on the following basic steps to enter the Canadian market.

The first step is to have an English language website. A simple but user-friendly site that presents the manufacturer’s products and basic company information in good English is the only opportunity to make a positive first impression on international partners. Therefore, if you enter international markets or are interested in attracting foreign buyers you have to consider developing a website, though not an extensive, but at least a business card website.

Clear photos, fabric composition with descriptions of care options, existing sizes and prices are a small list of information you need online.

Price is the main and decisive tool in any market. Therefore, the second and very important step is the detailed and calculated price for your own products for export. It is quite difficult for an enterprise that does not yet have export experience. A detailed analysis of competitors’ retail prices for similar products in a potential retailer’s chain may be useful. You also need to have a clear understanding of further logistics and additional costs associated with shipping products to a buyer overseas (transportation, insurance, brokerage services, importer fee, etc.). Also, depending on who the Canadian buyer is – a big retailer or a small boutique – the retail price of the end consumer must be divided by 3 or 6 to get the approximate manufacturer’s price. Ukrainian manufacturers usually operate in US dollars or euros, so keep in mind the conversion rate of the Canadian dollar. It is also not necessary to include value-added tax into the export price calculations.

I recall a story told by a friend of mine who recently moved to Canada and found his first job. Responsible work in the office, a managerial position, a large company, so he preferred the classic tie suit. His Canadian colleagues were very surprised and kept asking him all day about the cause of such a solemn style. There were lots of options offered – from baptism to funeral, so the next day he was forced to change his “look” to a more democratic one.

It is also not customary to emphasize one’s high position in society or financial status by accessories such as precious watches, jewelry or expensive attire. Wealth is irrelevant, and the determining factor is the person and his or her success. Clothes should be, first and foremost, comfortable and neat, but also affordable. Therefore, Canadians usually buy a lot of clothes to be able to wear something new every day without spending a lot of time washing and ironing.

Canada is a multinational country that is made up of many groups, mostly ethnic, and all have different styles. Indeed, it is quite a common situation when people wear down jackets in combination with flip flops in winter, or shorts with fur winter boots.

In major cities, Toronto and Montreal, the entire transportation system and social infrastructure are designed to stay indoors for months: underground passage with shops and restaurants, direct exit from buildings to underground transportation stops significantly reduce the demand for heavy and warm winter clothing. Understanding these features and forgetting the stereotypes is the third step for a Ukrainian apparel exporter to Canada.

Step four is to get rid of misconceptions about your own products. Our manufacturers believe that it is enough to offer high-quality products made in Ukraine using state-of-art technologies with the equipment of well-known world brands out of natural fabrics in accordance with the latest European trends in fashion and it will be all immediately bought. This scheme may work in Europe, Asia or the Middle East.

The Canadian market is completely different. Canadian buyers have appreciated the quality of Ukrainian products during the CUTIS project trade mission. Ukrainian products compare favorably with competitors as they look modern and follow the latest fashion trends. According to an expert on the Canadian clothing market, Ukrainians can make even stockings look attractive.

In Canada, however, they prefer practical clothes that can be washed in a machine without further ironing – clothes made from fabrics with polyester, viscose and elastane. This saves time considerably. Clothes should be light, comfortable, sensible, inexpensive and, last but not least, attractive. It is not common here to consider purchasing a coat as a family investment. Canadians would rather buy a few less expensive wardrobe items than one thing they will wear for ten years to then preserve for posterity. For many Ukrainian manufacturers, especially those who have experience exporting and selling in international markets, this situation is an unpleasant surprise. Even the free trade agreement between Ukraine and Canada that provides for customs-free import of clothing made in Ukraine does not save the situation. After all, Ukrainian manufacturers have to compete with companies from India, Pakistan, China, whose products, though taxed, are still cheaper than Ukrainian.

Step Five: prepare for the presentation of your products to a potential buyer. It would seem nothing complicated. However, this is a very important step in finding orders in the Canadian market. Large Canadian buyers are “spoiled” and accustomed to queues of potential suppliers in their waiting rooms. For example, during the CUTIS trade mission, one of the well-known buyers said that they received an average of 180 emails a day with commercial offers from around the world. So you can imagine what an unusual offer and what quality that should be to get their attention! Businesses negotiating with Canadians should be well informed and aware of the smallest details of their offers. Awareness and honesty are highly valued. Canadians do not accept evasion from answers. Our favorite phrase “how much will you give?” works great in Odessa but is perceived as unprofessionalism in Canada. Parrying a question puts an end to any further communication. Even exchange of business cards has certain specifics, which many do not even know.

There is a logical question: since everything is so difficult, is it worth doing? What is so attractive about the Canadian market and why should Ukrainian manufacturers go there?

The Canadian market means, first and foremost, stability. Having got a new supplier, a Canadian buyer is inclined to cooperate on a long-term basis – for ten, twenty or thirty years, and this is by far not the most impressive duration.

The purchasing power of Canadians is much higher than that of Ukrainians or Poles. In 2018, for instance, Canadian consumers spent CAD 8,650 on goods and services (FMCG). Ukrainians, by comparison, spent only about CAD 4,000. Payments under the agreement with a Canadian buyer will be in freely convertible currency. In addition, Canada is the closest neighbor to the most economically developed country – the United States, and it is much easier to cross the southern border than to try making contacts in the US from Ukraine.

As part of its activities, the Project has produced a lot of practical and theoretical information that will be of use to any manufacturer planning to export to Canada. The most up to date are industry-specific manuals that bring together all knowledge base on the exports of footwear, clothing, furniture, goods and ICT services. If you need a “live” consultation you can contact the Canada-Ukraine Chamber of Commerce, which provides practical advice and consults on exports to Canada for over 25 years.

Ukrainian manufacturers have already achieved considerable success in making the products that meet high international standards, so now there is a little left to do: to offer it professionally to Canadian consumers.

Do you know what our main advantage is compared with Chinese, Indonesians and others? The ability to learn very quickly regardless of the internal or external circumstances. This is our main competitive advantage and the key to success.

Author: Olga Shtepa, coordinator of the CUTIS project 

Source: NV.UA

How to sell organics to Canada

In August, a year has elapsed since the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement with Canada. Among other things, this offers great opportunities for exporting organic products. 

It is most expedient to export organic processed products to Canada, while paying attention to territorial features, national standards, as well as tariff and non-tariff restrictions.

Canadian organic goods market is the fifth largest in the world. It is outweighed by China and France. And yet, it is also geographically close to the leader in the consumption of organics in the world – the United States. As to the cost volume of the Canadian organic market, it is worth EUR 3 billion. This is an interesting market opportunity. With regard to the volume of consumption, statistics show that people living in these two countries spend most money on organic products per year. For the US market, it is €121 per year, and Canada is slightly less than €83 per person annually.

As of 2017, the sales of organic products in Canada amounted to 4.2 million CAD. Interestingly, organic foods and drinks constitute the bulk of this market – about 90%. In particular, these are fresh vegetables and fruits (40%), beverages (13%), dairy products, eggs (12%), cereals, pasta, bread (9%). Despite the fact that the country is a powerful producer of organic products itself, its output is not enough. As of 2016, for example, 0.2 million tons of organic products were imported for the total of 637 million CAD. This is much more than produced within the country, which means a shortage and a market opportunity for Ukrainian producers. Of course, the Canadian government is trying to motivate domestic production: in 2017, the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia launched significant farmer support programs, so the gap between supply and demand will gradually decrease over time. It is now quite a good time, however, to start exporting to this market.

Quite interestingly, Canada has become one of the first countries to track organic exports and imports. In particular, imports are tracked by 65 categories in a specialized system, while exports are represented in 18 categories. If you look at the imports statistics for the TOP-20 positions, organic coffee, bananas, strawberries, green salads, tomatoes and tomato paste, etc. are the most popular organic products.

Useful statistics are provided by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) concerning a typical organic purchaser in Canada in order to direct producers towards their consumers, which can be both male and female (traditional purchases are usually made by both spouses), of a younger age (18-34 years old), a city dweller, with the greatest interest in organic produce among residents of British Columbia or Alberta. However, these provinces are not the most populated, and Quebec and Ontario should not be disregarded. There is also correlation between the level of income, education and activity in the organic market: people with higher earnings, therefore, are more aware of the details of organic products and more willing to pay for them. Also, families with children are more inclined to spend money on organic products, so organic food and goods for children is a very promising niche as well.

Regarding the regulation of the Canadian organic market, it also significantly differs from the Ukrainian and European approaches. Canada has national organic standards. As of today, the industry is guided by Canada Organic Regulations adopted in 2009. More detailed requirements for the manufacture and the list of permitted substances are provided by CAN/CGSB 32.310-2015 standards – Organic Production Systems – General Management Principles and Standards, CAN/CGSB 32.311-2015 – Organic Production Systems – List of Permitted Substances. However, Canada goes today through an active phase of deregulation; in June, a new regulatory act was published which combines more than 10 legislative acts and is called Regulation on Safe Food for Canadians. Likewise, it deals with organic products. A review of the above standards is scheduled for 2020. Therefore, it is important for organic producers to keep abreast, since the situation is changing quite dynamically. Certified organic products sold in Canada must bear the Canada Organic logo.

A separate topic is sanitary and phytosanitary regulations. If you use the “organic” prefix for the product, this does not mean a complete grace as a series of stringent requirements is applied anyway. Interestingly enough, the requirements for a particular food product in Canada can be traced back to the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS), which is something like the well-known European Export Help Desk.

With regard to the harmonization of certain sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and certificates, the wheel has set to motion only concerning chicken meat. For all other categories of quarantinable goods (such as beef, pork, eggs), the problems remain. Accordingly, if the business begins to demonstrate interest in the Canadian market the process will begin to harmonize those certificates between the governing bodies. Also, the ban on import of Ukrainian grain and wheat into Canada continues, because pests were found in the imports of one of the corn suppliers, and a precautionary measure was immediately taken. Therefore, there is a need for additional communication of state authorities to make this ban lifted.

With regard to dairy products, the principle of protection of domestic producers is applied, and there is a high import tariff for imported goods. Therefore, the opportunities for Ukrainian producers including organic manufacturers are limited in this segment. On the one hand, it would seem that with such a list of restrictions is not worth trying to supply to this market. Those looking for opportunities, however, will necessarily find them. Although Canada is far, for supplying the processed goods even logistics will not be a financial constraint. Moreover, there are significantly lower requirements for processed goods. Therefore, it is logical to recommend manufacturers of processed organic products to commence sales on this market. The most popular products are juices, confectionery products, dried and frozen vegetables, sauces, ketchup, vegetable oils and snacks.

Life-hacks to successfully negotiate with a Canadian partner

In Canada sellers are fully responsible for the quality of the goods on their shelves. Therefore, Ukrainian companies that work with Canadians have to follow the regulatory and certification requirements closely.

Musthaves for exporters

To get your goods to the supermarket shelves, you have to ensure 101% compliance within the letter of the law. The requirements are quite strict in Canada. Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) may help to learn all regulatory requirements for the food products. You need to enter the product code or name and the website will automatically generate the list of requirements.

If entrepreneurs intend to supply non-food products to Canada they will have to study sector-specific legislation. No single magic portal contains all the information.

Also, there is a number of “voluntary-compulsory” certificates in Canada. In this market, sellers bear full responsibility to end consumers for the goods on their shelves.

Sellers are interested to have not simply good but the best products, which are fully certified and safe.

I, therefore, recommend exporters to start reviewing GFSI certification right away, as it includes the following certificates: BRC global standard for foods safety Issue 6; FSSC22000; SQF code 7th Edition Level 2; IFS Foods Standard Version 6; Global Aquaculture Alliance Seafood BAP Seafood Processing Standard. These are the certificates that will make your goods much more attractive for retail chain representatives. It is hard but necessary.

In addition, large Canadian supermarket chains often require their suppliers to go through a corporate social responsibility (CSO) audit before the supply of goods. Canadians are known to be “moral buyers”. Canadian business prefers the suppliers who do not violate labour, gender or human rights. Nevertheless, few Ukrainian companies can boast of something else within the CSO framework than charity campaigns or formal policies.

Veni, vidi, vici 

As a rule, Canadian companies plan their meetings well in advance and will not meet you at inconvenient time even if you need it urgently and “it will take only five minutes”. No cancellation or force majeure, unless you want to lose your partner’s trust.

Based on my practical experience, it took 5 months to organize a meeting of Ukrainian food manufacturers with a supermarket chain in Canada. The Canadian party’s timetable is booked for months to come.

In 99% of cases, the first meeting is held personally: no Skype or teleconference. If you want a result, you will have to travel to Canada. The meeting itself goes quickly and intensively. You must take product samples with you. Most likely, the importer will ask you of the possibilities to change the products: packing design, labelling, taste line, frequency of supplies.

The first meeting may last 7 to 30 minutes. The first contact is the indicator of interest. If a company manages to catch the interests of Canadians their quality and safety specialists will need to analyse the samples in detail.

After the meeting, there may be two possible case scenarios. Under the negative scenario for the Ukrainian company, it will hear of the Canadians’ decision within a month or a month and a half; a positive outcome will, most likely, be known within about a year.

First scenario: the products have been tested and they are not different from those of the existing supplier. This means there is no sense to continue negotiations. A letter on such a decision will come, as a rule, 1-1.5 months after the meeting. The answer is usually straightforward: “Thank you, but our company decided to extend its contract with the existing supplier”.

Second scenario: the partner liked your products but this is only the beginning of further work. Depending on individual Canadian food importers, the working process with supplying companies takes 2 months to one year between the discussion and negotiation and the first supply of your products to the supermarket or warehouse.

As soon as the importer confirms its intentions, you will be entered into the internal system and an individual project will be launched with a dedicated manager. Further, step by step, you will be discussing prices, mix, packing, design and batch volumes over the phone or Skype.

In addition, a schedule is mandatorily developed for provision of necessary start-up documents. For instance, a future supplier should submit a third party insurance agreement, a goods insurance agreement, a confirmation of the goods’ compliance with Canadian organic standards. It will take time and financial resources to compile and coordinate those documents. This is a part of the process, however, and one may only get the goods to the supermarket shelves upon successful passage of this phase.

Author: Olga Vergeles, Project Manager, Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS)

Source: Delo.ua

Ukrainian Products: Paving the Way to Canadian Supermarkets

The Ukrainian food producers who consider placing their products on the shelves of Canadian supermarkets have a long and thorny way ahead. It is like running a marathon. You gear up, have trainings, and make a step-by-step try: a 10-kilometre distance, then a semi-marathon, and only after that you are prepared to run the whole distance. Provided that you have enough energy, willingness and understand the purpose.

Let us analyze the key stages of the cross-Atlantic marathon and barriers on the way to the Canadian retail chains. To begin with, we will concentrate on the questions “what should you sell?” and “whom to?”

Analyzing the demand for your products and consumer preferences in Canada

Your potential Canadian buyers are numerous (over 35 million) and diverse. Canada is a multicultural country; over 20% of its residents were born outside Canada. Consequently, the customs and preferences of Canadian consumers and partners are dissimilar. I would recommend that you start doing your homework by searching for information using the following resources:

  • Canadian Importer Database, which provides lists of companies importing goods into Canada, with breakdown by product, by city, and by country of origin.
  • Canadian Company Capabilities Directory offers more complete company information. In addition, this tool enables searching by industry. The database includes predominantly Canadian producers, and sometimes distributors.
  • Trade Data Online is another convenient tool to get information on importing goods to Canada, in general and by country.

You may get some information from these resources for free.


Source: Flickr

Studying the demand and the products offered by your competitors is more efficient when you do so on site, that is in Canada, by engaging other people, for example from the Ukrainian diaspora. It is critical that a company may invest into such study. Let us consider some potential market analysis scenarios.

Do-it-yourself market analysis. You, as a producer, go to Canada and – having drafted a plan of visits to certain supermarkets, grocery stores, and points of sale – study the products of a particular group, the prices and the available range. It is an efficient method enabling to understand the proper place and manner of presenting your goods. In addition (a real-world example), if you demonstrate a strong interest and a maximum insistence, you may get contacts of a person active in purchasing for a grocery store or a supermarket suitable for your goods.

Analysis by an agency or an agent. On the one hand, it is a plain vanilla: you contract an agency to conduct the study and, within a specified period, get the report. On the other hand, the agency is not a producer; it will demonstrate its enthusiasm solely within the limits specified in the contract. You cannot exclude that the agent you choose has his own views on the potential of your goods. Among the agents, you may find the representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora living in Canada for years. Often they see the specific nature of the Ukrainian producers, market requirements and demand from the eyes of Canadians. However, I would not recommend you accept a common conception that it is easier to make a deal with a fellow countryman; sometimes it proves unjustified. Your countrymen residing in Canada mind their business interests rather than nationality.

Market analysis by an organization. The main difference between organizations and agencies is that, in addition to studying the demand and providing you with information, organizations may offer you additional services related to the “ongoing promotion” of your company in Canada: participation in exhibitions, educatory touring, etc. Usually, the membership fee they charge is rather moderate; however, you do not get immediate results or “the first aid”. Promoting takes time and requires ‘adoption’ by the Canadian market.

Players of the Canadian food market: who they are and how they work

Supermarkets are the main players; 64% of food products are displayed on their shelves. A supermarket is a full-function and self-service retail market that sells food, with the annual sales of 2 million Canadian Dollars or more.

The 2015 retail sales by Canadian supermarkets and grocery stores are estimated at about 79 million Canadian Dollars.

The top five Canadian supermarkets by annual sales are: Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Sobeys Inc., Metro Inc., Costco Canada Inc. и Walmart Canada Corp.

When choosing and buying food at supermarkets, a Canadian buyer is guided by the following criteria, in descending order of priority: price, taste/freshness, quality, nutritional value/health benefit, safety.

By offering several brands of grocery stores – depending on the pricing policy – some supermarket chains encourage buyers to make more buys. Thirty-three per cent of Canadian buyers opt for specialized stores according to the principle of lower prices.

Winning in the ethnic buyers sector remains a top priority for chain supermarkets in Canada. For Ukrainian producers it means that representatives of ethnic groups (like Ukrainian or Arab diaspora) may trigger interest to certain food product groups. A proactive analysis will help the producer to identify the most wanted products.

In Canada, a typical distributor interacts with the chains of supermarkets and small grocery stores. Customarily, the distributor operates its warehouses in multiple provinces of Canada, which enable prompt product deliveries to multiple stores all over Canada. Commonly, a distributor is active in the markets of both Canada and the US; this may be useful to expand oversea sales geographically.


Source: Flickr

A distributor may operate a separate chain of small ethnic stores of the same brand. In addition, it may offer products under a private label.

For Ukrainian exporters it is important to know that distributors often show interest to food products matching the tastes of ethnic client groups. They opt for goods with the packaging and formula that remind the consumers about their preferences.

However, you should not narrow your offering excessively.

The partner is not interested in niche goods (e.g., gluten-free snacks) and orients at the goods that are popular among Canadian consumers: from confectionary to species.

An advantage of engaging a distributor is a potentially prompt transaction, which is critical for your entry into the Canadian market. If the goods meet the partner’s price, packaging and labelling requirements, the distributor may deliver them to the supermarket chains within 2 months.

What do the Canadian distributors normally expect from a potential supplier? Firstly, a proposal specifying, among others, the best sellers. Secondly, a list of products, including the product description, packaging options according to the consumers’ requirements and/or preferences, letters of references from serious partners. In addition, the supplier should provide a price list, a potential delivery schedule, and specify whether the products are certified.

Author: Olga Vergeles, Project Manager, Canada-Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS)

Source: Delo.ua

The nearby market of distant Canada: free trade and its opportunities for Ukrainian exporters

The first day of the last summer month was marked by the long-awaited launch of a free trade agreement between Ukraine and Canada. Finally, upon completion of ratification procedures, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) came into effect.

Let us take a look at the Agreement from a practical standpoint and analyse the following:

  • how to work under the Agreement and properly understand the meaning of staging categories in the tariff schedules of Ukraine and Canada;
  • how to confirm the origin of goods; and
  • what are regulatory requirements to your goods.

Canadian market is diverse and rather heterogeneous. Therefore, interesting facts are provided at the end of this article for you to get oriented when looking for a niche for your goods at Canada’s store shelves.

Staging categories in tariff schedules of Canada and Ukraine

As a rule, Ukrainian manufacturers are interested in two things:

  • whether zero-rate import duty will be applied for exports to Canada;
  • how will import duty change for imports into Ukraine.

If you decided to review the Agreement yourself in order to find answers to those questions, please, note the staging categories in the tariff schedules of Ukraine and Canada.

The Tariff Schedule of Canada contains the goods with the import duty rate other than “0” as of the effective date of the Agreement (only 2% of goods). That is, if your goods are not listed in the Tariff Schedule of Canada this means that a zero import duty is applied to them since 01.08.2017. Therefore, there are only two staging categories in the Tariff Schedule of Canada: “7” and “Е”.

Staging category “7” applies to certain vehicles and means that the import duty will become zero in the eighth year of the Agreement (according to the estimates, in 2024) by getting gradually reduced in eight equal stages starting on 01.08.2017. Let us take, for instance, “Non-amphibious all-terrain vehicles of a weight of less than 227.3 kg, having fewer than six wheels and designed to carry only one passenger” (8703.21.10), for which the base rate of import duty is 6.1% and the staging category is “7”. The order of gradual reduction of import duties is shown in the graph below.

It should be noted also that the first year of the Agreement is 01.08.2017 through 31.12.2017. That is, the second year and the next phase of import duty liberalization will start already on 01.01.2018 (and last through 31.12.2018).

The goods in staging category “Е” in the tariff schedules of both states are excluded from the scope of the Agreement. This means that the free trade regime does not apply to those goods and the import duty will continue to be applied at the MFN rate (relevant rates of import duties may be found in Canada’s Customs Tariff).

In the case of Canada, Category “Е” includes the goods subject to Canada’s global tariff quotas. These are mainly certain grain crops and meat and dairy products. The idea of the tariff quota is that a zero or a very low import duty rate is applied within a tariff quota. When the quota is exhausted, however, a higher duty rate is applied (MFN rate in accordance with the Agreement).

It should be noted that Canada’s tariff quotas are international and applied to all countries of the world rather than Ukraine only. Canada reserved the right to set tariff quotas when it became a member-state of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Those quotas are available for all exporters from all countries that are WTO members. Depending on the goods, the tariff quotas are administered on the basis of either of the following principles:

  • “first-in-first-served” (the control of compliance with this principle is exercised by Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA);
  • through a preliminary distribution of tariff quotas by Global Affairs Canada based on applications.

In both cases, the tariff quota is received by an importer in Canada. The list of tariff quota holders may be found on the website of Global Affairs Canada. Following this link, for example, you may see the lists of companies that received a tariff quota for cheese in 2017.

The Tariff Schedule of Ukraine contains a much larger number of staging categories. In particular, this is due to the fact that Ukraine succeeded in claiming the asymmetric nature of the Agreement. Therefore, Ukraine will liberalize import duties for about 80% of the goods of Canadian origin on 1 August already (while Canada will ensure free access to the market for 98% of Ukrainian goods).

That is why, zero-rate import duty will apply to the goods under staging category “0” in Ukraine’s Tariff Schedule as soon as the Agreement comes into force. The plan for the goods under staging categories “1”, “3”, “5” and “7” is shown in the table below.

For the goods under Staging Categories “5А”, “5B”, “5С”, “7А” and “7В”, the import duty rate will be liberalized only in part. As an example, let us take: 1517 90 91 00 – Fixed vegetable oils, fluid, mixed; Base Rate – 15%, Staging category: 5В. The import duty rate will be liberalized as follows (as we can see, the rate will only drop by 4.5% in 6 years):

Staging category “Е” (exclusion from the scope of the Agreement) in the Tariff Schedule of Ukraine applies to sugar.

Rules of origin

Similarly to any other free trade treaty, CUFTA contains provisions on definition of origin of goods. For instance, the rules of origin determine, which Ukrainian goods are granted preferential access to the Canadian market within the CUFTA framework, and which are not (and vice versa).

In compliance with the Agreement, goods are recognized as originating from Ukraine if they are:

  1. fully manufactured in Ukraine;
  2. manufactured exclusively from the materials originating from Ukraine;
  3. processed in Ukraine to a sufficient extent.

Definitely, the most complex are the rules of sufficient production that

  • require changing the tariff classification, or
  • impose requirements to the relation of the cost of foreign materials to the transaction cost, or
  • impose a requirement to the relation of the cost of foreign materials to the goods price on the Ex Works terms.

Therefore, exporters should review in detail the rules of origin contained in Chapter 3 and Annex 3-А to the Agreement.

The document confirming the origin of goods is the Declaration of Origin (a template is contained in Annex 3-В to the Agreement). That is, exporters themselves provide information on the origin in the invoice or any other document containing the goods description.

Thus, for the confirmation of the goods origin, Ukrainian exporters do not need any certificates/marks of customs authorities, which reduces the cost and time for customs clearance of goods.

Where to find regulatory requirements to your goods?

Canada is a developed country that sets rather strict requirements to the safety and quality of goods. For those requirements not to become non-tariff barriers for export, it is worth studying them in detail. There is a number of useful resources for that purpose.

For instance, Canada Food Inspection Agency ensures compliance with all regulatory acts dealing with foodstuffs, animals, and plants imported to Canada. There is a very convenient resource on the Agency’s website that allows generating the requirements for import to Canada using the code (or even the name) of goods. The system is called Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and is somewhat similar to the European Export Helpdesk resource.

For manufacturers of consumer goods, medicines, foodstuffs, medical equipment, health products, the website of Health Canada will be of use.

Manufacturers of washing machines, dish washers, freezers, electric ovens, and refrigerators should review the details of EnerGuide certification requirements on the website of Natural Resources Canada.

If you are a manufacturer of textile, it is worth visiting the website of Canadian Competition Bureau to learn, for instance, about the textile marking requirements.

In fact, there are specific marking rules applied in Canada.

Labels on the packing must be in Canada’s two official languages: French and English, and both texts must occupy the same area.

Therefore, we recommend reviewing the provisions of Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

One should be very careful with statements concerning the goods. For instance, under Canadian rules the skin antiaging agent may only prevent signs of aging rather than reducing wrinkles. The same refers to foodstuffs where statements concerning the goods may be of three types only:

  • general impact on health,
  • functional impact on health,
  • reduction of disease exposure.

For each type of statements, individual rules are applied. For instance, if you position your goods as “natural” you have to make sure they do not contain any additional vitamins, minerals, nutrients, artificial flavours or food supplements, and no elements were excluded (except water) or significantly modified, while the physical, chemical or biological condition of the goods remains unchanged.

Usually, your Canadian partner would tell you about all regulatory requirements to the goods and how to prove compliance with them because it will be the Canadian importer who will be liable in case of incompliance. Therefore, when developing a bilingual label remember that the final word of the design approval rests with your partner.

Concerning the search for partners, Canadian Importer Database is an extremely useful resource that contains lists of companies that import their goods to Canada with a breakdown by products, cities and countries of origin.

Canada: Facts and Opportunities

Finally, some words about Canada and Canadians. Canada is the second largest country in the world. However, about four fifth of its population live in the area 150 km away from the US border.

More than 6 million Canadian citizens are those who immigrated from other countries; they represent about 20.6% of the country’ entire population (35.9 million people in total).

In Canada, there are 1.3 million Ukrainians; Ukrainian community is one of the largest in Canada. Originally, Ukrainians immigrated to the prairie provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) but lately have been also discovering Ontario and Quebec.

Canada’s multiculturalism opens broad opportunities for business on condition of detailed market analyses aimed to detect target consumers. For example, cosmetic manufacturers export skin bleachers to British Columbia because of many people of South Asian descent living there.

Due to the increase of the Muslim community, demand for Halal products is steadily growing. Interestingly, more than 95% of Canada’s Muslim population live in cities.

According to the latest research of Business Development Bank of Canada Canadian consumers prefer:

  • Internet search before purchasing the goods (they carefully study other buyers’ reviews and feedback);
  • health lifestyle (as estimated, almost 31% of Canadian consumers are ready to pay more for healthy goods);
  • individual approach; and
  • good quality at lower price.

Also, about 6 of 10 Canadians consider themselves to be “ethical consumers” and are willing to spend their money for the goods produced under certain ethical standards. For instance, Canadians are ready to pay more for the goods that are not connected with the use of children’s labour.

Canadian market of organic goods is the fifth largest in the world and 56% of Canadians buy organic products every week.

Thus, Canadian market is closer than it may seem in the beginning, and the Free Trade Agreement does bring many opportunities for Ukrainian exporters considering significant and immediate cancellation of import duties and a large Ukrainian diaspora in Canada that may become a bridge to Canadian consumers, distributors, agents, retail operators, etc.

So don’t be afraid to capture new markets even though they are located far.

Author: Oleksandra Brovko, CUTIS Senior Trade and Investment policy expert

Source: European Pravda