When you’re in market
Your market of interest is experiencing major changes or challenges
Staying informed of global events
Where can I find the latest information on events that might impact my business?
Conducting global business is never without risk. Unforeseen developments can occur in any foreign market that may impact your business plans.
Fortunately, Global Affairs Canada offers numerous online resources with the most up-to-date information you need to know, including travel advisories, updates on trade negotiations and sanctions, and country-specific issues.
- Travel—Travel and tourism is the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. Every business traveler should check the Travel Advice and Advisories web page twice before going abroad: once when you plan to travel and a second time a few days before your departure.
- Trade agreements—Stay informed on the latest information about Canada’s trade and investment agreements. Trade commissioners in those markets can help you understand how these agreements apply to your business.
- Canadian sanctions—Stay informed about Canadian sanctions and how these measures may impact your business. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your regional office of the Trade Commissioner Service or reach out to the Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division at Global Affairs Canada.
- Natural disaster, political change, civil unrest—The impact of these types of developments on Canadian businesses can vary greatly. For an updated assessment of the situation in your target market, connect with a trade commissioner by using Find a trade commissioner.
For more information on global events, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
- Supporting entrepreneurs to build resilience and expand abroad
- Pandemic pivot helps company sell and deliver services in U.S.
External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to keep up to date on global events, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee):
- Export Development Canada (EDC)
- Business recovery and resilience guide
- Top 10 global risks facing Canadian companies
You have issues with a foreign business partner
Managing commercial disputes
My local partner is not complying with our original agreement: can you help?
The Government of Canada does not take sides in commercial disputes. This includes providing Canadian companies with custom legal advice or arbitration services.
However, the Trade Commissioner Service can still help you by facilitating communication and advising how best to resolve your situation.
Potential solutions may include:
- Referring you to local authorities—Often the local ministry of commerce or other in-market organizations offer an enquiry line you can use to request assistance and register complaints about local businesses and/or business practices.
- Using a mediation centre—In some countries, the bilateral Chamber of Commerce or other in-market organizations responsible for international trade assist foreign parties in resolving commercial disputes. These may also have an office in Canada you may wish to consult with first for additional advice.
- Pursuing litigation—If you wish to pursue the legal resolution of a dispute, you should work with a reputable local law firm.
The Trade Commissioner Service offers Country and sector information for international business. Search general market information for listings of law firms, local service providers and other general market information.
For more information on managing commercial disputes, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
- If you like it then you better put a contract on it
- Audio podcast: Insurance for exports helps reduce risks
External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to increase your expertise on finding business partners, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee):
- Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
You are facing demands for bribes or other corruption-related issues
Dealing with foreign corruption
Paying bribes seems common practice to get things done in my market: is there any risk to my business?
Absolutely. The Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA) criminalizes the bribery of a foreign public official and the maintaining or destruction of books and records to facilitate or hide the bribing of a foreign public official. The CFPOA, as amended in 2013, allows for the prosecution in Canada of acts committed by Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and corporations, societies, firms or partnerships organized under the laws of Canada or a province of Canada for the purposes of the offences under the CFPOA.
What are facilitation payments?
Sometimes known as “grease payments,” facilitation payments are those made to expedite or secure the performance by a foreign public official of any act of a routine nature that is part of the foreign public official’s duties or functions. Examples include:
- issuance of a permit, licence or other document
- processing of official documents, such as visas and work permits
- provision of services normally offered to the public, such as mail and utilities
- provision of other government services such as police protection, cargo logistics, the protection of perishable products from deterioration or the scheduling of inspections related to contract performance or transit of goods
Since October 31, 2017, any payment made by a Canadian to a foreign public official to secure or expedite the performance of acts of a routine nature that are within the scope of the official’s duties and functions in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business is not permitted under Canadian law, regardless of whether it takes place in Canada or abroad.
Where can I find more information?
Companies can contact the Trade Commissioner Service for more information about the market they are targeting. In most cases, the TCS can provide insights and advice about the local risks related to Responsible Business Conduct, as well as refer you to qualified local service providers who can help manage those risks.
Learn more about Canada’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery efforts on Global Affairs Canada’s Bribery and corruption web page.
If you are unsure what to do, contact a trade commissioner for advice using Find a trade commissioner.
If the Trade Commissioner Service learns that you or your company have engaged in unethical business practices, our trade commissioners are mandated to report this to officials. As a result, your company may be ineligible for future TCS services and support programs.
For more information on dealing with foreign corruption, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
- Paying the price: Confronting corruption in international business
- How one company tackled corruption abroad
External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to learn more about dealing with foreign corruption, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee):
- Export Development Canada (EDC)
You are dealing with a non-payment issue abroad
Collecting overdue accounts
I need help collecting a debt from a foreign company: what can I do?
The Government of Canada does not take sides in commercial disputes. This includes acting as a payment collector on behalf of Canadian companies.
Should you require legal assistance in this market, you can search general market information on the Trade Commissioner Service website to find listings of law firms and local service providers.
What are my rights as an unpaid seller?
Your best protection as a seller is payment in advance, on delivery, or payment by an irrevocable confirmed letter of credit.
If these options are not possible, you should take out security for the unpaid purchase price. This can take several forms, but the most common method is to reserve title or take a secured interest in the goods.
Can I insure against non-payment?
You can protect your company through Portfolio Credit Insurance provided by Export Development Canada (EDC).
Portfolio Credit Insurance protects you against non-payment by covering up to 90% of losses resulting from a wide variety of commercial and political risks. With Portfolio Credit Insurance, you will be able to free up your capital and possibly extend more attractive payment terms and credit options to new customers.
If you have outstanding accounts receivable (A/R), but need the cash immediately, you can sell your A/R to your bank. A/R discounting is made possible with credit insurance as the bank can be certain it will be paid. Visit the TCS Spotlight on Export Finance to learn more about how you can improve cash flows and enter new markets with reduced risk.
External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to find out more about collecting overdue accounts, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee):
- Export Development Canada (EDC)
You need information on export controls, trade sanctions, and other trade barriers
Understanding market access issues
How do I know if I require an export permit?
Canada’s export controls are among the most rigorous in the world to ensure a solid, multilateral approach to controlling military and dual-use goods and technologies. If you are considering exporting a controlled good or technology, the Trade Commissioner Service can help determine if you require an export permit.
For further information on Canada’s export controls policy see Global Affairs Canada’s A Guide to Canada’s Export Control List and visit the Trade Commissioner Service’s Tariffs, sanctions and export controls web page.
Has Canada imposed any sanctions I should know about?
It’s important to stay informed and understand how sanctions can affect your business.
Visit Canadian Sanctions to learn more about the types of sanctions imposed by Canada, as well as the process to apply for sanctions permits or certificates.
I am experiencing a trade barrier that’s holding back my business: what can I do?
The Trade Commissioner Service will work closely with you to get the best possible outcome for your company. The time frame will depend on the nature of the trade barrier as well as the willingness of the foreign partner to help overcome it.
Visit Find a trade commissioner to connect with a trade commissioner abroad.
You can also register your trade barrier online, depending on whether you are exporting goods, services, or agriculture and agri-food products.
External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to increase your expertise on market access issues, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee):
- Export Development Canada (EDC)
You need to manage travel and other business issues related to COVID-19
Coping with COVID-19
How is the Government of Canada supporting international trade during COVID-19?
Operating in unprecedented times created unprecedented challenges for small and medium‑sized businesses. To keep companies informed, we created a centralized web page with up‑to‑date information and resources on COVID‑19 and Canada’s international trade.
Canada is committed to supporting Canadian businesses and the free flow of goods and services across our international borders.
- Financial support and services for businesses operating globally
- Responsible Business Conduct
- Keeping supply and trade links open
- Additional resources for businesses operating internationally
Can I travel abroad for business?
Business travellers are strongly encouraged to follow Official Global Travel Advisories—the Government of Canada’s official source of destination-specific travel information. No matter where you plan to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advisories for your destination twice: once when you are planning your trip, and again shortly before you leave. See Travel Advice and Advisories – FAQ for more information.
Visit current border measures and requirements on the Canada Border Services Agency web site for information about entering Canada and how COVID-19 is affecting travellers, border services and businesses.
What business activities can I do virtually?
- Updated CanExport funding to include digital and virtual activities To help businesses, innovators, associations and communities grow in new international markets while operating in the “new normal,” we expanded our CanExport funding programs to provide tools to expand your e‑commerce presence and explore markets virtually.
- Expanded e‑commerce resources to help companies operate virtually The pandemic highlighted to many entrepreneurs the advantages and opportunities of adjusting their business model through digital adoption and virtual service delivery. We developed a new e‑commerce web page to help companies safely grow their business online to reach new customers in new countries.
- Organized virtual trade missions, events and programs As international business adapts to a virtual world, we continue to support Canadian companies at virtual trade events in Canada and abroad as well as through virtual trade missions to key international markets.
How can I take advantage of global demand for health-related products and services?
There is still a call for Canadian health‑related products and services that can help fight against COVID‑19 in global markets. We have created a Canadian COVID‑19 Capabilities Directory to highlight what Canada has to offer potential buyers around the world. Our extensive network of trade commissioners leverages this directory to match export‑ready Canadian firms with COVID‑19‑related international business opportunities.
If your company offers a solution that supports the fight against COVID-19, you can request to have your products and/or services promoted in the directory by reaching out to your closest Trade Commissioner Service regional office.
What resources are available to help my business during COVID-19?
To help you manage your business during COVID-19, please see the list of financial support, loans and access to credit available to you as well as resources for business and self-employed individuals.
For more information on coping with COVID-19, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):
- 7 tips to help Canadian businesses during COVID-19
- 5 tips for designing your online store
- Paradigm shift: Small-businesses pivot to e-commerce to reach new customers and increase their sales
- Responding to the challenges and opportunities of COVID‑19 and CUSMA
‘Get Help Now’ - If you have an urgent export situation in a foreign market.
‘Contact Us’ - If you are already doing business internationally, or if you are ready to start exporting, and would like to discuss your strategy for one or more target markets.
Return to the troubleshoot your situation page.
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