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Exporting logistics

You’re unsure if you need a certificate of origin, export permit, or to declare your exports

Clearing customs

Who can sign a certificate of origin?

To certify that a good exported to a free trade partner qualifies as an originating good, the exporter must complete and sign the certificate of origin established under that specific free trade agreement. Only officials who have the legal authority to sign on behalf of a company, or who have sufficient knowledge of the origin of the goods, may sign a certificate. If a third party has completed and signed the certificate on behalf of the exporter or producer, that third party must have knowledge of the origin of the goods.

All parties must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that the signing party has the legal authority to complete and sign the certificate. Read more on the Origin of Goods and the Certification of Origin from the CBSA.

When do I need an export permit?

You will need an export permit if:

Global Affairs Canada provides detailed information about export and import controls and permits. For more information, please consult A Guide to Canada’s Export Controls.

When do I need to declare my exports?

Unless you are exporting to the United States, reporting your exports is mandatory under Canadian regulations. For details on how to do this, consult the Canada Border Services Agency’s Guide to Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada.

Will I also have to pay taxes again on items purchased in Canada when they arrive at their destination?

The trade sections of foreign embassies, high commissions, and consulates in Canada can often assist exporters on tax-related requests by putting them in contact with the revenue authority in their home country. Consult Foreign Representatives in Canada to find the contact details relevant to your request.

External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to deepen your knowledge on customs, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee): 

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

You need information on transport insurance or shipping procedures

Preparing goods for shipment

What specifically do I need to ship my product from Canada?

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has developed a simplified Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada. This list outlines the major requirements needed to ship goods outside of Canada and is intended to complement and not replace existing regulations, acts and references.

For more information, visit Guide to exporting commercial goods from Canada

What kind of protection does transport insurance cover?

The following information provides general guidelines only. Companies must do their own due diligence and get qualified advice regarding their insurance needs.

International carriers assume only limited liability and make the seller responsible for the goods up to the point of delivery to the foreign buyer. For this reason, you must have international transportation insurance. Marine transportation insurance protects both ocean and air-bound cargo. It also covers connecting land transportation.

There are 3 main types of marine transportation insurance:

  1. Free of particular average—This insurance provides the narrowest type of coverage. Total losses are covered, as well as partial losses at sea if the vessel sinks, burns or is stranded.
  2. With average—This insurance offers greater protection from partial losses at sea.
  3. All risk—This is the most comprehensive insurance, protecting against all physical loss or damage from external causes. Once the documents transferring title are delivered to the foreign buyer, you are no longer liable for the goods.

What shipping documents do I need?

Shipping documents are prepared by either you or your freight forwarder. They allow your shipment to pass through customs, to be loaded onto a carrier and transported to its final destination.

Key shipping documents include:

For more information on preparing goods for shipment, consult the following resources from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS):

External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to deepen your knowledge or increase your expertise on preparing goods for shipment, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee): 

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

You need help with packaging, storage and warehousing

Preparing goods for storage

How do I pack my goods for shipment?

Always assume your products will have a bumpy ride, particularly if shipping overseas. Pack them to survive rough-and-ready cargo handlers and poor roads. During transit, handling, and storage, your products may also be exposed to bad weather and extreme temperatures. If they need special temperature controls or other protective measures, be sure they get them.

The type of shipping may determine the kind of packing you should use. For example, if the goods are carried by ship, you need to know whether they will be placed above or below deck.

Labelling regulations vary widely from nation to nation, so verify the required labels before you ship.

Your product may not clear customs if labels do not conform to local requirements such as product weight or electrical standards.

Marking distinguishes your goods from those of other shippers. Marks shown on the shipping container must agree with those on the bill of lading or other shipping documents; they may include some or all of the following:

Provide a packing list that identifies and itemizes the contents of each container. Each container must also contain a packing list itemizing its contents. For information on packaging your goods for the EU marketplace, refer to the CE Marking Guide.

Can I get assistance with warehousing in my target market?

An in-market trade commissioner can often facilitate personal introductions to key local contacts for obtaining an office or warehousing space. They can also provide you with pertinent information on longer-term storage and warehousing in the region.

To connect with a trade commissioner abroad, use Find a trade commissioner.

External Resources through Canada’s Network of Trade Partners -- If you want to deepen your knowledge or increase your expertise on preparing goods for storage, we recommend the following online resources (some may require payment of a fee): 

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

‘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.

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