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Grow your business in North America

Benefit from the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

World map with trajectories from Canada to the United States and Mexico where Canadian companies can benefit from CUSMA to grow their businesses.
PDF Version (6.49 MB)

Are you looking to access millions of new consumers by expanding your business to the U.S. and Mexico?

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) can help get you there! The TCS can help you navigate the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), also known as the new NAFTA, a free trade agreement (FTA) that presents businesses like yours with new advantages and excellent opportunities for growth in North American markets.

FTAs, like CUSMA, are treaties between two or more countries that lower or remove barriers to trade, such as tariffs. They make it easier to do business and may help you compete as an equal with local companies. They can also reduce red tape, minimize trade costs and help to increase the volume of goods traded between countries.

To increase success in doing business outside of Canada, Canadian companies must be prepared and leverage all of the tools available to them. CUSMA is one of these tools that can help grow your global sales and take your business to the next level.

Let the TCS help you navigate

Whether you export goods or services, the TCS can help you make the most of CUSMA and Canada’s other FTAs.

Canada's FTAs

Canada currently has 15 ratifiedFootnote 1 FTAs with 49 different countries, including CUSMA. Together, these agreements cover 1.5 billion consumers worldwide.

Whether you sell goods or services or you’re seeking to find business partners in your supply chain, Canada’s FTAs help grow your business by:

Increasing competitiveness

With lower or no tariffs, it could cost less to take your product to a new market than it would for a competitor bringing a similar product from another country without an FTA in place.

Providing access to new consumers

FTAs make it easier for you to sell to consumers in other countries. FTAs can also include preferential rules that can simplify how you set up your foreign operations.

Making foreign markets more easily accessible

FTAs can reduce the transaction costs incurred by businesses by simplifying and streamlining various stages of the customs process, helping your product to market more efficiently. Some FTAs can also give businesses an equal opportunity to bid on government contracts in other countries.

Making foreign markets more transparent and stable

FTAs take some of the guesswork out of exporting by offering Canadian businesses better predictability, protection and transparency in foreign markets. Some recent FTAs also promote progress on meeting global labour, environmental, and responsible business standards and practices. Some FTAs also include commitments that give businesses protection for their investment.

Doing business in North America with CUSMA

CUSMA is a multilateral agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, which replaced NAFTA on July 1˜°, 2020. CUSMA supports companies like yours by maintaining and improving Canadian access to the U.S. and Mexico, and keeping the border open for your products, services and temporary movement of high-skilled workers.

CUSMA secures Canadian companies preferential access to:

How can CUSMA help you grow your global sales?

Increases competitiveness: CUSMA creates advantageous conditions for Canadian businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and maintains Canada’s preferential access to the U.S. and Mexican markets for goods.

Makes trade more transparent and stable: CUSMA simplifies, standardizes, and modernizes trade-related customs procedures to facilitate the movement of goods within the CUSMA territory.

Reduces barriers to trade: CUSMA addresses key challenges and barriers to doing business in the global marketplace, such as technical barriers to trade, that disproportionately affect SMEs.

Improves access for services companies: CUSMA enhances market access for Canada’s services industries, including financial services, and supports a predictable, stable and transparent investment environment for investors investing in North America.

Increases your market presence: CUSMA lowers costs of participating in international trade, including by creating new rules that address potential barriers to digital trade and by protecting the free flow of information across borders. It also maintains Canada’s preferential access to U.S. and Mexican markets for the temporary entry of certain categories of businesspersons.

Your CUSMA toolkit for North America

Resources and guides

Ready to take advantage of CUSMA?

Connect with a trade commissioner in North America

Our network of trade commissioners in the U.S. and Mexico can provide on-the-ground export advice and identify potential opportunities in your sector to help you achieve your business goals.

Need to speak with a trade commissioner? Contact us today.

You can also reach us through the following social media channels:

Twitter: @TCS_SDC
Facebook: Trade Commissioner Service
LinkedIn: Trade Commissioner Service

Access TCS market insights

Market entry strategies should be tailored on a country-by-country basis. Research your target market with the help of the TCS and take your business to the next level.

Access information by country to explore opportunities for your business.

Don’t miss out on the new NAFTA’s benefits

Did you know that from 2015 to 2019, Canadian exports under NAFTA were leaving an average of 17% of potential tariff savings on the table? That’s nearly CAD 7 billion in total savings missed out on over five years! That amount would be enough to purchase all seven of the NHL’s Canadian franchises at the market value in 2020 (roughly CAD 6.9 billion).

This lost opportunity could have contributed to Canadian companies exporting more products due to lower costs, or using those savings on other business expenses like marketing or hiring more staff.

Success stories

Online teaching software company leverages CUSMA and increases its digital reach worldwide during the pandemic

Off2Class, Kris Jagasia, Co-Founder and CEO

When COVID-19 struck, Off2Class, a Toronto, ON, company that specializes in providing software for English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instruction, was already increasing its digital reach in countries such as Mexico with the assistance of the TCS. “COVID-19 has significantly expanded the need for our services,” says Kris Jagasia, Co-Funder and CEO. And with the benefits of CUSMA, he says the company is planning to “double down on the U.S. and Mexico markets.”

Kris Jagasia sitting with two students on a park bench looking at Off2Class’s English as-a-second-language software on a laptop.

Thanks to CUSMA, the company doesn’t have to charge value-added tax (VAT) in Mexico, and it ensures rules and regulations that offer predictability and promote competitiveness in the North American market. The agreement has even implemented new chapters on SMEs and Digitalization that Off2Class will benefit from.

The TCS in Mexico helped the company put a strategy in place to better target their desired clients and provided introductions to potential clients. “People paid more attention to initial introduction emails if they came from the TCS, after which the Off2Class team could take over,” Jagasia says.

Pandemic pivot helps company sell and deliver services in U.S.

Morris Interactive, Mathew Cey, Co-Founder and CEO

With a goal to dramatically expand its customer base in the U.S., Morris Interactive had plans to spend 2020 attending trade shows and conferences south of the border. The Saskatoon, SK, based company applied for funding from the TCS’s CanExport SMEs program to connect with buyers and build awareness about its dynamic consulting and training services.

Head shot of Mathew Cey smiling.

But when the pandemic hit, travel restrictions and event cancellations blew apart the company’s strategy, which centered on face-to-face interaction. It had to rethink what business development in the U.S. would look like and recalibrate its efforts to deliver its services digitally—as well as look at the advantages that CUSMA might bring.

Rather than shelve its plans, the company changed its CanExport application to an online digital engagement strategy with the help of the TCS. Mathew Cey, the company’s Co-Founder and CEO, says the TCS was “very supportive” of the revised strategy that will help accelerate its growth plans. He is also looking at ways that CUSMA can bring more business, and hopes that the company’s U.S. sales will increase from its current 8% to 15%.

 

The Trade Commissioner Service helps Canadian businesses grow by connecting them with its funding and support programs, international opportunities, and its network of trade commissioners in more than 160 cities worldwide. Learn more at tradecommissioner.gc.ca.

Twitter: @TCS_SDC
Facebook: Trade Commissioner Service
LinkedIn: Trade Commissioner Service

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