Twelve countries that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership concluded negotiations for a free trade deal on Oct 5, 2015 after many years of talks. TPP covers 40% of trade globally, a gross domestic product (GDP) of $28.5 trillion and a market of 800 million people, covering a scope akin to the World Trade Organization (WTO) & NAFTA. Facing steps such as ratification by each country, political and otherwise, it’s unlikely any member country will fail to adopt it.

Little is known on the specifics so far, and in any deal so far reaching, there will be winners and losers.

Various sides are already positioning to endorse or condemn, similar to what occurred during the NAFTA negotiations, but history has proven NAFTA to be a real winner for all.

There is clear potential for Canadian businesses to boost their exports; Canada already exports to TPP members, however the key catalyst will be the reduction of tariffs in member countries. Read More


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Recent years have seen significant changes in the global food environment. An increasingly global marketplace for food means more opportunities for the introduction and spread of contaminants. At the same time, the food industry is pioneering new approaches to traceability, third party certification, and other ways to make food safer.

With the passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA); CFIA is actively updating/modernizing the legislation and related procedures that control the safety of Canada’s food. As a result, it’s imperative that all companies who are concerned with food products follow the fluid developments in this area to avoid being caught short. The SFCA merges all current CFIA regulations under the same roof, regardless of whether the food is imported, exported or traded inter-provincially; the key changes include:

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Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 3.53.21 PMIn tennis, the sweet spot is where a combination of factors results in maximum response for a given amount of effort. The sweet spot is the best place on the racquet face for impact with the ball; the spot at which the strike absorbs the full amount of the forward momentum and rebounds from the racket with a greater velocity than if struck at any other point.

Tennis racquets have two sweet spots; if a ball impacts at either, the force transmitted to the hand is sufficiently small, reducing rotation and vibration, while maximizing power.

For e-commerce e-tailers to Canada, finding your ‘sweet spot’ is equally important. As goods cross an international border, planning is necessary to optimize northbound shipments with the aim of directing them exactly where you want them to go with speed and accuracy, at low cost.

  • Do you have an international e-Commerce coach you can work with?
  • A Canadian pro who ensures success with the best of possible options?

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More than ever before, the internet offers visibility to almost everything; good and bad. Customers experiencing a less than optimal e-commerce purchase/experience have an effective weapon at hand – the post of an unflattering online review.

Consumer surveys indicate a high percentage of potential customers ‘always’ or ‘often’ used online reviews to assess a company before an e-commerce purchase.

2015 Key Findings:

  • 88% have read reviews to determine the quality of a business (vs. 85% in 2013)
  • 39% read reviews on a regular basis (vs. 32% in 2013)
  • Only 12% do not read reviews (vs. 15% in 2013)

For 7 out of 10 consumers, positive reviews inspire trust, highlighting just how important they are for a business, and it’s clear that reputation management is something that cannot be ignored. Negative reviews will directly affect customer acquisition and, in turn, company revenue.

Any way you look at it, online consumer reviews and complaints posted on social media are not going away. Your company has to embrace the idea that your customers are going to post about their experience with you online and your aim should be to deliver the highest level of customer service possible.

Consider your e-commerce techniques

Take your e-commerce approach to Canada for instance and evaluate it to determine if your risk is high for negative social media exposure; ask your self some key questions: Read More


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Today’s performance cars really have it all – performance, speed, agility, value for money and thanks to technology, both emerging and otherwise; actually include sensible amounts of fiscal restraint as part of the equation. It’s not all about gobs of horsepower and torque, although it’s about that too.

The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4.churns out 1,200 hp from its 8.0L mill and stands alone as the most powerful production car ever built, but today there are a selection of mega-horsepower hybrid supercars that merge gas and electric power, combining all the desired attributes.

Cars like the 963hp Ferrari LaFerrari; 903hp McLaren P1 and 795hp Porsche 918 Spyder; all offer huge horsepower, but are more fuel-efficient and safer than years past. The new era of lofty horsepower is not limited to million-dollar supercars either, witness the trickle-down effect.

Consider the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat twins; both around $60K, brewing 707 hp from supercharged 6.2L V8’s. Not only do the Hellcats have twice the horsepower of their muscle car ancestors, they can be driven twice as far until you have to fill up, allowing you to truly “have it all.”

The analogy of “having it all” can be applied to just about any situation; let’s consider the international strategies of e-tailers who sell on-line product to the Canadian marketplace.

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In baseball, when a ball is hit just right, you’ve found the “sweet spot” of the bat. Bats in general react to impacts and transmit vibration; when the ball is struck, it vibrates in response.

Impact vibrations travel in waves up and down the length of the bat. At a point called “the node,” the waves cancel each other out. Hitting the ball on the bat’s node will cause the vibrations from the impact to cancel out without any stinging or shaking in your hand. Since little of the bat’s energy under impact is lost to vibrations when this spot is hit; more power from the collision goes to the ball with the result being a distance increase; a simple, but complicated and beautiful physics equation demonstrated in real life.

Part of the role of “batting coaches” in Major League Baseball is to constantly work with their prodigies and superstars to optimize the likelihood of finding the node consistently. This is easier said than done with the variables and dynamics involved between the pitcher, catcher and batter, not to mention the pressure, roar and buzz with every “at bat.”

Similarly if you are an e-commerce on-line seller of goods to Canada, your goods cross an international border. As a result, planning is necessary to find the “sweet spot” for these northbound transactions with the aim of hitting it out of the park for your customers! Read More


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HS (Harmonized System) Tariff classification can be a very complex undertaking for certain goods; as a means of assistance to the importing community, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) publishes advance rulings upon request.

Advance rulings have the following benefits:

  • Rulings ensure that the HS used is deemed correct by the CBSA.
  • Advance rulings provide certainty to the importer as to how goods are to be classified.
  • The ruling is binding until it is revoked or amended.

For information on the importance of proper HS classification of goods see the fact sheet: Harmonized System (HS) Compliance

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You convey a story with each e-commerce order; it begins when your customer finds your website, discovers that coveted item on line, the purchase decision, warehouse pick and pack, right up to the delivery – ending with the overall impression left. All through the narrative are various actions and touch points, requiring flawless execution for success. Your goal is to author daily stories with happy endings for all; to fashion a captivating buzz with every written chapter:


Authors need support from a publisher – for those who retail goods to Canada through a website; support is supplied by an experienced logistics partner/customs broker who can add shipping expertise to your narrative.

Act A – The Lead

An experienced partner in the e-commerce environment; BILSI has an efficient, cost effective solution for e-tailers who strive to gain access or increase market share in the Canadian marketplace. As a licensed Customs broker in Canada, we combine experienced staff, web services and strategic affiliations enabling e-tailers strategies for real time, direct to door pricing for your Canadian clients with no hidden fees, or COD charges. Our solutions manage border processes, increase client satisfaction levels and write the happy ending of increased sales. Read More


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For those unfamiliar with the minutiae of importing/trade, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the complexity of information, terms and how to decipher requirements; here is a list of five essentials to get you started:

1.     HS Classification:

The customs environment requires that your product be classified according to a coding structure named the Harmonized System (HS). The 10-digit HS determines how much duty is applicable at import depending on what the product is and its Country Of Origin (COO).

To get a clearer picture; it’s essential you familiarize with:

  1. The best description of your goods; (in technical as well as layman’s terms).
  2. Know the country of origin of the goods.
  3. Product details such as material of chief value; (i.e. plastic, wood, etc.), character/construction; (i.e. woven, knitted, plated metal, etc.), essential function; (i.e. to decode/play movies, part of diesel engine, etc.), and for clothing; sex (i.e. men’s/women’s) and age (i.e. children’s) all can affect your HS class.
  4. Import reason; for what use – end use may determine classification; (i.e. bedroom furniture).

Incorrect HS classification can lead to delays in clearing goods, inaccurate duty payments, increased costs, reassessments and possible penalties – spend time to get it right and consider a ruling when it’s complicated.

2.     Government Agency Authority:

Clearing Customs isn’t always the only obstacle; be aware of agencies that regulate your goods and what their requirements are; to save time, precious resources and unexpected costs: Read More


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Our previous Blog covered e-commerce approaches for the consumer, in the second part of this series; we examine management of this area for e-commerce businesses.

E-commerce is radically transforming the retail environment while opening the value proposition and variety of goods more than ever before; the location one sells from has become irrelevant.

In addition, internet sales allow consumers to instantly compare goods; price and transit time, allowing a purchase decision that weighs all of these factors.

Expanding Reach

To compete; the US E-tailer must execute a solid approach to cover off all of these variables; you may have success domestically, but do you have a strategy to expand your reach to other countries?

First and foremost, the primary country ripe for expansion is typically Canada for reasons including:

  1. A fresh market of 35 million people with one of the highest internet adoption rates in the world.
  2. Geography; close proximity, population primarily clustered within 100KM of the border.
  3. Least cost country to serve than offshore.
  4. Similar culture, disposable income potential and comparable business climate.

In spite of this northern potential; do you know how to reach Canadians in the most cost effective manner?

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