International trade experts say Canada’s non-resident importer program reduces costs, improves delivery times and streamlines operations north of the border for U.S. exporters. 

Chris Borecky, senior business development manager for a Canadian customs broker called Frontier Supply Chain Solutions, spoke yesterday during a webinar hosted by the Madison International Trade Association. 

He explained Canada’s non-resident importer program allows foreign companies to do business in the country without requiring a physical presence there or becoming incorporated in the country. 

“But you gain the same benefits as a resident would, so you’re better able to compete and really present yourself as if you’re a Canadian based company and get the same benefits as a resident,” he said. “Really the end goal is to make yourself more attractive to do business with, and make it easier for your customers to buy from you.” 

Mark Rhoda-Reis, director of DATCP’s International Agribusiness Center, noted Canada is Wisconsin’s top trading partner. He said the state exported about $7.54 billion in goods to Canada last year, marking a 21 percent increase from the previous year.

Borecky added the Canadian markets are particularly attractive due to most of the country’s population living within 100 miles of the U.S. border, along with strong demographic similarities with the United States. But he highlighted some of the challenges with doing business in Canada as an exporter, such as high shipping costs, border fees and exchange rate changes. 

He said taking part in the non-resident importer program helps U.S. businesses surmount some of these obstacles and reduce overall costs associated with exporting. 

“By making yourselves more attractive to do business with, that’s the easy thing, but you gain a competitive advantage for the short and long term,” Borecky said. 

John Quirke, vice president of trade consulting for Frontier Supply Chain Solutions, noted most non-resident importers don’t have to worry about payroll in Canada. 

“That’s part of the benefit,” he said. “You don’t have to fill out income tax and pay tax and all that kind of stuff to the Canada revenue agency, you just [deal] specifically with the Canada Border Services Agency — customs, if you will.” 

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–By Alex Moe

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