In the news of social media! ~ Learn more about our story and the bright future together with CETA at our seminar & farewell reception for EU Ambassador H.E. Marie-Anne Coninsx on May 29th in Toronto, click here for details.
Award presentations will take place at our 13th Annual Awards Gala being held on June 15, 2017.
Be sure to mark off your calendar and join us for an evening of thought-provoking discussion and high calibre networking as we honour our award winners.
This year’s theme is “Canada at 150: Women Beacons of Hope in Global Trade & Business”, featuring a fireside chat with a panel of dynamic and accomplished women in impressive leadership roles:
Panelists will include:
Date: June 15, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Toronto Region Board of Trade 77 Adelaide Street West, Toronto ON M5X 1C1
Tickets: Early bird – CAD$ 90 (until May 22 only)
Reserve your spot today for this inspirational evening and take advantage of our early-bird rate. The first 25 registrants will receive a Free Sterling Silver Crystal Chain, courtesy of Jewels 4Ever
What better country to visit trade fairs or participate in trade fairs than Belgium? Its strategic location in the heart of Europe makes small Belgium a great business hub. Brussels is in the top 5 of European cities that attract businesses. No wonder a small country like Belgium is host to so many interesting trade fairs! No matter what your industry is, no matter where your interests lie, Belgium will have a trade fair for you.
Belgium’s central location also means that you don’t lose much time travelling back and forth. Cities like Paris, Amsterdam and London are less than a two-hour train drive away from Brussels. Business hubs like Rome, Madrid, Stockholm, Berlin, and Athens can be reached in less than half a day. Why not combine a visit to a trade fair with another business trip? And since Belgium is a very compact country, you will always have a great choice of hotels nearby, many of which also offer meeting facilities.
A third bonus: you don’t have to worry about the language. Belgium has three official languages and a knack for languages, so people will be happy to talk to you in English, French, Dutch and sometimes even other languages such as German or Spanish!
So which trade fairs are interesting for you? The list is long! From fisheries and agriculture to engineering, from boats to chocolate, from horses to industrial maintenance, take your pick! One of my personal favourites for B2B networking is Infosecurity Belgium in March, but the process instrumentation fair M+R Belgium and Belgium’s largest Safety & Security event Secura are certainly worth a visit as well. Or how about the networking event Transport and Logistics in October? Wood construction is the topic of the Bois & Habitat fair voor B2B professionals. And don’t miss Empack, the packaging fair in November.
See you in Belgium!
It is widely known that Belgium is a great country for business: a strategic location, a great logistical infrastructure, a skilled workforce and an ideal test market for new projects and products. And while the high level of language skills will be useful for businesses that want to enter this market, the only way to attract customers is to have your materials translated into the local languages. After all 75% of potential clients want to see your products in their native language, according to a Common Sense Advisory Study. In Belgium that means Dutch (spoken by approximately 60% of the population, based in Flanders), French (approximately 40%, based in Wallonia) and German (approximately 1%, based near the German border). That’s right, Flemish is not in the list. How come?
The answer is simple: Flemish is not the official name of the language, it is a common term for Belgian Dutch. Belgian Dutch is one of the two main variants of Dutch, the other being Dutch for The Netherlands. The difference between these two is similar to the difference between American English and British English: while we easily understand each other, we can tell immediately if a text is one variant or the other. We use the same dictionaries and share the same language resources, but we have different accents and we use different styles, different terms etc. And it is not only a question of linguistic differences, but also of cultural differences. The Dutch are more direct, while in Belgium people prefer to be more reserved and polite. And that is essential for the tone of voice of your materials if you want to reach out to new clients – even a basic decision such as whether to use the formal or the informal form of the personal pronoun “you” may well differ per country.
The next question is of course: should you use Belgian Dutch to target the Flemish market? The answer is in the first paragraph of this article: “75% of potential clients want to see your products in their native language”. That means that any materials meant to attract customers or to appeal to readers should be in Belgian Dutch. Marketing materials, brochures, social media messages, TV commercials… More neutral materials such as instructions, manuals etc. are mostly translated into one and the same “Dutch” – i.e. in a neutral language in which more colloquial expressions and typical terms for either variant are avoided. Belgian Dutch translators are ideal for such translations as well, since they are more aware of the differences between both variants (but that is between us, don’t tell the Dutch I said so).
Do you want to know more? Do you need translations into Belgian Dutch or the neutral form of Dutch for your business or may you need them at a later stage? Do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website or my LinkedIn profile and connect so that you have my details at hand when you need them. (And in case you are wondering: in spite of the message I want to convey in this article I do say I am a Dutch and Flemish translator, in order to be found by people who have not read this article yet and use ‘Flemish’ as a search term.)
I look forward to helping you enter the Belgian market!
The idea of exporting can be bewildering.
For a step-by-step how-to guide, ExportWise attended Invest Ottawa’s “The Basics of the Exporting Process” delivered by Christian Sivière, a trade expert with Solimpex Montréal & Ottawa.
Here is Christian’s advice:
If you’re an entrepreneur, you likely have a GST/HST number. To start exporting, call the Canada Revenue Agency and adjust your business number for this purpose. This becomes your exporter number.
“Looking at exporting laws is a complex issue, and I’m not a lawyer, but I want to point that out that you have to investigate it,” Sivière said. “If you’re selling to Germany or Brazil or China, see which laws apply.” The Vienna Convention, ratified by 84 countries, states the obvious — the seller transfers ownership with relevant documentation; the buyer pays — but this isn’t a global solution because it doesn’t establish ownership during the transfer, leaving that to each country’s national laws. Ownership could stay with the seller, or could be transferred to the buyer as soon as the contract is formed.
“Incoterms” are rules defining the obligations for the delivery of merchandise. Short for “international commercial terms,” they outline who pays for what costs and where risks shift from buyer to seller. Incoterms are updated every 10 years; the current terms were updated in 2010. EXW, FCA, FAS and FOB are acronyms for Incoterms that state that the buyer pays the shipping costs. Under CFR, CPT, CIF and CIP Incoterms, the exporter pays for shipping costs, but if something happens during shipping, it’s the buyer’s loss. For the last three, DAT, DAP and DDP, the exporter pays to ship and bears all the risk. When you state a price, attach an Incoterm so terms for each party are clear. Sivière says many exporters aren’t well-versed in Incoterms.
A letter of credit acts as a guarantee of payment for the seller. The payment is set aside at an issuing bank and the letter of credit is sent to an advising bank in the exporter’s country. For the buyer, it’s a guarantee the seller won’t get paid until the goods have been shipped. It’s an irrevocable instrument, governed by international rules. It protects both parties for payment, but doesn’t protect either on quality of goods. Letters of credit also expire, so ship the goods before the expiration date and be sure your documents follow instructions “to the letter.”
“If you have a transaction, for example, with a country such as Venezuela, which has a shortage of hard currency, you’ll want your buyer to get a letter of credit and, for a price, you have the option to get a Canadian bank to confirm it,” Siviere said.
If your buyer refuses a letter of credit, consider credit insurance, “a great way to manage risk if your partner defaults on payment or goes bankrupt,” Sivière said. He recommended Export Development Canada (EDC), which sells account receivable insurance through an easy-to-use online portal.
Exchange rates can fluctuate during negotiations and the amount you’re promised may change due to this. Some got caught in this with the British pound’s plunge after Brexit. Sivière recommends opening a U.S. and/or euro account at your bank to minimize exchange losses.
You’ll want this if cargo is damaged in transit. Every insurance company will have different rates, but they share the same internationally established rules. The cheapest options won’t cover loss due to theft and will apply only if there is total loss (for example, if the ship sinks; if it capsizes and only half the load is lost, the insurance won’t apply.) The most expensive options will cover total and partial loss. If you don’t buy insurance, read the fine print — carriers have limits of liability. Many have contractual obligations of, say $2/lb for your goods — but that’s usually not enough. In addition, there are time limits on these claims, so note the expiration date. The Canadian International Freight Forwarders’ Association is a good reference.
The commercial invoice is a standard invoice issued by the exporter. A pro forma invoice is for customs purposes only, when items, such as product samples and goods for a trade show that will be coming back, aren’t to be sold.
Other documents are also required. If you’re exporting food or plant material, you’ll need certificates for them. On these forms, describe the product, quantity, unit price, and total price in the currency being paid. Be clear: If you’re sending a Samsung Galaxy 7, say it’s a phone; it may otherwise sound like a missile to a customs officer. Also include the Incoterms that apply and the terms of payment. Some countries will require a certificate of origin, particularly those in the Middle East and Latin America. This document is usually certified by a Chamber of Commerce.
Xavier Van Overmeire est avocat en droit des affaires et du commerce international chez Dentons, Fellow au Centre d’études et de recherches internationales de l’Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM), et directeur du Belgian Canadian Business Chamber (BCBC).
Dans cet entretien de la série “Planète Terre”, il explique les derniers développements du CETA, dont le parlement européen à pris vote dernièrement. Pour en savoir encore plus sur le CETA, consultez “Les grandes lignes de l’Accord économique et commercial global entre le Canada et l’Union européenne“
On January 25th the BCBC had its first wine tasting paired with great food and Belgian sweets! Our guests were treated with a great selection of wines from France, Italy, Spain, California, most of them not available at the LCBO (also including a “bubbly” and a great Cognac!).
This private selection has been made by our partners’ wine agents:
In a friendly environment, our guests circulated with their tasting glass from agent to agent, spoke with them and learned about the wines they offer, asked questions, and expressed their interests. Each guest had their own wine booklet which enabled them to get detailed information of each wine, pairing suggestions, and make their own notes, you can download a copy of the booklet here: Booklet BCBC Wines. Continue reading
Prime Minister Trudeau inked Canada’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA)—known as CETA—with the European Union in Brussels in October 2016
Prime Minister Trudeau inked Canada’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union in Brussels on October 30, 2016. It is often referred to as CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement).
CETA was several years in the making, as negotiations were launched in May 2009. The next steps now are approval by the European Parliament in Strasbourg, followed by ratification by the 28 national parliaments of EU member countries and some regional parliaments as well.
CETA – A Chance for SMEs?
February 7th, 2017, 08:00 to 09:45
Salon des Membres, European Parliament
Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels, Belgium Continue reading