Business with Belgium, April 29, 2016

Christian Frayssignes, Vice-President, Belgian Canadian Business Chamber set the overall tone for the Business with Belgium seminar by reminding attendees that as a small, stable and geographically strategic marketplace, Belgium is an ideal entry point for Canadian exporters to expand into the European Union.

In her brief comments on how the EU functions, Nadiya Nychay, Partner, Dentons Europe LLP, explained that the European Union consists of 28 member countries, 19 of which share a common currency, the Euro and is home to 500 million consumers. Unlike NAFTA, the EU is a customs union with an integrated system of trade and business regulations. However, individual member states still have their own legislation regarding areas over which they hold domestic competency.

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Regarding the topic of choosing a strategy for expanding into Europe, Xavier Van Overmeire, Regional Head of the International Trade Group, Dentons Canada LLP suggested three basic approaches  — direct representation through distributors or agents, licensing technology or formal partnerships. Each brings with it various legal challenges, which can be further complicated by the European civil law regime, similar to the one used in Quebec. It is different from the English common-law tradition found in the rest of Canada. Continue reading

Canada’s March 2016 international trade, with focus on Belgium

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $312 million in January and went down to $147 million in February, were down again in March to $124 million. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, amounting to $145 million in January and to $164 million in February, went up to $237 million in March. As we can see, our bilateral trade has its ups and downs and it will be interesting to follow its evolution in the coming months.

Overall Canadian exports fell 4.8% to $41 billion in March while imports declined 2.4% to $44.4 billion, widening Canada’s trade deficit with the world from $2.5 billion in February to a record $3.4 billion in March. Canadian exports decreased in 10 of 11 sections, with motor vehicles and parts (-6%), consumer goods (-4.6%) and metal and non-metallic mineral products (-5.4%) decreasing the most.

Canadian imports declined in 8 of 11 sections, the decreases led by consumer goods (-4.6%) and aircraft and other transportation equipment (-20.4%) but these were partially offset by higher imports of energy products (+13.5%).

Geographically, Canada’s exports to the United States fell 6.3% while imports were down 4.8%, narrowing the trade surplus with the U.S. from $2.1 billion in February to $1.5 billion in March, the lowest surplus since December 1993. Exports to other countries were down 0.2% while imports increased 2.2% and as a result, the Canadian trade deficit with countries other than the U.S. widened from $4.6 billion in February to $4.9 billion in March.

Detailed data on products/countries is available from Solimpex upon request.

© May 2016 All Rights Reserved by Christian Sivière, Solimpex Montréal  Christian.siviere@videotron.ca

Source: Statistics Canada

Canada’s international trade, with focus on Belgium: the February 2015 statistics

Statistics Canada’s latest data shows that Canadian exports to Belgium, which amounted to $198 million in December and went down to $163 million in January, were down again to $96 million in February. Canadian imports from Belgium on the other hand, which came to $114 million in December and were down slightly in January to $110  million, went back up to $133 million in February. So as we can see from these figures, our bilateral trade fluctuates and it will be interesting to see how it will evolve in the coming months.

Overall, Canada’s imports declined 0.7% in February while exports were up 0.4%, compared to January, reducing the Canadian merchandise trade deficit with the world from $1.5 billion in January to $984 million in February. Continue reading