The holiday shopping season is fast approaching

Are you ready for the 2017 peak holiday selling season?

The bad news is that it has already started. The good news is that it now lasts until February. Whether you are selling direct to consumers, or supplying retailers or wholesalers, your plans should really be already in place.

The U.S. and Canadian economies are strengthening and consumer confidence is high. The loonie is still relatively weak against the U.S. dollar, so the USA should probably be a primary target. However, it’s not all gravy – competition will be more fierce than ever, and shipping costs may be higher, especially since UPS has recently announced “surge pricing”, or what it calls a “peak shipping charge”. This will affect package shipping charges for the peak periods November 19th to December 2nd and December 17th to December 23rd. The per-parcel surcharge in 2017 will be nominal while they assess the results.

There has never been a better or more exciting time to broaden your market to take advantage of the newest trends in marketing and logistics.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Peace Arch Monument

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who lives and/or works as we do, in Ferndale just south of Blaine, WA and/or (South) Surrey, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver, B.C.), who does not know where and what IS the Peace Arch Monument.

While many know and recognize the Peace Arch as a prominent, brilliant white archway that sits in the middle of a shared cross-border park and marks the international border crossing between the United States and Canada, few know its rich and relevant history.

Dedicated on September 6th, 1921 (… the same date the Mayflower left England in 1620), the Peace Arch ‘commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814′, ending the war of 1812 between Great Britain (Canada is a commonwealth nation, formally the Great Britain Commonwealth) and the United States. It continues today to be a symbol of peace all along the pacific corridor.

Fun Fact: A piece of wood from the Mayflower was placed inside the Peace Arch during its construction. It’s situated behind the corresponding bronze plaque displayed on the outside of the arch.

Watch this excerpt  – or better yet, the whole documentary(!) produced by the International Peace Arch Association’s* called, “The Peace Arch Rises” and learn more about “Cascadia’s” iconic landmark of unity.

(Excerpt starts at 2:06; Dedication at 8:24; Full Documentary – 22:58)

*Formerly known as the United States Canada Peace Arch Association (USCPAA)  Copyright 1996-2016.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

 

The Loonie – A Hindrance or An Opportunity?

Whether it was to catch a cheaper flight from Bellingham to Las Vegas or to shop at an I-5 outlet mall, since 2013 many British Columbians were flocking to the nearest lower-mainland border crossing and travelling to the states in search of a good deal.

Canadian dollar the loonieHowever, a weakened Loonie curbed many Canadian shoppers who’d been making the trip south of the border to stay home. Indeed throughout Washington State’s Whatcom County, retailers in border towns like Sumas, Blaine, Lynden and further south to Ferndale and Bellingham have seen dramatic drops in Canadian shoppers since 2013 (BPRI Winter 2017 Brief: Changes in Canadian Shopping Visits in Northwest Washington, 2013 to 2016).

Interestingly though the loonie has rallied in value to a little over 80 cents to the American dollar. Will we see a surge in cross-border activity again here in Whatcom County? We hope so! However, even in light of recent news, there’s more to the ‘cross-border currency’ story than shopping. Like SELLING! CADUSD20yrs

Historically the USD has dominated over the Loonie as reflected in this 20 year chart. (Source)

A paradigm shift. Can Canadians consider the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar (CAD) – USA Dollar (USD) not as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity? They should! Here’s why.

Assuming all the proverbial ducks are in a row, ‘I’s dotted and ‘T’s crossed, the savvy B.C. business owner and entrepreneur stands to earn at least 20% more on their U.S. sales in part due to the favorable exchange rate.

“Here are the simple facts” says UCanTrade, Inc. president and dual citizen, Jim Pettinger: “(1) most U.S. land border crossings have been upgraded and are fully open for Canadian goods and people, (2) each sale you make for US$100 nets you C$120 or more, (3) your business presence in the U.S. can lead to a green card and dual-citizen status if you wish , and (4) American buyers (a) love Canadian goods, (b) have double the available money of their Canadian counterparts and (c) make their buying decisions at least  three times as fast.”

If history is an indicator then a long-term outlook is for a weak Loonie. Canadian companies need to immediately seize the opportunity to stake a position in the lucrative U.S. market. With careful planning, the initial cost can be minimal, but the payoff could be enormous.

Interested in learning more about doing business in the USA? Attend our next DBUSA Seminar &/or download this whitepaper “Ten Tips for Better Border Business”.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news, and/or call us at (360) 380-6900.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

A simple, inexpensive proposal to reduce border wait times.

By: Jim Pettinger, President and CEO at UCanTrade, Inc.

David Davidson, retiring interim director of Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute (BPRI), is leaving us with a challenge to implement a relatively simple plan to issue RFID-enabled cards to about 75,000 “high-frequency” border-crossing Canadian passport holders. He estimates this cost would be about 20% of the cost of adding staffed booths to achieve the same reduction of average wait times. The proposal would not replace NEXUS, which provides the fastest crossing, but would be simpler and faster to implement in the short term because it requires no additional data from the passport holder.

Details of Davidson’s proposal, “A Business Case for Increasing RFID at the Canada – U.S. Land Border”, can be found at the BPRI website, www.wwu.edu/bpri. We encourage all frequent border crossers to support the significant work being done by BPRI by subscribing to its e-mail distribution list.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

Online US Sales Help Canadian Retailers Cope with Low Loonie

This Global BC News Report (Video 2:08 min) shines a spotlight on one Vancouver, BC retailer (Moojoes) who, in the face of rising costs related to a falling Canadian Dollar, shifted their focus to selling online where “American buyers are more than happy to snap up a quality made product for a lot less…”

It’s not a big surprise that the strengthening USA economy is benefiting BC industries like manufacturing, mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism but BC small businesses and retailers can export to the USA and benefit from the ‘Low Loonie’ too. (Related Article: BC Export Opportunities to the US Abound)

Learn more about doing business in the USA at UCanTrade’s Resources & Helpful Articles pages.

Subscribe to our TradeTips Newsletter for the latest import/export events and trade news and/or follow us on Twitter @UCanTrade.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.

UCanTrade
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

2015 British Columbia Holidays

By: UCanTrade Staff

Northwest Washington businesses can expect greater numbers of Canadian customers to visit on British Columbia holiday weekends.
Cross-Border

Cross-border travelers increase along the Pacific Corridor during holiday weekends.

2015 BC Statutory Holidays (PDF)
January 01, Thursday  – New Year’s Day
February 09, Monday – Family Day
April 03, Friday – Good Friday
April 06, Monday – Easter Monday*
May 18, Monday – Victoria Day
July 01, Wednesday – Canada Day
August 03, Monday – British Columbia Day (Civic Holiday)
September 07, Monday – Labour Day
October 12, Monday – Thanksgiving Day
November 11, Wednesday – Remembrance Day
December 25, Friday – Christmas Day
December 26, Saturday – Boxing Day*
*These are not statutory holidays in BC, but many BC businesses are closed.

Trade Tips Blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc.

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Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: info@UCanTrade.com
Twitter: @UCanTrade

US Carriers Shipping On ‘Black Friday’

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.UCanTrade.com.  And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, November 27th with limited hours on Friday.  Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped early this week.Thanksgiving, US Holiday, Cross-Border

NEW this year, all U.S. carriers are offering full services for all shipments on ‘Black’ Friday, November 28th!  This comes in response to a significant increase in e-commerce orders which resulted in some late Christmas deliveries last year.

The good news is that, like last year, American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website: www.UCanTrade.com
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: ima@UCanTrade.com

UPS Prepares for Record High Holiday Demand

By: IMA Staff

“UPS expects six days during the [upcoming holiday] season, to surpass its single-busiest shipping day last year,” reports Michael Sasso in his October 29, 2014 Bloomberg post.

Spending $175 million on their “peak-season preparedness plan”, UPS plans to hire as many as 95,000 temporary workers and assemble up to 15 “mobile delivery stations” (similar to school portables) over this holiday season. The plan was initiated immediately following last year’s holiday season when, due to bad weather, UPS failed to deliver some of its Christmas deliveries, reported Sasso.

UPS’ Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn reportedly said in a statement, “The holiday season is a major retail sales opportunity for our customers. Our objective is to ensure that all of our year-round business and retail shippers can take maximum advantage of expanded UPS capacity during this important period.”

As online orders increase, “the world’s largest package delivery company” forecast an 11% increase in the number of packages it will be delivering this holiday season over last year.

Anticipating increased orders due to holiday demand? Doing business in the USA? International Market Access, Inc. is a reliable partner. From the seaport of your choice to your customer’s doorstep, we manage container receiving, warehousing, and pick & pack shipping. Please give us a call at 1-360-380-6900 or visit our website at www.UCanTrade.com.

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
“USA Business Services for Canadian Importers/Exporters”
(Freight Management, Warehousing, Fulfillment, Returns/Repairs)
Website:
www.UCanTrade.com
Phone:
360-380-6900
Email:
ima@UCanTrade.com


Comment: U.S. Thanksgiving weekend is a big deal

By: Jim Pettinger

Americans are known worldwide as hard workers who take little time off for holidays and vacations compared to others. However, Thanksgiving is a major exception. The holiday itself is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, but the preceding week and following weekend are probably more festive and family-oriented for Americans than is Christmas week in other countries. In addition, the growing traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” only increase the frenzy around the holiday.

Canadian shoppers and businesses that export should take note: First, border lineups will be longer than any other time of year; check wait times before you go at the link on our website at www.ucantrade.com. And second, most non-retail businesses are closed on Thursday, and many provide limited services on Friday. For example, UPS offers no pickups at all on Thursday, and only air shipments by appointment on Friday. Consequently, make sure all your U.S. orders are filled and shipped earlier in the week.

The good news is that American internet shoppers will be on their computers for many more hours than usual. In fact, many internet retailers now recognize “Cyber Monday” as a great day to hold major discount sales similar to what their brick and mortar counterparts offer on “Black Friday”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com

More BC Shoppers Visiting Whatcom County

By: IMA staff

More Canadians are shopping in WhatcomCounty. Bargains at new stores like Winco, and existing favorites including Fred Meyer, Trader Joe’s and Costco continue to draw shoppers south of the border. Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher reports that Canadians’ shopping trips to WhatcomCounty have quadrupled since 2007.

According to Gallagher

The Whatcom Council of Governments released the results of an interim survey taken this summer of travelers going south through the region’s five border crossings. The survey estimates 310,000 vehicles crossed the border into Whatcom County with shopping the travelers’ primary purpose in July; that’s more than quadruple the number of vehicles during the same period in 2007.

The percentage of those interviewed that listed shopping as the primary reason for crossing the border was 45 percent, up from 19 percent in 2007.

The July survey was done by Western Washington University’s Border Policy Research Institute, which employed Western students or graduates to do the study. The second wave of surveys will be done in February 2014.

Read Bellingham Herald Business Editor Dave Gallagher’s full report here.

 

Trade Tips Blog is published by International Market Access, Inc.

International Market Access, Inc.
USA Business Identity, Warehousing and Fulfillment Services
Phone: 360-380-6900
Email: tradetips@ucantrade.com