Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, November 03, 2006

O, Canada!

I ship internationally. Not because I'm a cosmopolitan globalist, but because it gives me a competitive edge. International shipping is complicated, time-consuming, expensive, and a little bit risky, so few retailers offer it. Being still hungry for every sale I can get, I welcome overseas orders.

I’ve sent packages to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain, Brazil, and (most frequently) to Canada. Of those destinations, Canada is the worst. I think the North American Free Trade Agreement is the reason.

NAFTA requires an extra customs form that declares the product’s country of origin – which is almost invariably China, of course. However, listing any origin other than the US subjects the parcel to additional scrutiny. One customer complained that he had to pay an import duty that was almost equal to the value of the product. The guy who runs my local UPS store said that because it’s just a formality, he never, ever, lists any country other than the USA. Being honest on the NAFTA form is just asking for trouble.

I thought that NAFTA was supposed to simplify and streamline North American commerce. Instead it creates an additional form. I cringe every time I take a Canadian order.

You’d think it was a foreign country or something.

Other Forthcoming Topics:

  • Happy Birthday to Me (Part 2)
  • What Does Success Look Like?
  • Credit Card processing fees
  • Possible Futures
  • Planned features

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