Canadian retailers are increasingly looking to grow their online sales to Europe. Sellers Canada can benefit by understanding B2C e-commerce rules to the EU.


What the cheapest way to send packages to Europe?

The cost of shipping to Europe depends on a variety of factors beyond the weight and dimension of the shipment. The cheapest way for low volume shippers sending small parcels is usually Canada Post.

FedEx and UPS offer discount programs but -even with a more than 60% discount, the unit costs can be too high.


Is there a cheaper option than Canada Post to Europe?

The cheapest shipping option to Europe is to send direct. But this option requires minimum volumes in order get the lowest unit cost. However, building a direct shipping solution requires little CAPEX. Shipping direct allows sellers to leverage their fulfillment capabilities in Canada.

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Can e-commerce orders from Canada be imported to Europe duty-free?

Just being shipped from Canada does not automatically grant duty-free import. Goods from Canada can benefit from the duty-free low value threshold of EUR 150. Canadian origin goods under the Canadian European Free Trade Agreement (CETA) can be imported duty free. Canadian origin goods under CETA can benefit from duty-free import regardless of value.


How can I guarantee my European customers will not be charged import fees.

It is important to know the import fees in advance. The best practice is capture import fees at time of sale. Using specialized import processes, the import fees can be prepaid by the sellers.

If not possible to prepay if, for example you are shipping via Canada Post, it is critical to communicate the potential charges at checkout.


Customs duties to the EU

Customs duties are levied on goods imported to the EU from Canada into the EU. When importing goods with a value of less than EUR 150, the applicable import VAT is levied on the total purchase price.

Read more about methods of valuation.

The total shipping price includes the cost of the goods, insurance and shipping fees. The most common basis for calculating the import duties is the so-called transaction price of the goods. 

The rate of duty is determined by the customs tariff or HS number. Read more about HS Codes.

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Include VAT

Value added tax or VAT will apply as well. The subject of VAT is covered by the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). Sellers in Canada can register for IOSS which eliminates the need for having to work with tax authorities in each country. The IOSS is specifically designed for cross border e-commerce clearance.

Ship E-commerce Orders Direct to Europe


Other import fees besides duty and VAT to Europe

If your item is shipped via Canada Post or a common carrier, it will likely also be subject to an additional fee prior to delivery. Carriers charge a fee for having to prepay import fees on behalf of the importer. The rates vary by carrier, but the cost is process is similar.

What if I am selling to a business in Europe?

When you sell to a business in Europe, they are most often able to claim back VAT. If the item being imported is not to an individual consumer, the process can be a bit different. Best to check with the buyer prior to shipping.

Can I ship via DPD Europe from Canada?

Yes, Jet Worldwide offers direct access to DPD in Europe and UK. DPD is a market leader in Europe. Buyers get more assurances knowing their order will be delivered by a local European carrier. Contact our team for details.

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Written by Timothy Byrnes