What do you really know about your business partners?


Nov 30, 2021

By Yves Lacelle

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What do you really know about your business partners?

All our clients deal with a number of different business partners, including forwarding agents, customs brokers, distributors, transporters and producers. Each one has a role to play and is selected based on different criteria: reputation, price and ability to offer a service or product.

Many companies have a policy of meeting and/or visiting their business partners in order to get to know them and also see firsthand the manufacturing process and the product quality. However, others are content to simply negotiate prices from a distance.

Yet, it is well known that many people are still victims of forced labour and/or human trafficking – or even child labour. This happens all around the world, and global supply chains are no exception.

Child labour occurs in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, while forced labour takes place in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The majority of victims of forced labour are women. The International Labor Organization (ILO) convention defines forced labour as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.”

Were you aware that goods extracted, produced or manufactured, in whole or in part, by forced labour are prohibited in Canada? On November 15, 2021, the CBSA made its first-ever seizure of women’s and children’s clothing made in China and imported into Quebec.

The Canadian and U.S. governments issued advisories earlier this year about violations of the rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Both governments are asking you to do your due diligence. It is recommended that you analyze your supply chain and identify risks, determine criteria for selecting your business partners and establish a social responsibility code.

To learn more about the steps to take, don’t hesitate to contact a W2C agent.

About the author

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Yves Lacelle

Strategic Advisor - Business Development and Training

With over 40 years of experience in the customs field, Yves has a very thorough understanding of everything related to this environment. His meetings with companies from all over the world have allowed him to acquire an extensive knowledge of international trade. He has given several seminars and customs training courses to companies and has found solutions for clients having problems with customs authorities.

Guiding a team to provide the best customer service bears no secrets for Yves. His ability to communicate and educate his business partners makes him a golden ally for those who aspire to comply with customs regulations.