From the Globe and Mail:

Michael Moffatt, whose business, NexReg Compliance, helps companies navigate overseas regulations, still takes a certain pleasure in pointing to the European Union’s Commission Regulation 2257/94 as an example of why foreign markets can be hard to navigate.

For years, the rule set out the standards for the appropriate condition and curvature of bananas, including a minimum length of 14 centimetres and grade of 27 millimetres.

Regulation 2257/94 was not to be confused with Regulation No 1677/88 – which laid down the rules for cucumbers.

Tired of having the “bendy banana” regulation used as a cudgel against them, EU members voted in 2008 to repeal the regulation. But the mentality that led to its existence is still a powerful force on the other side of the Atlantic.

“The EU is the most heavily regulated market in the world,” says Mr. Moffatt, who founded the London, Ont.-based business, and acts as its director of communications. “You’re going to want to get some assistance with it.”

Doing business overseas is fraught with challenges, and regulatory hurdles are only one of them.

Small businesses have to confront language obstacles, cultural differences, financial barriers and logistical hurdles as they try to get their products into a foreign market. Often, the knowledge to make these leaps doesn’t reside in-house.

How can they tap outside expertise and online resources to help make the leap?

Europe makes a tempting target market these days, especially as the U.S. economy continues to languish.

The United Kingdom, with its commonalities of language and culture, is a common first entry for Canadian companies expanding beyond North America; France offers similar advantages (if perhaps to a lesser extent).

And having broached the Euro zone, businesses can move into other, more challenging European markets.

But for all the commonalities that Western markets share, Europe poses its own challenges.

The full article can be found here.

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