4 Trade Incentives That May Delight Your Finance Team

Incentive-Money-600Trade agreements save companies money, but what about the other programs that can reduce importing and carrying costs for importers and manufacturers?

The Government of Canada recognizes the need for Canadian companies to be competitive in the global market. Special circumstances apply to some and every importer has a unique profile based on their business model. Various companies participate in manufacturing activities, while others provide goods for sale in Canada and internationally.

Administration costs and the rapid growth of small businesses can sometimes cause business owners to overlook opportunities for cost savings available through government programs for minimizing duty and tax liability. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offer several of these programs. They are not suited for every business and certain conditions apply. Depending on the nature of your business, you may find benefit to exploring your options and taking advantage of the tax and duty relief plans offered.


Four trade incentive programs that could provide relief from duties:

1. The GST Direct Program

The GST direct program offers GST Registrants the option of paying their Goods and Services Tax (GST) directly to the Receiver General of Canada. A statement called a K84 Monthly Statement is generated on the 25th day of each month. It provides a breakdown summary of the GST owed for any importing activity within the previous month. Shipments imported after the 21st of the month, will appear on the following month’s K84.

Low value shipments valued under $2,499.99 get longer grace time before payment of the GST is required. Low value shipments must be accounted for by hard copy or electronic transmission by the 24th day of the month following the month the goods were release.

The GST direct program allows importers to claim the GST input tax credit on the previous month, while allowing for almost a full extra month to remit the GST payment for shipments released after the 21st of the previous month. For example, a high value shipment released October 21 would not require the GST to be paid until the last business day of the month in November. There is currently no online option for payment when it comes to GST Direct. The GST must be received by way of a cheque to Receiver General no later than 4:30 pm local time on the last business day of the month. Your customs broker can deliver the cheque on your behalf to CBSA, some lead time will be required to ensure it is delivered on time. Late payment of the GST to the Receiver General can result in a penalty from CBSA.

This program requires a small adjustment to your business’s accounting cycle. The benefit of this program for your company is improved cash flow and a reduction in your customs broker’s liability on their customs broker bond. Depending on your import activity and entry complexity, this program can sometimes translate into an opportunity for a discount on your entry fees by reducing the financial exposure your customs broker takes on when clearing your freight. Your customs broker must post security with CBSA through and independent surety company. There is a cost associated with the customs brokers bond, so the higher your company’s disbursements in duty and GST, the higher the cost to maintain a customs brokers bond to service your account.

To sign up for the GST direct program, a letter must be completed on your company letterhead. Your customs broker will need a copy to update your importer profile and activate GST direct on your import account.


2. Exporter of Processing Services Program (EOPS)

This program allows companies who further manufacture goods for export, to import goods without payment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the time of import.

To qualify, participants in this program:

  • Must be a GST or HST Registrant
  • Must have no ownership interests in either the imported goods that are coming into Canada for further manufacturing or the processed goods after production
  • Must not be closely related to the supplier outside of Canada for whom you are processing the goods

To get approved for this program, a consultation with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is required. Participants must keep detailed records for goods imported under this program as well as proof of export for the processed goods post manufacture. Goods imported under the EOPS program must be exported within four years from the date of accounting. Once approved for this program, Canada Customs assigns an Order in Council (OIC) number that must be shown on your import entries to allow for the GST exemption on imports entering Canada under this program. Pacific Customs Brokers can assist with the program application.

For more information on the EOPS program, please visit  the Exporters of Processing Services Program section of CBSA’s website.


3. Duties Relief Program

This program allows importers to bring in goods duty free if they will eventually be exported. The goods must be exported in the same condition or after using or consuming them in the manufacturing process. This program is best suited to companies who import goods attached to tariffs with high rates of duty. It is a proactive approach because it allows for duty relief at the time of accounting; prior to payment of the customs duties on import. The prescribed timeline for export is a maximum of four years. This program requires detailed record keeping to ensure compliance in case of a customs audit. Your customs broker can assist with the application.

For more information on the Duties Relief Program, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency’s D Memorandum D7-4-1: Duties Relief Program.


4. Duty Drawback Program

This program is similar to the Duty Relief Program but pertains to companies who have already paid customs duties on imported goods.  Detailed records are required for compliance purposes, but this program allows for duty recovery for importers, producers, and manufacturers. Goods that have not been further advanced in condition are eligible for duty drawback. For goods being exported to a NAFTA country that have been further processed, additional conditions apply.

For more information on the Duty Drawback Program, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency’s D Memorandum D7-4-2.


Good advice can save you money. When it comes to customs compliance, Pacific Customs Brokers’ Trade Advisory Services can assist in identifying your exposure to risk in your supply chain and help navigate the most complex trade issues. This often translates into a competitive advantage in the marketplace and a positive relationship with customs. Our Trade Advisors can help explore the strategies that fit your organization.

Want to know more about our Trade Advisory services and how they can benefit your organization?  Contact our Trade Advisory team at consulting@pcb.ca or visit the Trade Advisory Services section of our website.


Has your business benefited from trade incentives?

Do you have questions about these trade incentive programs? We welcome your comments below or email Ask Your Broker.



The Danger in Altering Phytosanitary Certificates

Phytosanitary CertificateIt has come to the attention of the customs brokerage community that there has been an increased occurrence of alterations being made to Phytosanitary Certificates by persons unknown. Specifically, these alterations are in the form of invalid “Shipper’s Original” stamps being affixed to the certificates. As outlined below, modifying documents in this manner is a very serious offense with staggering repercussions.

What is a Phytosanitary Certificate?

A Phytosanitary Certificate is a legal document issued by the National Plant Protection Organization of the exporting country. It certifies that the indicated commodity is free of pests and meets the regulations of the importing country. The Phytosanitary Certificates that are currently being altered are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for product entering Canada.

What does ‘Shipper’s Original’ mean?

This is a statement that appears on the bottom of the Phytosanitary Certificate in the form of a pre-printed stamp. There are several variations of the certificate depending on whether it has been pre-printed and filled out by hand or computer generated. Regardless, the words “Shipper’s Original” will appear in either red or black ink on the bottom right-hand corner and may show “Part 1 – Shipper’s Original” versus simply stating “Shipper’s Original”.

Acts that Constitute Alterations

Altering a document includes, but is not limited to:

  • Changing information on the document
  • Attaching a PARS sticker to the document
  • Writing over top of the printing to clarify quantities or other information
  • Cutting out portions of one Phytosanitary and attaching them to another

Suspected Cause for Modified Documents

Due to the unfortunate placement of the “Shipper’s Original” statement, it is relatively easy for the stamp to get cut off on a scan or a fax. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will reject the certificate if the “Shipper’s Original” is not visible on the documentation that they receive by fax. We believe that this has led to the unauthorized cutting and pasting of this statement from one Phytosanitary Certificate to another.

While it may be viewed as a way to expedite the import process, intentionally modifying a Phytosanitary Certificate in any way is forgery of a legal document. Original copies of each Phytosanitary Certificate are forwarded to the regional CFIA office by which the goods were released. CFIA and USDA can, and do, conduct internal and external audits of the Phytosanitary process and match original copies to the copies faxed to CFIA at the time of importation. In instances where forgery has been discovered, harsh penalties will be assessed against importers, exporters and/or carriers, depending on who is conducting the investigation.

Repercussions for Modifying Phytosanitary Certificates

It cannot be stressed enough that alterations of any kind to legal documents are forbidden and the repercussions for committing these forgeries are severe. The fine print on the Phytosanitary certificate issues the following warning:

Warning: Any alteration, forgery, or unauthorized use of this phytosanitary certificate is subject to civil penalties of up to $250,000 (7 U.S.C. Section 7734(b)) or punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both (18 U.S.C Section 1001).

These penalties will be assessed in addition to Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties issued by Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In summary, Phytosanitary Certificates are legal documents that are issued by government agencies and it is a criminal offense punishable by law to alter these documents in any way.

For more information on export certification please visit CFIA’s website: Phytosanitary Certificates


Have questions about Phytosanitary Certificates? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.


Automated Export System Filing — Get Your Vehicle Across the U.S. Border

AES Filing - Vehicle Export from USANew export reporting requirements from the U.S.

Effective October 2, 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau (Census) Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) mandated the filing of electronic export information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) or AESDirect for all used self-propelled vehicles, regardless of value or country of destination. Importers and exporters of used self-propelled vehicles need to keep in mind that this new condition is in addition to the current 72-hour notice requirements.

What is considered a used self-propelled vehicle?

Any self-propelled vehicle that has been purchased and then re-sold (even if the vehicle is only days old) is considered a used vehicle; and includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motorcycle, motor home, and any other self-propelled machinery or equipment. However, the requirement to file AES does not apply to dealer-to-dealer transactions when the equipment is brand new .

Impact on U.S. exporters?

Automated Export System filing is now mandatory. These regulations apply to all exports of any used-self-propelled vehicle from the U.S. For example, if you are planning to buy a vehicle in the USA and import it to Canada or another country, the new regulation in effect will make the export process a little more complicated. The U.S. exporter or appointed agent is now required to file electronic export information and report to the U.S. Census  through AES to provide vehicle, shipper, and consignee information.


Who can file through the Automated Export System?

Automated Export System (AES) filings must be handled by a U.S. domiciled company. A customs broker, freight forwarder or United States Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) can file the AES declaration. In other words, the AES filing for an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) can only be done by a resident of the United States. (i.e. the seller or an appointed agent )


How the Automated Export System works?

AES was created as a channel through which required export shipment information reaches the appropriate agency involved in monitoring and validating U.S. exports. Once the AES filing has been completed, an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) will be assigned. The customs broker or importer provides the ITN on the Vehicle Export Cover Sheet to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to file 72 hour notice and bring the vehicle across the U.S. border.


Penalties for non-compliance

It is important to understand these requirements to avoid costly penalties. The CBP will begin to issue penalties on behalf of Census in amounts up to  US $10,000 for non-compliance per violation. These penalties may be imposed for failure to file export information in AES, delayed filing, filing of false or misleading information, and any other violations of Foreign Trade Regulations. Canadian buyers of vehicles from the U.S. should start complying right now or risk having the vehicle held up at the border.

How can Pacific Customs Brokers help?

Pacific Customs Brokers can handle these filings on your behalf and offers full and partial Automated Export System (AES) filing services for commercial and individual importers. Contact us to learn how we will help you meet your AES obligations.


Do you have questions on exporting a vehicle from the USA? Leave them for us in the comments section below.


Additional Resources


eManifest Deployment Schedule Established

ScheduleRecently, there was a meeting of the Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) Commercial Projects Sub-committee. At that time, CBSA notified the trade community that a new deployment schedule for future eManifest functionalities has been established.

Following is a notice from the Canada Border Services Agency’s Director General of Information, Science and Technology outlining the details of this deployment. Stakeholders will notice that there has been no date announced for mandatory compliance.  Pacific Customs Brokers will continue to provide details regarding this program as they become available.

 “The latest schedule which will deliver new eManifest features and systems to external clients is as follows:

  • the initial implementation of new and enhanced notices which will improve communication between trade chain partners and with the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2015, and
  • electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) to the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2016.”

Canada Border Services Agency Notice:

I am writing to you today to provide an update on the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) progress in the implementation of the eManifest Project.

Over the past few months, the CBSA conducted a comprehensive review of the development, testing and production timelines associated with the delivery of the remaining project components.

I am pleased to advise that this review has resulted in a new deployment schedule for future eManifest functionalities that takes into consideration clients’ requests for time to make changes to their internal business processes and systems, and for the education of CBSA officers.  In addition, since the new deployment schedule introduces functionality incrementally, it enables new systems to run in parallel with existing production systems allowing for early detection and resolution of issues.

The first deployments are foundational in nature and will provide the background and internal system support for the functionality that will ultimately be delivered to the trade community.  One of these deployments was released earlier this summer and additional deployments are planned to be released over the next several months.

Today, I would like to inform you that the schedule for subsequent deployments which will deliver new eManifest features and systems to our external clients is planned as follows:

  • the initial implementation of new and enhanced notices which will improve communication between trade chain partners and with the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2015, and
  • electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) to the CBSA are expected to be available in Fall 2016.


As system development continues to move forward, the CBSA will be communicating further details about the eManifest deployment schedule, and how it impacts each stakeholder group, through various channels such as Web site content, Webinar presentations and client mail-outs.

Thank you for your continuing support and valuable input to the eManifest Project.

Bruna Rados
Director General
Information, Science and Technology Branch
Canada Border Services Agency


If you have any questions about ACI eManifest, or any other cross-border transportation matters, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644  or via email at carrierhelpdesk@pcb.ca.

For the latest updates on eManifest visit the Carrier News section of our website regularly or  sign up for our weekly Border Pro newsletter. Additionally, you’ll find the Your Broker Knows YouTube channel to be an excellent resource.


Additional Resources:

  1. ACI eManifest: 4 Problematic Situations and How to Handle Them
  2. Regulatory Update: eManifest Amendment Process Outlined



Biennial FDA Food Facility Re-registration Now Open

FoodAbout the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) program:

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) improves the registration process by ensuring, among other things, that the FDA has accurate contact information for each facility. The new registration form also includes new categories of foods. These new categories will help FDA rapidly communicate with the right facilities in the event of an emergency.

Food producers and manufacturers have long been required to register with the Food and Drug Administration. Facilities can register online, via mail or fax. If your company is not domestic (not located within the U.S.) you will be required to assign a U.S. agent in your registration. See below for more information on assigning a U.S. agent.

Read more in our blog: Food Modernization Safety Act – Re-Registering your Facility with the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued further information and guidance regarding registration requirements for domestic and foreign manufacturers, processors, packers or holders of food for human or animal consumption based on changes made by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

Biennial registration renewal for food facilities began at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2014. The updated food facility registration system is accepting food facility registration renewals.

Who must register?

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA), all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements are required to renew their registration with the FDA before the end of 2014 and to re-register every two years thereafter. This represents a change from the previous registration requirement for food facilities. The re-registration form contains new food categories, and requires more detailed and updated contact information.

 Read more in our blog: U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act – Does It Affect Me?

How to re-register a domestic company?

To submit a registration renewal to FDA, a food facility is required to submit required registration information to FDA, including the additional registration information.

If you are affected by the new regulations, you may re-register your food facility online.

How to re-register if not a domestic company?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers the following services:

  • Act as your U.S. Agent
  • Assist with FSMA re-registration
  • Answer your queries regarding FDA requirements

Note: Pacific Customs Brokers does not have to be your U.S. customs broker in order to assist your company with FSMA re-registration.


Contact Pacific Customs Brokers for assistance with food facility registrations or the FSMA. To stay current on this topic, you may also want to subscribe to Pacific Customs Brokers weekly trade newsletter.


Do you have questions on the FDA food facility re-registration? Share them in our comments section below.