Importing Cheese Into Canada — It’s Not That Simple

Dairy Products: CheeseJust because you can buy it, does not mean you can import it. Many Canadians like to take advantage of the low-cost dairy products available in the United States, whether that be for personal or commercial use.  But did you know that dairy products such as cheese are a regulated commodity? While yes, you may import into Canada, it comes with restrictions.

Personal import limits on dairy products:

For personal use the limits on dairy products e.g. cheese, milk, yogurt and butter are as follows:

  • Up to 20 kilograms per person with a maximum value of CAD$20

Note: Cheese packed in whey must meet further requirements before importation.


Requirements for importing cheese into Canada for commercial use:

If you are planning on driving south of the border to pick up cheese for your business, stop! There are certain requirements that must be met in order to be able to import cheese for commercial use.

1.  CFIA Cheese Import Licence

To start, a commercial importer must hold a valid CFIA cheese import licence issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  Here is an application form that must be completed » Application for a Cheese Import Licence (CFIA/ACIA 5562)

For more info regarding applying for a cheese import license, contact the CFIA’s Centre of Administration.

2. General Import Permit

Cheese is on the import control list and the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) . The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development requires an import permit for all types of cheese imports including fresh, grated, powdered and processed. This is in addition to obtaining a cheese import license.

Failure to obtain a General Import Permit:

If a General Import Permit is not obtained, cheese may still be imported by obtaining a Single Import Permit, but your imports would be subject to a tariff rate of over 200%.

Further information on permits prior to importing can be reviewed at the link below:

Additional Requirements:

  1. Cheese products can only be accepted if they are produced in a country that does not pose animal health concerns to Canada.
  2. Minimum grade or standard
  3. Correct labelling – Consumer-sized products (pre-packaged) must be labelled with the information required to be shown under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations and Dairy Products Regulations.
  4. An Import Declaration form in duplicate, is completed by the importer or his representative, must accompany the load. This form must contain the following information: name of the exporter; name of the consignee; in the case of cheese, the importer’s cheese import licence number, a description of the dairy product and any identification marks; the number, kind, and net weight of containers; and a statement that the dairy product was manufactured from sound raw materials, was prepared under sanitary conditions, and was, at the time of shipment, sound and fit for human consumption. The statement must also accurately identify the manufacturer or authorized agent.
  5. Health and safety requirements prescribed in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Dairy Products Regulations.


Consequences for not meeting import requirements:

Arriving at the destined port of crossing and failing to meet the above requirements, may result in the seizure, or destruction of the goods, or CBSA may order the goods back to the United States until the proper requirements have been met.

Additionally, at any time, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may randomly inspect any food product to ensure that minimum requirements (composition, labelling, standard containers and health standards) are met. Non-compliant product will be detained until it meets regulatory requirements, or, if imported, it may be ordered out of the country or destroyed.  Failure to declare restricted items such as cheese may result in penalties, permanent seizure of goods and in some case criminal prosecution.


How Pacific Customs Brokers can help?

Pacific Customs Brokers’ over 50 years of experience with dairy imports coupled with our 24/7 customs brokerage service at all commercial ports of entry will serve your company well when importing dairy items. We can not only assist in the release your shipment but also help you determine the duty rates and import permit requirements as well as apply for the required permits, should you need one. For more information on how we can help you commercially import dairy products into Canada, please contact us.

What has been your experience at the border with cross-border shopping? Have questions about importing cheese into Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.



CBSA Releases July 2014 Trade Compliance Verification Priorities

Trade Compliance The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) publicly releases a semi-annual list of all of its active compliance verification priorities, in the interest of transparency and the promotion of self-compliance. It recently published its trade verification targets for the second half of 2014. While new targets have been added, many continue from the past. The 11 new items on the list range from batteries to certain machinery.


Types of post-release verification processes:

The CBSA manages compliance with the Tariff Classification, Tariff Treatment, Valuation, and Origin programs using the following two post-release verification processes:

  1. Random Verifications
  2. Targeted Priorities

1. Random Verifications

Random verifications are designed to measure compliance rates and revenue loss and the results may be used for many purposes, including:

  • Risk assessment;
  • Establishing client service activities;
  • Revenue assessment; and
  • Promoting voluntary compliance.


2. Targeted Priorities

Targeted priorities are determined through a risk-based, evergreen process, meaning that new targets are added throughout the fiscal year. Targeted priorities may also be carried over from previous years.


Trade Compliance Verifications – July 2014

A summary of the current targeted priorities can be found below:

Tariff Classification (TC): HS Number(s)
Fresh Cut Flowers 0603.19.00
Pickled Vegetables 2001.90.90.91
Curling Irons (Round 2) 8516.32.10
Spectacle Lenses 9001.40.10 and 9001.50.10
Furniture for Non-Domestic Purposes Various goods of Heading 94.01 and 94.03
Palm Oil 1511.90.10 and 1511.90.20
Chemicals product Various goods of Heading 38.08
Safety Headgear (Round 2) 6506.10.10.90
Seaweed (Round 2) 1212.21.00 and 1212.29.00
Dextrins and Other Modified Starches (Round 2) 3505.10.90
Disposable and Protective Gloves (Round 2) 3926.20.10 and 4015.19.10
Wheel Rims and Spokes (Round 2) 8714.92.00
Coconut Milk from Asian Countries (Round 2) 1106.30.00, 2008.19.90 and 2106.90.10.90
Batteries (new) 8506.10.10 and 8506.50.10
Gazebos (new) 9406.00.90.20
Apparel Samples (new) 9936.00.00
Bags of Polymers of Ethylene (new) 3923.21.90
Footwear Valued at $30 or More per Pair (new) 6403.59.20 and 6403.99.30
Hair Extensions (new) 6703.00.00
Machinery for Public Works (new) 8479.10.00
Sacks and Bags under Tariff Item 9903.00.00 (new) 3923.21.90, 6305.32.00 and 6305.33.00
Special Purpose Motor Vehicles (new) 8705.90.90.90
Polyurethanes in Primary Forms (new) 3909.50.00
Valuation HS Number(s)
Fresh Cut Flowers 0603.19.00
Apparel Various goods of Chapters 61 and 62
Footwear Various goods of Chapter 64
Yachts for Pleasure or Sport Various goods of Heading 89.03
Preparations and Pastrycooks’ Products Various goods of Chapter 19
Origin HS Number(s)
Bedding and Drapery Various goods of Heading 63.01, 63.02 and 63.03
Mattress Upholstery Various goods of Chapters 54,55 and 60
Cotton Pants 6203.42
T-Shirts Heading 61.09
Jewelry (new) 7113.11.90, 7113.19.90 and 7113.20.90


As your customs broker, we make every effort to provide you with the right tools and information to ensure that your company is as proactive as possible with the CBSA. In this way, we hope to help lessen your exposure to any penalties or fines. As part of our ongoing efforts, we offer a number of  Trade Compliance Seminars and Webinars throughout the year on trade compliance and customs audit among other subjects.


Trade Compliance Audit Assistance:

Should your company get selected for a Customs audit, Pacific Customs Brokers can help. Our Trade Compliance Specialists will work with you to guide your business through the audit process and avoid incurring further penalties.


Our trade compliance consulting services include but are not limited to:

  • Thorough HS database review with ongoing updates
  • Current industry training and education to review transactions completed by customs brokers thereby minimizing errors
  • Experienced counsel on valuation and origins
  • Strategic advice on withstanding a Customs audit
  • Firm support through the challenges of the audit process

For more information about our trade compliance audit services, contact us today or learn more at Canada Customs Trade Compliance.

Do you have questions about CBSA’s  trade compliance verification priorities? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker .


Additional Reading:


Happy 60th Birthday to Us! – Pacific Customs Brokers

The Pacific Group of Companies is celebrating a significant milestone this year – 60 successful years in business.

With the roots of our company planted in 1954, the Pacific Group of Companies was founded by John Cyril (Jack) Todd. Jack started the company with his wife Eileen at the Pacific Highway port of entry in Surrey, British Columbia. John Glendon (Glen) Todd, Jack’s son, now leads the group of companies as the Chief Executive Officer.

During the past six decades, our Company has seen many ups and downs in the international trade landscape but has emerged successfully and experienced considerable growth and development. Built through hard work and service, the Company has filled a critical void in the international trade community. Today, we employ over 275 people with expertise in customs brokerage, trade compliance, freight management as well as cross-border and international trade.

In recognition of this diamond jubilee, the Pacific Group of Companies celebrated the occasion with present and retired employees, accompanied by their immediate families and grandchildren. The Company went back in time and hosted a Surf City Beach Party on Monday, June 30, 2014. The evening was filled with beach themed activities, music and food. The highlights of the event included a BBQ Beach Dinner, opening acts by the Holidays and Dr. Strangelove, plenty of games, contests, and prizes. The main draw of the evening was a performance by former Beach Boys and Dean Torrance of Jan and Dean in the Surf City Allstars band.

Over the years, we have had some outstanding people work for us. We wish to express our sincere appreciation to our current and past employees for their hard work and dedication which have been an important factor to our success.

We would also like to thank our many loyal clients and valued partners who have supported us through the years. We appreciate the opportunity to have done business with you. Though we grow large, we continue to strive to maintain a one-on-one relationship with you.

As we honor the past 60 years, we look to the future and expect the coming years to be ones of renewed vision, goals and accomplishments. Thank you for being a part of our journey!


Do you have memories of working with us that you’d like to share? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.


U.S. West Coast Port Strike: Mitigate Supply Chain Disruptions With a Contingency Plan

US West Coast Port StrikeThe International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association have been in negotiations since May 12, 2014 over a new West Coast longshore labor contract. The current six year labor contract is slated to expire at midnight on June 30, 2014 so the ILWA and PMA are working actively to renew labor contracts by reaching an agreement on a new contract.


Potential impact on trade

A strike or other labor disruption would have a significant impact on the North American economy and global trade. The Global Port Tracker Report  by the National Retail Federation states that the major ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma along the U.S. West Coast handled 11.2 million cargo containers in 2013, or 69 percent of the total at U.S. retail container ports.

In the event of a strike or lockout, all ports on the U.S. West Coast will be shut down and all vessels will be denied access to those U.S ports. This will result in vessels diverting to the East Coast, Mexican and Canadian ports causing large-scale congestion. Truck traffic along the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican border is also expected to increase resulting in congestion and delays.

The expansion of the Panama Canal has given U.S.-bound shipments new arrival options causing West Coast ports to fight for market share in the Asia-Pacific sector. Shipments to the U.S. East Coast via the Suez Canal are also increasing.

Learn how Pacific Customs Brokers can help »

Impact on exports from and imports to the U.S.

More than two-thirds of U.S. retail container cargo flows through the West Coast ports. This includes goods imported from Asia, with total volumes of around 20 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year. As retailers approach the peak period for importing merchandise for the back-to-school or holiday seasons, activity is expected to be strong this summer.

  1. A strike this summer may result in more containers bypassing the West Coast altogether.
  2. If a new contract or contract extension is not in place one week prior to the current contract expiration, it is possible that the railroads will issue an embargo to/from the West Coast ports to control the flow of rail cars and avoid a backlog. Vancouver does not fall under the ILWU  (they are part of the BCMEA ). Intermodal cargo that moves via the United States West Coast cannot be routed over Vancouver.
  3. The East Coast and Gulf systems cannot accommodate the volume for the West Coast. Importers considering East Coast/Gulf routing are advised to plan ahead and secure additional inventory in advance.
  4. Bracing for labor unrest or potential work stoppages at U.S. West Coast ports, some ocean carriers are announcing a precautionary Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS). The amounts of the surcharge are applicable to both dry and reefer shipments  – $800 per-20 foot container (TEU) and $1,000 per-40 foot container (FEU). This surcharge will be applied to all shipments destined for or originating in the United States, including shipments to/from Canada and Mexico.

What you can do to safeguard your imports and exports

As a majority of imported retail goods are shipped through West Coast terminals and gates, a successful contract negotiation is of critical interest to all in the supply chain. While all parties are optimistic that a new agreement will be reached with little disruption, having a contingency plan in place in case of a strike or lockout will help your business mitigate any supply chain disruptions. Below are some proactive steps you could take to safeguard your shipments.

  1. Scope your alternatives – Develop a backup plan with an experienced logistics provider to ensure the proper flow of merchandise.
  2. Ship highly predictable merchandise early – This will enable your product to arrive at destinations in a timely manner before the contract expiration is reached (June 30). Coordinate with the destination distribution centers and warehouses to ensure they have the ability to plan and receive the additional inventory.
  3. Choose alternate port routings – Look at routing shipments to Canadian and East Coast ports not affected by these activities.
  4. Consider moving products via sea-ground options and/or air freight to minimize the impact of increased costs. Air might be a good choice for critical time-sensitive products.
  5. Transload, truck, and intermodal - Be prepared to consider multiple means of transportation, utilizing truck and intermodal as needed to keep products moving.
  6. Prepare for likely delays and stoppages at the ports around contract signing time.
  7. Stay updated on the status of the negotiations – Pacific Customs Brokers is monitoring the situation and will continue to post updates to the Trade News section of our website as they become available.

How Pacific Customs Brokers can help

Additionally, our affiliated companies Pacific Overseas Forwarding and PCB Sufferance Warehouse can help you devise a customized backup plan. We offer solutions from cross docking and clearing your goods to transporting them down to your North American destination. U.S. exporters might look to use our bonded warehouse as a destination to ship overseas bound cargo for container loading. Contact us to learn how one of our logistics specialists can help you prepare your contingency plan.


Have questions or concerns about the potential U.S. West Coast port strike? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.



ACI eManifest: 4 Problematic Situations and How to Handle Them


Highway carriers can encounter many different issues when crossing the border. With the advent of the ACI eManifest program, some of these issues need to be dealt with differently than they have been in the past.

In a recent webinar, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) addressed a few of the more common problems and how to deal with them in this presentation. The four situations discussed were as follows:

  1. How to present ACI after driver returned to U.S.
  2. How to present ACI for goods found astray
  3. How to present ACI for unreported goods
  4. How to present ACI when cargo linked to wrong CRN


1. How to present ACI after driver returned to U.S.

Scenario #1:

  • If the driver returns to the U.S. and leaves the tractor and trailer, the lead sheet would stay with the conveyance and no further action is required by the carrier.

Scenario #2:

  • If the driver returns to the U.S. with the tractor or tractor/trailer, the CRN will be rejected back to the carrier and the carrier will submit a change for the new version of the CRN, revising information as required. The new driver will then present the lead sheet with the same CRN.

NOTE: Any cargos reported on first CRN will remain in reported status if cargos are not returning to Canada within 40 days they will need to be cancelled using BSF673.


2. How to present ACI for goods found astray

Scenario #1:

  • If U.S. cargo is found astray in Canada, the carrier needs to submit a new cargo report for the goods with “port of report” as port of discovery, and “port of destination” as port of exit. If the conveyance is known, the carrier needs to amend the list of cargos to include the new cargo. The carrier will then stop at the port of export and provide any additional information the BSO may request.
  • The BSO will then acquit the cargo.

NOTE: If the conveyance is NOT known, the process is the same other than the cargo will NOT be attached to a conveyance.

Scenario #2:

  • If Canadian cargo is found astray in the US, the carrier will need to submit a cargo for the goods and attach it to the conveyance that will bring the goods back to Canada.
  • On arrival (either frontier or inland), the carrier will provide any additional information the BSO may request.
  • The BSO will then acquit the cargo.


3. How to present ACI for un-reported cargo

Scenario #1:

  • If unreported cargo is found in Canada the carrier needs to submit a new cargo report for the goods with “port of report” as port of discovery and “port of destination” as port of final destination. If the conveyance is known, the carrier needs to amend the list of cargos to include the cargo. A release request with the same destination will acquit this cargo.

NOTE: If the conveyance is NOT known, the process is the same other than the cargo will NOT be attached to a conveyance and therefore the carrier will need to contact the CBSA to have the cargo arrived in order to the release the cargo.


4. How to present ACI when cargo linked to wrong CRN                       

If a carrier realizes, once in Canada, that there is a cargo attached to the conveyance and the goods are not on the conveyance that has arrived, there are 3 possible scenarios:

Scenario #1 – CRN and cargo – NO release

  • Carrier will de-link cargo and submit BSF673 to cancel original cargo
  • Once cargo is cancelled, the carrier re-submits a new version of the same CCN
  • Carrier submits a new CRN, quoting the original CCN
  • Carrier then can attach (link) the new version of the cargo to the new CRN

Scenario #2 – CRN, cargo and release (on file / not released)   

  • Carrier will de-link cargo from the CRN and submit BSF673 to cancel original cargo
  • Importer must present A48- RMD corrector to cancel release request
  • Once the cargo is cancelled, the carrier re-submits a new version of the same CCN
  • Carrier submits a new CRN, quoting the original CCN
  • Carrier then can attach (link) the new version of the cargo to the new CRN
  • Release request can now be presented with the right information by the importer/broker

Scenario #3 – CRN, cargo and release (released)

  • Importer is required to present a B2 Canada Customs – Adjustment Request
  • The carrier is required to submit new cargo and conveyance data within ACI time frames when the goods will be entering Canada

NOTE: The CCN is unusable (the original cargo would be left in acquitted status and the original conveyance in the Auth to Move status)

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

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