U.S. Made Goods Returned – Not Always Duty Free

Stamp: Made in USA
Goods manufactured in the United States that have been previously exported and are now returning require a formal declaration called American Goods Returned (AGR) also referred to as U.S. made Goods Returned (USGR).

Common mistake made by importers

Do not assume that the return of goods to the United States will be without some difficulty. A common mistake that importers make when declaring U.S. goods is that they do not know where the products were manufactured. Just because the product was purchased in the United States it doesn’t necessarily mean it was manufactured in the United States.

U.S. Goods Returning are usually eligible for duty-free status

All goods are subject to duty every time they enter the U.S. unless they are specifically identified as duty exempt. Did you know U.S. goods returning to the United States are usually eligible for duty-free treatment? The provision 9801.00.10 in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule allows U.S. made products to return to the U.S. without being subject to duty and the Merchandise Processing Fee. However, the provision stipulates the goods cannot be advanced in value or the condition of the goods improved while abroad.

Example 1: U.S. Manufactured Helicopter Sent to Canada for Repairs

For example, say you are the owner of a helicopter manufactured in the USA. The helicopter has electrical problems and you send it to a repair shop in Canada. When the helicopter returns the value of the repairs may be subject to duty.

American Goods Returned - Example 1


Example 2: Canadian Company Purchases Goods from the U.S.

American Goods Returned - Example 2

Another example would be goods purchased from the U.S. by a Canadian company. They received their shipment and the goods were refused by the buyer because they did not meet their product specifications. The goods can be returned to the U.S. duty free if the proper documentation can be supplied to U.S. customs.


Documentation required for U.S. Goods Returning duty free:

The most common proof is a Manufacturer’s Affidavit. Like the name implies, this form is completed by the actual manufacturer of the goods. U.S. customs requires this for any shipments that are valued over $2500 and if the articles are not clearly marked with the name and address of the manufacturer.

The affidavit must:

  • State that the goods are a product of the USA
  • Be on the U.S. manufacturer’s letterhead and
  • Signed by an employee from the U.S. manufacturers facility that has the authority to sign on behalf of the company.

As supporting proof of U.S. Goods returning, U.S. Customs also requires:

  • Foreign Shipper’s Declaration and
  • Declaration by Owner, Consignee or Agent

At some U.S. ports of entry, Customs will accept a NAFTA Certificate that is completed by the manufacturer.

Next time you get ready to ship U.S. goods remember it is not always as easy as it seems. Be sure to supply the proper paperwork to support your duty free return!


Do you have questions about U.S. Goods Returning? Drop us a comment or question below or email us at Ask Your Broker.


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T is for Trade Compliance Education – Fall Season Begins Sep 17



Going back to school is not just for kids anymore. This fall we want to challenge you to sharpen your trade, customs and logistics skills by going back to school with us. Our fall trade compliance education program is chock-full of webinars, seminars, workshops and industry events that will address common areas of non-compliance and errors in importing practices and documentation.


What can you expect at Trade Compliance School this year?


S – Skill testing exercises

Our courses will be sprinkled with interactivity, workshop elements and pop quizzes throughout the day to keep you engaged, all while testing your skills. With the goal of reinforcing the topics covered, you will leave with the information you came seeking.


C – Complimentary webinars in September

If you have never tried one of our sessions before, you won’t want to miss our complimentary webinars on September 30, 2015. These webinars on the fundamentals of importing into Canada and the USA will lay the right foundation for your import processes. Explore the true value trade compliance education can bring to your business.

Reserve your spot today! »


H – Higher professional development points awarded

Our sessions are recognized by the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB), the NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI), the Law Society of British Columbia and professional accounting associations. Many of our sessions have been re-evaluated for points and now you can earn you more points than before.


O – OGD and FTA webinars introduced

We went back to the drawing board and redesigned our FDA, CFIA and NAFTA webinars. Here’s what the new sessions have to offer:

  • CFIA and FDA Regulated Goods Webinars – These 75-minute online sessions can be attended individually or as a bundle. You will learn about the additional requirements and checkpoints that importations of regulated goods undergo. Throughout each webinar you will gain a better understanding of the interaction between CBP and FDA for commercial goods destined to the U.S. and CBSA’s interaction with CFIA for goods to Canada.

Register now »

  • NAFTA Webinar Series – This two-part webinar series provides a basic overview on the rules of origin under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Each part in the series is 75-minutes in length and will clarify a common assumption that all products manufactured in Canada, the United States or Mexico are eligible for duty free status.

Register now »


O – Offsite seminars are back

Having delivered successful seminars in downtown Vancouver last spring, we’ve planned to take our sessions to other cities this fall. Look out for two full-day seminars in Burnaby, British Columbia at the Executive Suites Hotel and Conference Centre. In September, join us at the Canadian Customs Compliance and Audit Seminar to learn about the regulations governing the movement of commercial goods into Canada. If you are importing goods into the USA, consider its American counterpart the U.S. Customs Compliance and Audit Seminar in October.


L – Learn how to determine the customs value of goods

We know all too well that the regulations that determine transaction value are a convoluted maze. Our brand new Customs Valuation Seminar is the newest addition to our program and one in which you’ll explore areas of compliance concern.

Learn more »


What our past students have had to say

  • “Increased my awareness of what is required.” – L. White, President, ACS Composite Systems Inc.
  • “Learned a lot and took time to answer questions. Very helpful.”B. Gillan, Logistics Coordinator, Hillsound Equipment Inc.
  • “I understand what questions to ask my broker and what exactly their role is.” D. Warkentin, Warehouse Inventory Coordinator, JD Sweid Foods


Whether your staff or you need to brush up on your customs knowledge or enhance your professional development we hope you’ll join us in going back to school this fall. Mark your calendars for our upcoming season. Download your copy of the 2015 Fall Trade Compliance Schedule or register for a session today!


Forward this to a friend »

Why not share this with a colleague or friend and take a session together?


Will you be going back to school this fall? Which of our many sessions are you looking to take? Leave us your thoughts in our comments section below or email us.


5 Frequently Asked Questions About ACI eManifest

FAQ about eManifest

As highway carriers struggle with the challenges presented to their business by ACI emanifest regulations and strive to get compliant, we frequently receive enquiries that need clarification. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature five frequently asked questions about ACI eManifest. Jan Brock, recently retired Chief of Commercial Operations with Canada Border Services Agency for the Pacific Highway and Abbotsford Huntingdon districts and now a Senior Trade Advisor with Pacific Customs Brokers (Canada) will answer your questions about ACI emanifests and compliance.

So what are highway carriers’ biggest questions?

1. How will the ACI eManifest program work?

Carriers are now required to electronically transmit cargo and conveyance data to CBSA for all shipments entering Canada. Submissions must be received and validated by the CBSA as early as 30 days in advance but  no later than one hour before arrival at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA). All mandatory data elements and conditional elements where applicable must be included in submissions.  (See Chapter 4: Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document ECCRD). A machine-readable barcode must be presented  to the Border Services Officer (BSO) at the FPOA. The barcode must either be the Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) or Cargo Control Number (CCN) associated to the trip. If the CCN is provided, the CRN must be hand-written on a document and provided to the BSO.

Carriers have a variety of submission options including utilizing a third-party service provider such as Border Pro for Carriers for eManifest filing services, or CBSA’s ACI eManifest portal.


2. Who has to provide an eManifest?

With some exceptions, carriers for hire who are transporting commercial goods into Canada, or returning to Canada empty are required to file ACI eManifest.


3. What is a Conveyance Reference Number?

The first four digits of the Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) must be the carrier code representing the carrier that is physically transporting the goods to Canada and reporting the goods at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA). This statutory obligation cannot be shifted from one carrier to another. The carrier code of the carrier transporting the goods must always be represented in the CRN, regardless of which party transmitted the related cargo data.


4. What commodities are exempt from eManifest requirements?

At this point, no specific products have been exempted from eManifest requirements. The ACI/eManifest Highway Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document  does provide info on exceptions and exemptions to eManifest filing requirements.

For a list of exceptions and exemptions from the eManifest program, consult the CBSA Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document – Chapter 4: Advance Commercial Information or D Memorandum D12-3-1.


5. Do we have to set up a new eManifest for every customs broker?

No, the ACI eManifest program is not customs broker specific. You are required to transmit advance cargo and conveyance information for each shipment transported into Canada by truck or rail car. These shipments could all be offered for release to CBSA by the same customs broker or by a combination of customs brokers.


Get expert answers to your ACI eManifest questions

We hope this post helps answer some of your questions. If you have other questions about ACI eManifest, we invite you to leave them in our comments section below or email us at askyourbroker@pcb.ca.


Learn more about ACI eManifest

Attend one of our upcoming 90-minute sessions (seminar or webinar) and learn more about ACI eManifest. We will answer your eManifest related questions, offer practical solutions and help you comply with this regulation that is now in effect.

For details and to register »

For regular updates on this topic consider following Pacific Customs Brokers @askborderpro.


Non-Resident Importing — Discover Your Unfair Advantage

seesaw-600With an improving U.S. economy and a comparable low Canadian loonie, U.S. companies continue to find different ways to cut costs while still looking to grow their sales and revenues. Creating or growing an export initiative to Canada right now can be one of the easiest ways to achieve great results. A stronger U.S. dollar and lower Canadian loonie, has encouraged Canadians to continue in online and cross-border shopping.

How can U.S. companies tap into the Canadian market?

As a U.S. business, that is currently not in Canada, you could look into expanding your market by exporting to Canada or, better yet, finding out how to do it better than your competition. Business Executive, John Rollwagen says, “the secret of business, especially these days, is to focus relentlessly on your unfair advantage — the thing you do that others don’t.”

What will give you an “unfair advantage” over other competitors?

Simply put, unfair advantage is just another term for competitive advantage. One suggestion is to look at the Non-Resident Importer program for U.S. exporters to Canada and how it may benefit your export growth strategy.

Who is a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)?

A Non-Resident Importer (NRI) is simply a company that is considered the Importer of Record for shipments going into Canada, even though the company does not have a physical presence in Canada. A Non-Resident Importer controls the customs release process and the costs associated with getting their products into Canada in a timely and cost-effective manner. Products are sold with an all-inclusive delivered price. The customer orders and pays for the product and waits for it to be delivered. No border hassles, no waiting for the courier company to arrive and collect extra charges. Ordered, paid and delivered. That’s it!

What are the benefits of being a Non-Resident Importer?

By becoming a Non-Resident Importer and acting as the Importer of Record, as a U.S. exporter you can:

  • Remove border hassles and unexpected fees for your Canadian customers
  • Provide price guarantee to leverage more sales
  • Capitalize on NAFTA  for your ‘Made in USA’ products
  • Simplify customs documents and reduce customs brokerage fees
  • Open doors to large retailers who will not agree to be the Importer of Record
  • Create a potential advantage over U.S. competitors without impacting profits
  • Position yourself on an even playing field with Canadian firms without the additional expense of a Canadian office, warehouse or distribution point
  • Leverage Canada’s trade agreements by shipping directly from participating foreign countries into Canada. There’s no need to land your goods in the U.S. first.

The Non-Resident Importer option can provide your company with that “unfair advantage” over other competitors who just export their products and never think about what happens when the goods cross the border and a delivery attempt is made. Think of how your customer service team could actually get a “thank you” and a compliment instead of complaints about unexpected duties, taxes or other related customs release fees. There are more opportunities and benefits that can be realized by becoming a Non Resident Importer, many specific to what you are currently doing or want to do in the future. In coming weeks, we will continue to explore this exciting option of your sales to Canada and all the considerations you should know before you begin.

Pacific Customs Brokers offers a Non-Resident Importer Program tailored to your company’s needs.We can guide you through the process and help you tap into the Canadian market. Contact us for more information and to get set up.

For those who are new to importing into Canada, our webinars on Importing for the Beginner [CA Series] will make a good start. In this two-part webinar series to get a step-by-step description of the importing process into Canada. Each part in the series is 60-minutes in length and will provide a comprehensive understanding of: the supply chain parties involved, compliance considerations, documents and forms, free trade agreements, and more.

Learn more and register »


What do you think of Non-Resident Importing as a competitive advantage? How will you use it in your business? Share your thoughts in our comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.




AMPS: The Unwanted Consequence of ACI eManifest Non-Compliance

AMPS ACI eManifest1. Zero-rated AMPS

Highway carriers travelling into Canada should be well aware of the fact that the ACI eManifest six month period for zero-rated AMPS is now in force. During this time, the Canada Border Services Agency may issue non-monetary Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties wherein no monies will be owed to the CBSA. The penalty will instead serve as a warning to carriers to correct the issue that led to the infraction and to prepare to fully comply with ACI eManifest requirements.


CBSA has also been issuing a Notice of Non-Compliance to carriers who do not comply with Advanced Commercial Information eManifest reporting requirements at the primary inspection line.


How will zero-rated AMPS be enforced?

During the zero-rated period from July 10, 2015 to January 10, 2016,  CBSA is promoting ACI eManifest compliance through monitoring and client outreach.


Word to the wise

For anyone in the business of importing or transporting goods into Canada, it is very important that you take this time to implement a compliance protocol.  Work out the bugs in filing ACI eManifest submissions, learn to identify errors, omissions, or other non-compliance and provide updated accurate information immediately. Doing so will only ensure a more efficient journey through CBSA without delays and monetary penalties.


2. Monetary AMPS

Beginning January 11, 2016, highway carriers will be expected to be in full compliance with the eManifest. Carriers who do not comply may be issued monetary Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties.


How will AMPS be enforced?

The application of monetary penalties will be centralized and issued exclusively by the ACI Policy Unit in CBSA Headquarters in Ottawa. This is intended to promote accuracy of application, fairness and client outreach. Monitoring of client compliance will be achieved by referrals from CBSA Ports, Region Operational reviews and HQ monitoring post-arrival compliance.

Monetary penalties will range from $250 to $8000 Canadian dollars per shipment. AMPS are progressive, i.e. the first, second, third, and subsequent occurrences of the same contravention by the same carrier receive progressively higher penalty amounts.


ACI AMPS may be applied for

  • Failing to send the required conveyance and cargo data at least one hour in advance of the truck’s arrival at the border
  • Providing incomplete, inaccurate or untrue information, or
  • Failing to notify CBSA that the conveyance or cargo data submitted has changed.


Carriers risk more than penalties for repeated non-compliance

Carriers who repeatedly fail to comply with the eManifest requirements or who frequently submit data amendments or delete transmissions may also risk having this information included in their overall CBSA risk score potentially resulting in an extended delay in the carrier’s shipments to pass through customs.


How to strengthen your eManifest compliance

It is important for importers, carriers and freight forwarders to implement a customs compliance program within their own businesses. This should include procedures for self-assessment of compliance in advance of January 10, 2016 when CBSA could issue a penalty for non-compliance. Now is the time for early detection of customs reporting errors, facilitating corrections and amendments and voluntary disclosures as necessary in order to mitigate the risk of penalties in 2016.


Carriers are encouraged to communicate with shippers and customers the necessity to provide information to carriers in advance and ensure descriptions and piece counts are accurate for all goods.  Cooperation amongst all parties involved in the importation of goods into Canada will be critical to ensure that the correct information gets to the correct location at the correct time. Failure to do so leads to delays at the border and potential fines for the carriers.


How to file eManifest correctly

Our ACI eManifest Seminars and Webinars are 90-minute sessions where we answer questions, offer practical solutions and help with the ACI eManifest regulations in effect. These sessions are presented by Jan Brock, recently retired Chief of Operations with Canada Border Services Agency for the Pacific Highway and Abbotsford Huntingdon Commercial Operations. Jan is now a Senior Trade Advisor with Pacific Customs Brokers (Canada).

For details and to register »

The Border Pro for Carriers eManifest filing services assists you in submitting all relevant information to Canada Customs within the required time period to ensure your trucks cross the border as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Have questions?

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

Is your business ready for the implementation of ACI eManifest? We welcome your questions and comments in our comments section below.