Duty Rates Increase for Imports from Several GPT Countries January 1

General Preferential Tariff Effective January 1, 2015, the Canadian Government intends to withdraw eligibility to the General Preferential Tariff (GPT) from 72 higher-income and trade competitive countries (out of current 175 beneficiaries), including China, South Korea, India and Brazil.  Of the 72 countries affected by this change 20 have preferential tariff with Canada though other trade agreements.

Entitlement to the benefit of the General Preferential Tariff is withdrawn in respect of all goods that originate in the following countries, effective January 1, 2015.

List of Countries Affected:

“Algeria”, “American Samoa”, “Antigua and Barbuda”, “Antilles, Netherlands”, “Argentina”, “Azerbaijan”, “Bahamas”, “Bahrain”, “Barbados”, “Bermuda”, “Bosnia and Herzegovina”, “Botswana”, “Brazil”, “Brunei”, “Cayman Islands”, “Chile”, “China”, “Colombia”, “Costa Rica”, “Croatia”, “Cuba”, “Dominica”, “Dominican Republic”, “Ecuador”, “Equatorial Guinea”, “French Polynesia”, “Gabon”, “Gibraltar”, “Grenada”, “Guam”, “Hong Kong”, “India”, “Indonesia”, “Iran”, “Israel”, “Jamaica”, “Jordan”, “Kazakhstan”, “Kuwait”, “Lebanon”, “Macao”, “Macedonia”, “Malaysia”, “Maldives”, “Mariana Islands”, “Mauritius”, “Mexico”, “Namibia”, “New Caledonia and Dependencies”, “Oman”, “Palau”, “Panama”, “Peru”, “Qatar”, “Russia”, “Saint Kitts and Nevis”, “Saint Lucia”, “Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”, “Seychelles”, “Singapore”, “South Africa”, “South Korea”, “Suriname”, “Thailand”, “Trinidad and Tobago”, “Tunisia”, “Turkey”, “Turks and Caicos Islands”, “United Arab Emirates”, “Uruguay”, “Venezuela” and “Virgin Islands, U.S.A.”


Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT):  

Entitlement to the benefit of the Least Developed Country Tariff is withdrawn effective January 1, 2015 in respect of all goods that originate in Equatorial Guinea and Maldives.


Impact on Importers:

If you import goods from any of the countries listed above, the withdrawal of eligibility could increase the amount of duties payable upon import into Canada. Goods that are in transit to Canada prior to January 1, 2015 are exempt from the withdrawal order.


Advice for Importers:

Importers will want to use the coming months before this regulation is in effect to their advantage by preparing themselves and leveraging any duty savings that may still be available. It is highly recommended that you consult with your customs broker before placing orders, to understand how duties are impacted by this regulation change in 2015.


Need More Information?

If have questions about the GPT or LDCT  tariff treatment and need more information,  Pacific Customs Brokers offers trade compliance consulting. Our Trade Compliance Specialists will work with you to assess how these changes may affect your imports.

If you are a current client and are unsure of how these regulation updates affect your business, please contact us and we’d be happy to discuss this with you.



In the early 1970s, the United Nations recommended that developed countries grant non-reciprocal tariff preferences to imports from developing countries under a Generalized System of Preferences in an effort to promote the industrialization of developing countries.  Most major developed countries offer such regimes.  Canada’s regime, the General Preferential Tariff (GPT), was established in 1974 and offers tariff rates that are lower than Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) tariff rates for imports from developing countries, with the aim of promoting economic growth and export diversification in developing countries.

Canada’s  Economic Action Plan 2013 announced that the Government would modernize Canada’s GPT regime by removing benefits from 72 higher-income and trade-competitive countries, effective January 1, 2015.


Additional Reading:


Have questions about GPT or LDCT  tariff treatment? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.


5 Keys to Import Successfully into the USA

Importing into the USAIf you are new to importing goods into the United States there are many requirements, restrictions, and regulations involved. From quota restrictions, other government agency permits or inspections to customs forms. Some information, such as an item being eligible for reduced rates of duty or eligible for one of the many Free Trade Agreements, or products that are not permitted to enter the commerce of the United States because they are manufactured from a facility located in an embargoed country, can only be determined if you know the products Harmonized Tariff Schedule Classification. Determining your product’s tariff number can be extremely complex. Starting out with a good understanding of customs regulations and requirements are key to importing success. Below is a brief overview of what is required when shipping goods into the United States.

Requirements for importing into the United States:

1. Determine the use of a customs broker.

Customs clearance also commonly referred to as customs release is probably the first thing to consider.  Depending on the value of your shipment you need to determine if a customs broker is required.

For shipments valued under $2500.00, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will typically allow the goods to enter into the U.S. under an informal entry.  However, in cases where the goods are regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or if the goods fall under Anti Dumping Duty/ Countervailing Duties, quota, or other restricted goods, these goods require a formal entry and do not qualify for this exemption.

If a formal entry is required you need to have an account set up with a customs broker and documentation prepared prior to shipping. Documentation is usually completed by the exporter or supplier prior to the goods being delivered to the carrier.  The importer of record is ultimately responsible to ensure that the documentation provided is accurate and complete.  It is critical that you have all the proper documentation and information. Once paperwork is submitted to your customs broker, they will review the information for accuracy prior to the information being submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

2. Prepare import documents prior to shipping.

Documents that are typically required with each shipment are listed below:

  • Customs or Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of lading
  • Other government agency documents
  • Commodity specific requirements or documents

3. Meet commodity specific and Other Government Agency (OGA) requirements.

Commodity specific and other government agency (OGA) requirements depend on other government agencies’ safety, energy efficiency, health, standards, etc.  Many of the items cannot be imported without a permit, license or additional documentation to satisfy the agency’s requirements.

Everything imported into the U.S. must be properly marked with the country of origin. There are some exceptions to the marking requirements which are listed in the federal code of regulations 19CFR134.33 the J List exceptions. Some products are very hard, or impossible, to mark such as:

  • bolts
  • nuts
  • washers
  • cut flowers
  • firewood

If imported in a container and the container reaches the ultimate purchaser,  then it is required to be marked with the country of origin.

4. Pay import duty fees and taxes.

Duty rates are fees that are paid to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Duty rates are based on the classification of the products that are entering the USA.  The Importer of Record is responsible for paying these fees.  Your customs broker has the authority to pay the duty fees on your behalf and invoice you for them or set up an automated clearing house account for you to pay the duty directly to U.S. Customs.


5. Determine correct harmonized tariff schedule.

Products that enter the U.S. are classified according to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.  Goods are placed in a product category called classification, the number used to classify the product is more commonly referred to as a Harmonized Tariff Schedule or HTS number. The classification number is 10 digits and that number determines the rate of duty that will be applied to your product.  U.S. Customs has an online version of the most current HTS codes available.

Classification can be a very difficult process that generally requires a lot of research and product information.  As the Importer of Record (IOR), you are ultimately responsible for providing the correct product classification to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Entering goods into the United States with an incorrect classification or duty rate could result in penalties or increased duty bills. Many importers choose to hire a customs broker to assist them with the classification of their goods. Do not be surprised if your customs broker asks for ingredient lists or written literature on your product when assisting you with your product classification.

In conclusion, it is the Importer of Record’s responsibility to make sure that their goods meet all the requirements for entry into the United States.  A customs broker is there to lend a hand and assist you with the various requirements and regulations.  Always plan ahead and be sure to know before you go to ensure a hassle free importation into the U.S.


If you are importing or exporting goods into the USA, Pacific Customs Brokers can help. We work with all types of importers from a broad range of industries offering U.S. and Canadian customs brokerage, trade compliance consulting, freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution services.


Learn more about importing into the USA:

Get a comprehensive understanding of the process involved when importing into the USA at our upcoming webinar Basics of Importing into the USA. Take your learning a step further by attending the Part II. Importing into the USA webinar and delve into the details previously touched upon in part one of the series.

Our in-house seminar on U.S. Customs Compliance is another great way to understand the movement, compliance and regulations around goods imported into the USA.


Have questions or comments regarding importing to the USA? Leave them in our comments section below or email  Ask Your Broker.


Additional Reading:


Upcoming Event: ‘Interesting Cocktails’ in September with Louise Yako

Canada-US flagsJoin AmCham Canada – Pacific Chapter for their upcoming event with an inspiring guest speaker, and a chance to network with like-minded business professionals.

Event: Interesting Cocktails

Admission: No registration fee

Date: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Place: Pan Pacific Hotel – Pacific Room 1
999 Canada Place

Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

RSVP: amchamvancouver@gmail.com

Guest Speaker: Louise Yako, President and CEO, BC Trucking Association (BCTA)

About Louise Yako:

As President and CEO of a province-wide, non- partisan industry trade association Louise is responsible for the overall management and direction of BCTA. In more than 16 years with BCTA, Louise has played an increasingly significant role in growing its public profile and influence, promoting both its members and the industry to governments at all levels.

Louise is a Regional Vice President of the industry’s national association, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, and Treasurer of the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council. She serves on a number of industry-related boards and committees including the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table, the Lower Mainland Container Forum the Container Drayage Leadership Team, the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage, and the federal Labour Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace and Labour Affairs.

Who should attend:

Business owners, CEOs, senior executives, decision makers, entrepreneurs and business professionals in the import/export arena will find this of particular interest. This event is open to all Canadian and U.S. businesses, large and small with a vested interest in cross-border trade and forming new business relationships.

Please share this with colleagues who might be interested.

For more information, visit  www.AmChamCanada.ca.

What is ‘Interesting Cocktails’?

Interesting Cocktails’ is AmCham Canada – Pacific Chapter’s monthly networking event, featuring a guest speaker with expertise in foreign exchange. Speakers bring insightful presentations on various business topics and current business challenges.  It is a casual evening and a great opportunity to network and ask questions of industry professionals.


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Video: How Other Government Departments Affect Imports

In addition to Canada Border Services Agency, there are over 10 other government departments (OGDs) that are involved in the importation, in-transit movement and exportation of various commodities in and out of Canada. Watch this video to learn how other government departments facilitate the flow of your imported goods.

Many importers find it challenging to identify products subject to OGD requirements and access easily understandable information about those requirements. Should this sound familiar, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Import Specialists who are experienced in handling the import and export of commodities subject to OGD requirements. They can also offer consultation prior to import or export to determine whether your goods will require additional documentation or if specific considerations may be involved when clearing your goods at the border.

Pacific Customs Brokers regularly offers a range of seminars and webinars, to assist importers in becoming aware of their requirements when importing OGD regulated goods. Visit the Trade Compliance Education section of our website to see a current list of seminars and webinars being offered.


Do you have questions or a comment about OGD requirements? Share them in our comments section below or email  Ask Your Broker.


Video: U.S. FDA Requirements for Regulated Goods

A short video explaining the commodities regulated by the U.S. FDA, requirements to clear FDA regulated goods across the border and the types of FDA reviews.



To assist importers in becoming aware of their requirements and implications of regulations involved with importing FDA regulated goods into the USA, Pacific Customs Brokers regularly hosts FDA related seminars and webinars. Visit the Trade Compliance Education section of our website to see a list of seminars and webinars currently being offered. For more information on how Pacific Customs Brokers can help you commercially import food products into the USA, please contact us.


Do you have questions regarding FDA regulated products? Leave them in our comments section below or email  Ask Your Broker.


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