Canada Customs Invoice: 7 Mandatory Fields


Filling out a customs form A Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) is required for all shipments entering Canada that are valued over $2500.00 CAD. Do not take the risk of delaying your shipment at the border due to an incomplete or inaccurate Canada Customs Invoice (CCI).  Customs brokers see this happen often.

Mandatory Fields on a Canada Customs Invoice:

The following fields on a Canada Customs Invoice are mandatory for customs clearance, and must be provided at the time of release:

1. Date of Direct Shipment – This is the date the goods have left the place of direct shipment. This is used to obtain the exchange rate which will be used to convert the value for duty into Canadian dollars. Exchange rates vary day to day, which makes it very important to indicate the correct date of shipment on your invoice.

2. Country of Origin – This field must indicate the country where the products originated from or were manufactured. This will not necessarily be where the products were exported from. The country of origin will help determine if we can apply a trade agreement to lessen the duties applicable on the products being imported.

3. Currency of sale – This should indicate which funds were used to purchase the goods. This should never be left blank or assumed. Your customs broker must convert funds to Canadian dollars in order to file an entry with Canada Customs; this makes it very important to know which funds we are working with.

4. Quantity – This field should indicate the total number of pieces being shipped. If Customs examines a shipment, they will want to ensure that the number of pieces declared matches what is loaded on a truck. This makes it very important to ensure accuracy.

5. Value – This field should indicate the fair market value of the goods. This is required for all goods being imported – even if a sale has not occurred. Valuation of the items being imported should be based on one of the six valuation methods: transaction value of the goods, transaction value of identical goods, transaction value of similar goods, deductive method, computed method, or residual method.

6. Weight – This must indicate the weight of the goods. This should match up with the carrier’s bill of lading weight. This can also be used to verify accuracy in the case of a Customs examination.

7. Purchaser/Importer of Record – This field should indicate which party has purchased the goods. It will identify which party is responsible for handling the customs clearance, any duty, and accountable for any duty and taxes that are payable on the items being imported.

Snapshot - Sample Canada Customs Invoice

 

Here is an example of a properly completed Canada Customs Invoice. Click the link or the thumbnail image for a detailed view.

Sample Canada Customs Invoice Form

 

 

 

 

Interested in learning more about about documentation for importing into Canada? Pacific Customs Brokers hosts a series of Trade Compliance Seminars throughout the year. To learn more about this topic, we recommend attending an upcoming Canadian Customs Compliance Seminar.

Do you need additional assistance with your customs documentation, contact Pacific Customs Brokers.

Have questions on filling out a Canada Customs Invoice?  Ask us in our comments section below.

 
 

Wood Packaging Materials: 5 Tips to Avoid Shipment Refusal


wood-palletsWe have posted a few articles about the increase in U.S. Customs refusal of import shipments due to non-compliance with the wood packing material regulations, containing everything from perishable food products to floor tiles to machinery to textiles. This remains a topical subject, and while Customs has not officially published the exact numbers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  issued thousands of Emergency Action Notices in 2012 nationwide, with many of those being at the U.S.-Canada border. With very rare exceptions, these shipments have required immediate re-export. No recourse and no options for further mitigation or treatment are being offered at this time.

It is estimated that the U.S. spends about $138 million dollars each year fighting the effects of invasion by non-native species, which includes plants and seeds, as well as animals and insects. While CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) and the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) have been waging this battle for a number of years, there is a definite increase in the number of inspections taking place and the severity of required actions over the course of the past couple years. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) regulations regarding wood shipping material (ISPM 15) went into effect in 2005. Since then, all wood packaging material (WPM) entering the U.S. must be either heat treated or fumigated according to these regulations. We want to be clear that the recent increased levels of inspection and refusal are not due to any new requirements, but rather more focus and increased officer training regarding this important issue.

Wood packaging materials must not only be appropriately treated and have certification issued, but if an inspection is ordered and the officer finds reason to question the validity of the stampings or documentary statements, Customs has the right and the responsibility to refuse the shipment.

This is a list of a few of the scenarios that have come to our attention recently:

  1. Cargo arrives at the port of entry with a mix of marked and unmarked WPM. No assumptions will be made by Customs as to the origin or status of the packing materials and the entire shipment will be refused and ordered for immediate export.

  2. When goods are delivered from overseas to a warehouse, the packaging is certified and appears clean. By the time it is shipped to the U.S., however, an uninvited rodent set up house in the warehouse. Even if the WPM is marked & certified, it will be rejected – likely for noxious weed seed – and refused, with immediate export demanded.

  3. The WPM is all certified and marked appropriately, but the Customs officer finds evidence, or even a question of evidence – say frass, or fresh boreholes – that it may have been re-infected, or possibly the initial treatment was not effective, or the marks and certification were fraudulent. You guessed it – the shipment is refused and immediate exportation is ordered.

  4. The WPM is certified and marked, but the Customs officer finds evidence that the WPM is concealed in some fashion – hidden between plys, or possibly an unmarked piece of bracing material. Once again, the shipment is refused and immediate export is ordered.

If your cargo is carried as a less than truckload (LTL) shipment, it may be consolidated on a truck or in a container with other shipments. If one shipment in that lot is found to be non-compliant, it is very likely that everything on that truck or container will be refused and sent back to origin. Who bears the costs involved? Every carrier makes their own decision on this, so you will want to address this issue with your client.

Clearly, the costs of having a shipment refused at the border can be tremendous. Between all of the necessary documentation, inspection fees and communications, wait time, a wasted trip to the border and return, re-import process, repacking the shipment and sending it again – possibly late this time, or the risk of having an angry customer who no longer wants the product, not to mention possible penalties issued at a later date by U.S. Customs for non-compliance… no wonder you have a headache!

So, here are a few suggestions on what can you do to lessen the likelihood of being caught up in this scenario:

  1. Make sure that your warehouse personnel and your vendors know, understand and follow the regulations on WPM – the USDA-APHIS website is a good starting place to look for more in-depth information.

  2. As you load your shipments destined for the U.S., look at it like a Customs officer will: is the shipment packed so as to be easily examined? Are all pallets and crates clearly and appropriately stamped? How about dunnage, bracing and loose packaging – are they stamped? Know the signs of infestation – bark, frass, boreholes, live insects or larvae. Is there any evidence of pest infestation on the packing? Make sure the pallets are clean and clear of rodent debris, unintended soil or plant/seed material, and any other unwelcome pests.

  3. If you are building your own crates or packaging materials, you must use materials from a registered and accredited manufacturer, and have the final packing material treated appropriately. You cannot create your own ISPM15 marks.

  4. Implement processes and policies for shipments being returned due to non-compliance, particularly if you are hauling LTL loads. Be prepared with a plan of action, and remember that shipments cross the border and are examined 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at some ports, so it is a good idea to advise your Customs Broker of after-hours contact instructions.

  5. Stay in close communications with your Customs Broker regarding updates and/or changes in the regulations, and know how these changes might affect you and your cargo destined to the U.S.

Pacific Customs Brokers can help advise you on how to better your chances of success with Wood Packaging Materials compliance. We can provide you with helpful information to avoid delays and refusals and manage the entire Customs process seamlessly.

Have questions about Wood Packaging Materials? Leave them in our comments section below.

 

 
 

March 19: Breakfast with U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman


Advancing Shared Priorities: A Conversation with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman

Moderated by Global National’s Weekend Anchor and BC Correspondent Robin Gill

The American Chamber of Commerce – Pacific Chapter is proudly hosting the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman for a breakfast event on March 19, 2015.

  • Speaker: Bruce A. Heyman, U.S. Ambassador to Canada
  • Moderator: Robin Gill, Global National’s Weekend Anchor and BC Correspondent
  • Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015
  • Time: 7:00 AM-9:00 AM
  • Place: Hyatt Regency
  • RSVP: events@amchampacific.com or 855.542.6623
  • RSVP Deadline: Friday, March 13, 2015
  • Cost:
Individual Seats:
Members:$75
Affiliate Members:$100
Non-members:$125
Tables of Eight:
Members:$550
Affiliate Members:$750
Non-members:$950

RSVP Now »

 

US Ambassador Bruce Heyman

About Ambassador Bruce A. Heyman

Bruce Heyman was sworn in as President Obama’s personal representative to Canada on March 26, 2014, after having being confirmed by the United States Senate on March 12, 2014.  He is a 33 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he served as the managing director of the Private Wealth Management Group from 1999 until December of 2013.

Mr. Heyman has served as a board member for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation.  He also served as an advisor to the Fix the Debt CEO Council of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.  He has been a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, The Executives’ Club of Chicago, and the Facing History and Ourselves Chicago Advisory Board.

A magna cum laude graduate with both a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University, Mr. Heyman continues to maintain close ties to his alma mater.  He is past president of the Alumni Board and a former member of the Board of Visitors at the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

He is married to the former Vicki Simons of Ashland, Kentucky.  They have three grown children, David, Liza, and Caroline, and two grand-children, Emma and Clara.

 

RSVP Now »

 
 

7 Excellent Reasons to Invest in Trade Compliance Education


education financingToday’s business climate is fast paced. Time is limited and precious, and there is always a long list of tasks to accomplish. So why would you take valuable time out of your busy schedule to attend a trade compliance seminar or webinar?

Like any good business person worth their salt, let’s examine the Return on Investment (ROI). Obviously the seminar or webinar topic has to have some relevance to your business. Here are some questions a potential attendee may ponder on as they contemplate the decision to attend or not:

  • Is there a way my company can save money?
  • Will it improve a process?
  • Will it provide potential insight to solve a problem?
  • Will it provide valuable knowledge to move a project along?
  • Is the topic one that cannot easily be ignored? (e.g. compliance issues)

 

What is Trade Compliance?

Trade compliance refers to importers and exporters meeting all of the requirements governing the movement of commercial goods across the border. To be trade compliant is to ensure that the tariff classification, origin and valuation of goods are all accurately declared in accordance with legislative requirements and that the appropriate duties and taxes are paid. There is a clear obligation under the Customs Act to provide true, accurate and complete trade information, including a proper description of the goods, and to correct wrong information regardless of dutiable status. Furthermore, an essential part of trade compliance is to ensure that all import requirements are met, such as having the appropriate import permit. If not all import requirements are met, this violates the control measures that are in place to protect the economy, the environment and the health of citizens.

The Importance of Trade Compliance:

In recent years, the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have shifted much of their emphasis from import inspections to post audit verifications. The responsibilities put upon Importers of Record have steadily increased as all members of the supply chain endure higher scrutiny from Customs officials. Now more than ever it is imperative that the Importer of Record maintain a high level of sophistication, demonstrate due diligence, ensure they understand their responsibilities, implement internal sets of controls and procedures for best practices as well as understand the consequences of non-compliance.

International trade no longer stands on the sidelines of corporate awareness. It is being transformed from an operational function into an evolving eco-system that helps mitigate organizational risks and strategically drives value. In order to do business efficiently, smart businesses need to strike a balance between ensuring timely movement of cross-border goods and complying with complex regulatory systems designed to ensure safe, verifi­able cross-border transactions. Effective global customs planning can help improve a company’s bottom line.

Benefits of Attending a Trade Compliance Seminar or Webinar:

1. Gain Insight on Key Trade Topics

A well designed seminar or webinar will help you gain a better understanding of key trade topics, teach you how to manage trade compliance and utilize free trade agreements to your benefit. The substantial knowledge you receive will aid in completing accurate documentation, understanding logistics and getting a feel for how transactions move through the regulatory process.

2. Stay Current on Customs Regulations

In our industry, where we deal with Customs and other government agencies, regulations are ever-changing. A trade compliance seminar or webinar can be a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade.

3. Avoid Possible Penalties and Risks By Being Informed

Customs agencies and other government departments emphasize the importance of compliance. This is monitored through increased enforcement and could result in monetary penalties to the importer. One of the most important reasons to attend a seminar or webinar is the knowledge and guidance you will receive from the presenters with regards to the steps your organization will need to take to become more compliant with government agencies.

4. Cost-effective Training and Knowledge Refreshment Tool for Logistics Professionals

Seminars and webinars make for excellent training for someone in a new role, a new employee, or training for yourself. Quite often we have repeat attendees who regularly register on an annual or bi-annual basis. Part of our Trade Compliance Education Program covers general overviews of importing or exporting, but we also offer training on specific subjects (e.g. North American Free Trade Agreement, H.S. Tariff & Classification), thus providing an excellent opportunity for companies to utilize this as a cost-effective training tool.

5. Access to Trade Compliance Experts

A well designed seminar and webinar should include adequate time for audience participation or a valid opportunity at the conclusion to get answers to your questions. A live seminar gives you the chance to personally speak to the presenter(s) or other subject matter experts, while a live webinar usually offers this in a Q&A session. We all agree that sometimes the best experiences occur when there are excellent inquiries that promote further ideas and discussion, particularly when you thought you were the only one with that challenge.

6. Reasonable Time Commitment

The ability to obtain some specific knowledge in a short period of time is an added benefit. Night school courses are requisite for more in-depth subject learning but often you need something that is less intensive but still provides substantial knowledge.  Half or full day seminars or an hour long webinar is an excellent way to get a quick update.

7. Networking – Make Valuable Professional Connections

A live seminar and webinar allows you to network and learn alongside other like-minded professionals, coming away with increased knowledge and understanding. Perhaps you will encounter a person who had a similar business problem to yours, or someone who can share their own experience on a certain issue and provide you with valuable insight.

Here is a quote from an attendee at one of our recent Trade Compliance Seminars  “… it’s always interesting to have an informal conversation with compliance people from other industries.” Which brings up another great point – where else would you have a chance to rub shoulders with people of similar business interests?

Hopefully this has inspired you to take the next steps in your trade compliance education. Check out our Spring 2015 Trade Compliance Education Schedule online or download and print your copy of the 2015 Spring Trade Compliance Education Schedule below:

We hope you’ll join us and encourage you to share this with colleagues and business partners who might find it useful.

Do you have questions about our trade compliance education program? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.

 
 

11 Reasons Why a Carrier Would Need to See a Customs Broker


Numbers-one-600A driver’s cross border journey is so much more than picking up freight and proceeding with delivery. Crossing international borders, especially with commercial freight, means complying with the rules of the governing country.

There are many aspects for the carrier to consider when planning their journey: transportation permits, routes, road conditions, hours and what customs requirements apply to the goods on board.

While most entries must be transmitted to the CBSA electronically for review, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Here is a list of those exceptions to help give you a better understanding of some of the reasons you or your driver may have to stop your journey along the way:

  1. Invoice lines in excess of 999 lines — When an invoice covers a large number of purchased goods, it can take a customs broker quite some time to key it line by line. This is why customs has allowed entries exceeding 250 lines to be presented as a paper entry to help expedite the clearance process.
  2. Multiple Highway Cargo Control numbers at frontier
  3. Courier Low Value Shipment rejected from consist (2500CAD or less)
  4. Other government department permit or certificate required — There are certain goods that cannot be released electronically because they require a permit, certificate or license to be presented to CBSA. An example of this would be vehicles that require Form 1 or fire arms that require a special permit.
  5. System outage (ie. customs broker, CBSA or CFIA)
  6. Shortages, Entered to Arrive, Value Included — These goods are reported when the quantity of goods originally reported to the CBSA is different from that received by the importer or broker.
  7. Provisional — When the importer/owner or broker cannot establish a final value for duty of goods at the time of importation. In such cases, goods may be released under the interim accounting provisions.
  8. Prime & ETAs — When an item is too large to fit on one truck and transportation of the goods will be split up onto a number of trucks.
  9. Used self propelled vehicles — Goods that require U.S .customs authorization to export before they will be CBSA released.
  10. Used machinery requiring inspection — Goods that may have soil or dirt present must be inspected to ensure that the proper cleaning precautions have been taken.
  11. CBSA has requested to see a paper declaration

 

In any of the above cases, the customs broker will instruct you or your driver to come into their office to collect a paper package, which they will have prepared in advance. After obtaining instruction from the customs broker, you will proceed to the customs booth and advise the border service officer (BSO) that you need to see your customs broker. The border service officer will instruct you where to park while you take care of your documentation.

Once you’ve visited the customs broker and have obtained the paper package, those documents need to be presented to CBSA for their release decision. If release has been granted, Customs will stamp your paperwork released and you may then proceed with final delivery.

Do your due diligence and always ensure that your entries are good to go before proceeding to the border. By doing this, it gives you and the customs broker an opportunity to communicate any special instructions to each other.

What do you think? Leave us your questions or comments below or email Ask Your Broker.