Archive for the ‘Canada Customs’ Category


 

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.

A First Look At Importing Wooden Décor into Canada

wooden figurine

When importing goods that fall under tariff items 4420.10, 4420.90, 4421.90 or 9505.10 such as statuettes, other ornaments of wood and articles for Christmas festivities containing wooden components, the following information is required to ensure admissibility under Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) import requirements:

  • Thickness of wood  – Is it greater than, less than or equal to 1.5 cm thick?
  • Finish of the article – Is the article completely finished for example painted, lacquered, etc, or unfinished?
  • Wooden bark – Does the item contain bark?

It is strongly recommended that this information is clearly indicated on the invoice for each shipment prior to the documents being submitted to your customs brokers. If the required information is not provided then affected importers will be contacted however, this can potentially result in delays in customs clearance.

Goods classified under these headings that are less than 1.5 cm thick will most likely be approved for import with no additional document requirements.

Goods classified under these headings that are greater 1.5 cm thick, depending on your origin, could require any or all of the following:

  • Plant Protection Import Permit
  • Phytosanitary Certificate
  • Phytosanitary Certificate for Re-export

Recently, we have encountered several transactions containing decorative wood products where the invoice description did not provide on the thickness, whether it was a is completely finished article or if it contained bark. After the goods were released the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) contacted the importer to perform an inspection on the shipment. Many products were found to exceed 1.5 cm thickness and were of foreign origin. This resulted in a Phytosanitary Certificate for Re-export being required.  As this was not prepared at the time of export, the supplier was not able to produce the required documents. Therefore the CFIA forced the importer to destroy the goods in question at the importers expense.

Should you need more information, please contact your local CFIA office at: Area and Regional Offices

 

ACI eManifest: Updated Timelines for System Functionality and Deployment

Update ArrowCanada Border Services Agency has provided updated timelines for ACI eManifest system functionality and deployment. These timelines and dates, which could be subject to change, are available in this CBSA presentation.

It is important to note that this presentation does not address the question that is uppermost in carriers’ minds – when will eManifest  become mandatory? Most of these updates deal with technical issues. Carriers that utilize a service provider or file their ACI eManifests using the Canada Border Services Agency web portal will be largely unaffected.

Highlights of this presentation include:

  • Implementation of Integrated Import Declaration (IID) and Document Imaging Function (DIF) in early 2015, with a February target
  • Introduction of a subset of new eManifest notices, for all EDI commercial clients, that will advise on the completeness of advance data submitted to the CBSA and on the arrival and release of shipments in December 2015
  • Deployment of electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) in December 2016

The Canadian Society of Customs Brokers’ visual timeline of CBSA/PGA initiatives also reflects these changes.

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:

Shipping Holiday Gifts into Canada – A Word to the Wise

Shipping Holiday Gifts into CanadaWith the holiday season upon us, many businesses and individuals send and receive gifts that cross borders. Whether you are sending corporate gifts to clients and vendors, online shopping or receiving gifts by mail from family and friends, you should be aware of a few details with regards to holiday gifts and cross-border shipping.

A. Sending holidays gifts from a business to a business

1. Don’t let customs clearance catch your recipient by surprise.

When sending a business gift, the receiver of the gift should not have to be responsible for customs clearance charges. Especially since they will not have the required information of the item being gifted in order to complete the customs entry. Arrange for customs clearance through your customs broker. Even though these are free, non-solicited gifts, they will require clearing customs and payment of all applicable duties and taxes.

Customs clearance requirements:

The gift will need to be accompanied by a pro-forma invoice, including all of the same required information as a commercial import. You must also declare an accurate commercial value for the product, as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not accept inaccurate valuation.

2. Alcohol and spirits can be more expensive when shipping internationally.

Importing alcohol into Canada is subject to high duty and excise tax rates, and the import must be routed through a board, commission, officer, or governmental agency legally authorized to sell intoxicating liquor. If gifting liquor is a must, try contacting a winery or liquor store in the Canadian domestic market to purchase from and ship on your behalf.

3. Select the right gift basket.

If purchasing prepackaged gift baskets, be aware of its contents. Certain items such as meats, cheeses, fish and plant products require additional certificates, licenses, permits, and often carry high levels of applicable duties, making it extremely difficult to process such small quantities of these items contained in these gifts. We suggest giving gift baskets made up of items such as cookies, chocolates, coffee, crackers, oils, candles, etc., and avoid anything made from animal or animal products.

 

The bottom line:

If your organization is sending gifts cross-border, be prepared to treat them like every other export that is moved across international borders.

B. Shopping for holiday gifts online.

Many shoppers are choosing to stay away from the crowds, and are turning to online shopping these days. Be aware that the vast majority of online purchases are shipped from a non-domestic market (international) and will be required to clear through customs.

Check the online store’s or seller’s terms of sale and delivery

Confirm who is required to pay for the customs clearance – the seller or purchaser. If the purchaser is responsible for the customs clearance you will need to be prepared to pay all applicable duties and taxes when the item moves across the border. If the shipment is sent by mail and valued under $60.00 CAD, then there is the potential for the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) to allow the shipment to enter Canada without duties and taxes being paid.

Customs clearance requirements:

Although it will be a personal, non-commercial entry, in order to process the import you will be required to provide an invoice, including country of origin of the product, currency, and a complete description of the product(s) being shipped.

 

C. Mailing personal gifts to family and friends.

If you have friends or relatives who live abroad and are mailing you gifts, please ensure that they properly qualify the item as a gift and include a customs declaration.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • For an item to qualify as a “gift”, a friend or relative must send it to you personally and include a card or other notice indicating that it is a gift.
  • If you receive an imported gift by mail that is worth $60 CAD or less, you will not have to pay duty or tax on it.
  • If the gift is worth more than $60 CAD, you will have to pay any applicable duties and taxes on any amount over $60 CAD. For example: If a relative sends you a gift worth $200 CAD, you will pay any applicable duty, GST or HST and PST on $140 CAD.

Certain items do not qualify for the $60CAD gift exemption and are listed below:

  • tobacco
  • alcoholic beverages
  • advertising material
  • items sent by a business

Please also note that the $60 CAD gift exemption cannot be combined with the $20 CAD exemption that is available on most items valued at $20 CAD or less.

*These guidelines are applicable all year round, and are not specific to the holiday season.

 

Need assistance with shipping your holiday gifts into Canada this season? Pacific Customs Brokers can help. Contact our Client Services team for questions or a quote.

 

Will you be shipping Christmas gifts cross-border this year? Have questions? Leave them in our comments section below.

NAFTA Certificate of Origin: Top 5 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

NAFTA Certificate of OriginPacking slips, commercial invoices and customs invoices are all documents that can be easily completed. What I mean is that you are simply taking shipping or invoicing data – shipper, consignee, carrier name, description of goods, etc. – and plugging it into the respective area on one of these documents.

But how about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Certificate of Origin? Can you use the same document completion philosophy?

In a quick glance at a NAFTA Certificate of Origin, one might assume that the answer is yes. Exporter — yes. Producer — yes. Importer, description of goods, blanket period — yes, yes, yes. Sounds like we’re on a roll! We read the NAFTA Certificate of Origin completion instructions, understand what information is required and we finish this form off to satisfy the foreign purchaser’s request. Right?

Wrong!

The main difference between an NAFTA Certificate of Origin and the aforementioned documents is that all the products you list on this document must qualify under the North America Free Trade Agreement. That’s right – do not simply complete the document. There are rules that must be observed.

As we already noted, some fields on the NAFTA Certificate of Origin are fairly basic and you can easily fill them in. The focus of this article is to provide clarification on the less understood areas to raise awareness of their complexity.

Five Common Errors on a NAFTA Certificate of Origin:

#1. Field 6 — Harmonized System (H.S.) Tariff Classification Number

As emphasized in a previous article, it is very important that the H.S. tariff classification is correctly assigned to each product, as the first six digits will determine which of the NAFTA “Specific Rules of Origin” will apply (Go to page 141  to see the list).  If you are unsure regarding the tariff classification a customs broker can help.

#2. Field 7 — Preference Criterion

The completion of this field is going to depend on where a product was sourced or manufactured, the extent of the manufacturing and transformation process, and/or the source and place of manufacturing for any raw materials. Note that the preference criterion chosen for one product might not be the same as for another, and each situation will need to be evaluated on its own merit.

#3. Field 8 — Producer

Hey, you get a lucky break! This is one of the easier ones. YES, NO(1), NO(2), and NO(3) are your options. The ‘NO’ options of (1), (2), and (3) refer to what you are basing your NAFTA claim on — whether you ‘just know it is NAFTA eligible’ (1), or you have documentation from the producer that it is NAFTA eligible (other than an NAFTA Certificate of Origin ) (2), or you have a voluntarily provided and accurately completed NAFTA Certificate of Origin from the manufacturer (3). We respectfully advise that you go for (3), as this assures that the actual producer has done his due diligence in confirming NAFTA eligibility of the product he is providing to you.

#4. Field 9 — Net Cost

In order to properly complete this field, you will need to understand the NAFTA “Specific Rules of Origin” applying to a product to determine if Regional Value Content is a factor and whether the Net Cost method will be used. In this field, you will either show ‘NC’ if the Net Cost method was used, or ‘NO’ (all other situations). By the way — do not place a dollar amount in this field, as this merely indicates to a customs agency that you did not read the instructions!

#5. Field 10 — Country of Origin

This one sounds simple, doesn’t it? You would be amazed, however, at the number of NAFTA Certificate of Origins  we receive that indicate countries other than the U.S., Canada or Mexico (remember, it’s the North American Free Trade Agreement). Another common mistake is for someone to automatically assume that just because certain products are made in Canada, the U.S., or Mexico they qualify for NAFTA. In fact, if they do not qualify, they must not be listed on this document.

Sound complicated? In some cases, it is straight forward, but in so many others (for example, products with many foreign components), NAFTA qualification can be an onerous task. The point we are making is for companies and individuals to realize that much care needs to be exercised (before signing, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of the form so you understand your responsibilities).

Repercussions of incorrectly filled out NAFTA Certificate of Origins:

Your worst nightmare would be a situation where a company has been importing a product for many years assuming that it qualifies under NAFTA (i.e. duty free), then discovering through a customs audit that the goods do not qualify. Regular Canadian or U.S. duty rates range from duty free to over 200%; fines and penalties could also be assessed. Need we say more?

It should be noted that similar rules apply for any Certificate of Origin relating to a free trade agreement. For instance, if you grab a copy of a Canada-Chile FTA Certificate of Origin, you will notice many similarities.

Still baffled over the completion of this document, or whether or not your goods qualify under NAFTA? If you require advice or have questions related to NAFTA,  please contact one of our Trade Compliance Specialists. They will help you take full advantage of the benefits provided by NAFTA.

Additionally, take an in depth tour of NAFTA, by attending an upcoming NAFTA Workshop wherein you will gain a better understanding of NAFTA, learn how to manage NAFTA compliance and utilize this free trade agreement to your benefit.

 

You may also leave your comments or questions on completing a NAFTA Certificate of Origin in the comments section below.

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