Archive for the ‘HS Tariff’ Category


Breaking Down Barriers with the Canada-EU Trade Agreement

Canda EU Free Trade DealAs a strong supporter of free trade, the European Union (EU) is a strategic partner for Canada, with the oldest formal relationship dating back to 1959. On 18 October 2013, Canada and the European Union (EU) reached an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that proponents suggest will bring the trade and investment relationship between the two trading partners to a new level.

What is CETA?

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) covers issues relevant to a modern trade and investment environment, from new market access opportunities to clear rules for European and Canadian traders and investors.  It addresses the full range of conditions that shape international trade in goods and services in order to eliminate or reduce barriers.

Impact of CETA on Canadian Businesses:

This agreement is by far Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative. It covers most aspects of the Canada-EU bilateral economic relationship, including trade in goods and services, investment, and government procurement. It also grants the flexibility to include areas of mutual interest beyond those that have traditionally been included in Canada’s trade agreements, such as regulatory cooperation. CETA will open new markets to Canadian exporters throughout the EU. It will also make Canada a more attractive destination for investors and manufacturers.

Key Milestones:

  • In an effort to deepen and broaden the Canada-EU commercial relationship, in 2008 Canada and the EU issue a joint study, Assessing the Costs and Benefits of a Closer EU-Canada Economic Partnership, which provided supporting rationale for a launch of negotiations.
  • Negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) were launched in May 2009 at the EU-Canada Summit in Prague.
  • The content of the CETA and its general modalities were agreed in June 2009.
  • A successful and productive first round of negotiations toward a CETA was held in Ottawa in 2009. Both sides made efforts to identify common grounds and set an ambitious negotiating timeline.
  • EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and his Canadian counterpart Trade Minister Fast met in February 2013 to take stock of the remaining open points.
  • After months of intense negotiations, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper  reached a political agreement on 18 October 2013.

Economic Ties Between the EU and Canada:

  • In 2010 Canadian merchandise exports amounted to C$34.5 billion, while imports stood at C$47.8 billion.
  • Canadian exports to the EU are diverse and include a significant share of value-added products in addition to traditional exports of resource-based products and commodities. Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, mineral fuels and diamonds are among our leading merchandise trade items.
  • Trade in services is significant, with Canada exporting C$12.6 billion in services to the EU in 2010, while importing approximately C$14.9 billion. Examples of often traded services between Canada and the EU are transportation, travel, insurance and communication.
  • The investment relationship is equally highly important. In 2011, European investors held investments worth more than €221.6 bn in Canada while Canadian direct investment stocks in the EU amounted to almost €137.6 bn. (Source: EU trade relations with Canada)
  • Key growth sectors of interest to Canada include ICT, telecommunications, aerospace and defence, energy technologies, and environmental products and services.

CETA Benefits:

The Agreement will provide Canada with preferential market access to the EU’s more than 500 million consumers and to its annual $17 trillion in economic activity.

A  joint study conducted in 2008 examined the costs and benefits of pursuing a closer economic partnership and revealed that both the EU and Canada can expect to gain from a closer bilateral trade relationship. A future agreement would contribute to economic growth and the creation of jobs. It would have several benefits, in particular:

  • The economic model of the Joint Study predicts annual real income gains of approximately €11.6 billion for the EU and €8.2 billion for Canada within seven years following the implementation of an agreement.
  • Total EU exports to Canada are estimated to go up by 24.3% or €17 billion, while Canadian bilateral exports to the EU are predicted to increase by 20.6% or €8.6 billion.
  • 50% of the total expected gains for the EU are related to trade in services, 25% to the removal of tariffs and the remaining 25% of the GDP gains can be reached by the dismantling of Non-tariff barriers (NTB).
  • The benefits from the Agreement in the area of NTBs are estimated to result in a €2.9 billion gain for the EU and €1.7 billion for Canada.
  • In the service sector new opportunities will arise both for European and Canadian companies.
  • Companies on both sides will benefit from the disciplines on investment protection, which are currently being negotiated, making investment even safer!
  • An agreement would bring the investment protection regimes on both sides to a comparable level.
  • Both countries will gain from increased access to the respective public procurement markets. All sub-federal levels of government in Canada will be open to European companies to engage in tenders.

Status of the Agreement:

Now that an agreement in principle has been reached, both parties will seek to conclude the formal agreement and undertake a legal review of the document. Once the final agreement is signed, it will then need to be ratified by respective parliaments.


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.
For more information on this agreement and to see how this it unfolds, please visit the CETA website.

Webinars: Learn from the Comfort of Your Desk

Computer-WorldMap-600As the laws governing trade continue to evolve and become more complex, continual improvement in voluntary compliance is required through awareness and education. At Pacific Customs Brokers, we firmly believe that it is in the best interest of an importer to understand the entire supply chain process and be aware of their responsibilities in order to remain well within regulatory compliance. For the past 5 years, Pacific Customs Brokers has offered a variety of Trade Compliance Seminars related to importing and exporting into Canada and the United States.

In keeping with the current business climate and the fact that we all have different learning styles and constraints on time and travel, we are excited to move into the next phase of our education program with the introduction of Trade Compliance Webinars. Our live and on-demand webinars are designed to be a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. The webinars will focus on practical tools that trade professionals find themselves using every day and provide you with substantial knowledge necessary to complete accurate documentation, understand logistics, get a feel for how transactions move through the regulatory process, valuation considerations and other topics of interest. Each of our live webinars will be followed by a Q & A session.

September Webinars:

Join us for the unveiling of:

 More webinars coming soon


We recognize that each of us gathers and processes information in different ways. In addition to educating the trade community through our seminars and webinars, we offer the following online resources:

  • Weekly Trade eNewsletter – updates on international trade, cross-border issues, Customs regulations, seminars, webinars and more
  • You Broker Knows Blog – informative trade blog articles written by our team of professionals 
  • International Trade News – current and archived trade news from Customs and other government resources
  • Your Broker Knows Videos – informational videos on a wide range of trade and shipping topics
  • Live Chat – instant messaging service where each ‘chat’ is one-on-one with a client services team member

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 webinars? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.


Are You New to Importing into the USA?

cutflowers-300If 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/inspections, and 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. Customs Clearance or Release:

Customs clearance or commonly referred to as 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. Documents:

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. Commodity Specific and Other Government Agencies (OGA):

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 agencies’ 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 are as follows:

  • 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. Duty Rates:

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.

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.  You as the Importer of Record (IOR) are ultimately responsible for providing the correct product classification to U.S. Customs.  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 (IOR) 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.


To learn more about importing and regulations into the U.S., attend the U.S. Customs Compliance Seminar on Thursday, September 12th, 2013. Sign up today!

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


Now Posted: Fall 2013 Trade Compliance Seminar Schedule

CalendarPacific Customs Brokers is proud to launch their fall schedule of Trade Compliance Seminars. In these seminars and workshops you will gain knowledge in the most up-to-date regulations for both importing and exporting into Canada and the United States. You will also learn best practices on how to stay compliant with Customs thus possibly avoiding costly delays and penalties.

Our presenters will navigate you through the logistics of shipping, free trade agreements, required documentation and the responsibility of the importer and exporter.

Many of our Trade Compliance Seminars are recognized by the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (C.S.C.B) and therefore receive points towards the maintenance of the Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) designation. Upon completion of the seminar, the attendees receive a certificate. For registration and more information, visit the links below.

Fall 2013 Trade Compliance Seminars:

*U.S. Customs Compliance 

Thursday, Sept 12 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

*Canadian Customs Compliance

Thursday, Sept 12 – 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm

ACI eManifest Session

Tuesday, Sept 17 – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

*FDA Seminar

Thursday, Sept 19 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

*CFIA Seminar

Thursday, Sept 19 – 12:30pm to 3:30pm

Global Export

Thursday, Sept 26 – 9:00 am to 11:30am

*Canada Customs Audit

Thursday, Oct 3 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

*U.S. Customs Audit

Thursday, Oct 3 – 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm

*U.S. Customs Compliance

Thursday, Oct 10 – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

*Canadian Customs Compliance

Thursday, Oct 10 – 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm

ACI eManifest Info Session

Thursday, Oct 22 – 10:00 am to 11:30 am


Thursday, Oct 24 -  9:00 am to 2:00 pm

H.S. Tariff & Classification

Thursday, Nov 14 – 9:00 am to 3:15 pm

*NAFTA Workshop

Thursday, Nov 21 – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

*5 CCS points towards maintenance of the CCS designation will be awarded for the (*) seminars and workshops.

Who Should Attend:

These seminars and workshops are designed to assist business owners, importers, managers, CFOs, purchasers and shippers on a variety of Customs and international shipping related topics.

Looking for Customized Seminars and Workshops:

We also tailor seminars to suit your industry or company needs. Some of our customized seminars have been specific to sports, special events, agriculture, produce and industrial equipment. Contact us to discuss your seminar requirements today.


Additional Resources:

Victoria Day – Our Doors Remain Always Open

It is business as usual for Pacific Customs Brokers on Victoria Day, Monday, May 20, 2013. Our doors remain ALWAYS Open 24/7 regardless of Statutory and CalendarCivic Holidays.