International Flower Delivery | What Happens When a Taiwanese Orchid Decides to Travel Internationally?

International Flower Delivery – from Taiwan with love, international delivery florists!

International Flower Delivery


This is a light hearted, quick story about international flower delivery. It represents a very real question that we were asked here at Pacific Customs Brokers; the answer to which is a gem if you are planning an international flower delivery or you are importing plants or cut flowers into either the U.S. or Canada.

Being recognized as experts in the field of import requirements and international delivery for plants and cut flowers across North America is something we are proud of. As a result of this reputation, we process a significant amount of cut flowers and plants imported into Canada and U.S., including a recent request to help mitigate a delay during the import of Taiwanese Orchids.

The need came as a request from a VIP guest of an international hotel. A grand gesture from the hotel was to seek the import of these glorious plants to satisfy their dignified guest. During the import process the flowers were delayed at the border. The client asked for our assistance in meeting their import needs in order to meet their esteemed guest’s request.

This desire and its requirements raised an interesting point to us. How many of our readers might face the same situation with Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and all the amazing holidays we celebrate with the gifting of plants and flowers? How many might run into the same type of delay if they do not reach out to us prior to importation? How many could avoid this delay?

Our friends and families span the globe more than ever before. Be it plants or international flower delivery we are sending more and more unique items across more international borders than ever. What are the customs requirements across global borders to make these deliveries happen?


If you are a grower, producer or shipper of flowers, international delivery of any kind requires customs clearance and we can certainly assist you with your cross-border shipping needs.

Your Broker Knows ~ and you can as well.

If you are a business that imports or exports products, join us on LinkedIn

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What is Freight Insurance and What Do your Freight Insurance Rates Cover?

Your freight insurance rates protect you as an importer against potential losses to the shipment during transit and carriers for potential loss of a customer.

Freight broker insurance

There are many different types including shipping insurance, freight insurance, cargo insurance, moving insurance, transit insurance, and transport insurance. All of these terms are names for insurance that covers goods or merchandise against damage or loss while in transit from one location or another.

There are 2 types of cargo insurance, contingent cargo, and primary cargo insurance.

Contingent cargo freight insurance is a requirement of all freight forwarders and has a legal minimum requirement. Cargo weight is the basis for coverage; for example, $0.60 per pound.

Primary cargo insurance insures goods for their full actual value, and this can be issued per shipment or via an annual policy to cover many shipments per year. For example, if the value of the shipment is $500,000, the primary cargo insurance policy will cover $500,000.

Most carriers have freight insurance, but as an importer, you should look into separate cargo insurance such as marine freight insurance as carrier liability is often limited to $0.50 per pound rather than on the actual value of your goods. For example, if your cargo is worth $100,000 and weighs 10,000 lbs, your carrier’s liability insurance would only cover $5,000 in cargo loss. If you require full value coverage, you should look into replacement value cargo insurance. Carriers should always know the value of the goods they are transporting. If the value of goods is not covered by the carrier’s liability coverage, they should notify the client and determine if additional insurance coverage should be purchased.

Inland cargo insurance is another type of insurance. It covers domestic shipments via land (truck and rail) and air. Ocean cargo insurance provides coverage for shipments traveling via ocean whether on boat or containership alike.

Coverage for cargo insurance is often referred to as ‘warehouse to warehouse.’ This coverage begins when transit begins and terminates when the cargo is delivered to the final destination.

The responsibility for organizing insurance can be shared between the importer or buyer and exporter or seller or can be undertaken by just one of them. Make sure that the contract confirms the party responsible for the insurance policy. A clear way to do so is to use an internationally recognized term of sale, also known as Incoterms®.

Incoterms® clarify to what extent a party must take responsibility for particular risks during transportation. They define the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller and are recognized as the international standard by customs authorities and courts in all the main trading nations. Incoterms® reduce the risk of misunderstandings and legal disputes and also specify the loading and unloading responsibilities of the buyer and seller.

Freight Insurance Rates

Points you should consider when looking at insurance:

  • Know the costs and inclusions if you are responsible for arranging insurance.
  • Know the details of the insurance coverage if your supplier arranges insurance.
  • Check with your business insurance provider to understand what coverage is already available to you.
  • Make sure you inspect the goods upon receipt so you can remedy any problems promptly. If you discover damage or loss to your shipment follow the instructions outlined in your insurance policy or certificate to submit a claim.
  • Know that carriers, freight forwarders, and third-party service providers will only arrange insurance if so instructed in writing. They do not do so automatically.

In keeping with the Customs moto of ‘Know before you go’, ‘Know before you ship’ as it relates to insurance coverage for the goods shipped is also imperative. Do not count on your freight broker’s insurance policies to cover your shipment.

marine freight insurance

Have more questions on freight coverage? We would be happy to help. Please leave your comments and questions below.


Canadians Seeking American Business Solutions | Sign-up for DBUSA

Doing Business in the USA Seminar

Understand Your American Business Solutions, Immigration Options, Tax Structure, and Cross-border Opportunities

DBUSA Seminar - American Business Solutions for Canadian Businesses

The Doing Business in the USA (DBUSA) seminar provides valuable information to entrepreneurs in their pursuit of American Business Solutions in the following areas:


  • Optimal structure for U.S. presence
  • Cost-effective distribution channels
  • Responsibility for federal and state tax
  • What is considered “working” in the U.S.

  • U.S. consumer purchasing behavior
  • Canadian export requirements
  • U.S. import compliance
  • Available resources

Although most Canadian business owners inherently recognize the USA market offers some of the greatest economic opportunities in the world, they also know the prospect of doing business across the line can be a complex undertaking. That is why this seminar on how to conduct business in the USA will be an invaluable step for Canadian businesses looking to access American business solutions in the massive USA market.


Beginning at 8:00 am and finishing at 12:00 pm on April 27th, this fast-paced seminar is geared towards those who have questions ranging from how does one plan for opening a store front with a USA address as well as partnering with a distribution centre on e-commerce activity. It also covers the question of how might the current and proposed changes in international trade and immigration with the USA impact Canadian sellers. Our seasoned cross-border lawyers, accountants, customs brokers and logistics professionals will present options that will help you determine your export strategy and understand your responsibilities with government agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Secretary of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Presented by: Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP

Topics Covered:
Canadian tax on cross-border expansion: tax efficient structuring and financing
Canadian employees in the U.S.
eCommerce structuring

Presented by: Cascadia Cross-Border Law

Topics Covered:
Visitor for business overview: B-1 definition and permissible activities
Beyond the scope of the B-1: U.S. activities requiring formal work authorization
Pitfalls to avoid

Presented by: Moss Adams LLP

Topics Covered:
U.S. income taxation of Canadian-based business arrangements
Structuring a cross-border business for tax efficiency
Planning for other U.S. taxes: state, sales, estate, etc.

Presented by: Law Offices of Gene Moses P.S.

Topics Covered:
Selecting your professional team of experts
Legal entity structures available to Canadians
Selecting your state of incorporation

Presented by: Pacific Customs Brokers Inc.

Topics Covered:
Responsibilities of the non-resident importer (NRI)
Required documentation
Packaging and marking considerations

Presented by: UCanTrade

Topics Covered:
Warehousing, storage and distribution
Transportations shipping
Order processing fulfillment


400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border daily.
Nearly 9 million USA jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.
Canada is the top export destination for 35 states.
Canada is the number one supplier of crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas and electricity to the U.S. as well as a leading supplier of uranium.
Canada is the State of Georgia’s number one customer.
Statistics are from November 2016

This one-day event is being held at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2R7. This location is ideally situated next to the Burrard Skytrain station, just off of West Georgia, in the heart of Downtown Vancouver.

Bring your appetite. Attendees will be treated to a continental breakfast of fresh coffee and tea, pressed juices and gourmet pastries.

Please join our group of experts as they teach new exporters from all industry sectors the best practices of Doing Business in the USA. The estimated audience size of 50 will be comprised of small and medium sized businesses.

Register now to ensure your seat:

Early registration will be entered to win a copy of the book Unprecedented: The Election that Changed Everything by Thomas Lake, Jodi Enda (Hardcover). Early bird registration ends April 13th, 2017. Winner will be awarded at the event.

The Doing Business in the USA seminar group consists of experts who have assisted international-owned companies successfully navigate the U.S. market. The group services all industry sectors.

Cascadia Cross-Border Law provides results-oriented representation in U.S. immigration matters to clients worldwide. Based in Bellingham, Washington, the firm has associated offices in Anchorage, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. Its attorneys possess extensive experience in all aspects of United States immigration, including: non-immigrant visas and work authorizations, employment-based immigrant visas, family-based immigrant visas, visa processing in the U.S. and consulates abroad, waivers, naturalization and acquisition of U.S. citizenship, and loss of U.S. citizenship. | 360-671-5945 | [email protected]

Moss Adams LLP has been serving international clients for over 70 years and now works with more than 1,300 international businesses across many industries. We can help you make the most of your U.S. opportunities. Our experienced team of professionals will work with you to evaluate cross-border business structures, plan for multi-state activities, understand the complex U.S. tax and accounting rules, and develop business strategies for operating in the U.S. | 360-676-1920 | [email protected]

The Law Office of Gene R. Moses P.S. is a Bellingham, Washington cross-border law firm, licensed by the Washington State Bar Association and the Law Society of British Columbia as a Foreign Legal Consultant; which, for forty years has specialized in the structuring, formation and registration of U.S. legal entities. The law firm serves as legal counsel to 450+ cross-border corporations doing business in the U.S. | 360-676-7428 | [email protected]

UCanTrade, Inc. helps Canadian companies market and distribute profitably in the USA by providing a low-cost, fully equipped, fully staffed extension of your Canadian office in the nearby U.S. From our 20,000 sq. ft. facility in Ferndale, Washington, UCanTrade provides Canadian importers and exporters with USA Marketing Support Services; including USA business identity, warehousing, distribution, order processing, fulfillment, tradeshow support, and return/repair services. | 360-380-6900 | [email protected]

For over 60 years Pacific Customs Brokers has offered U.S. and Canadian customs brokerage, trade compliance consulting, international freight forwarding, trade compliance seminars and webinars, warehousing and distribution services to importers and exporters. Pacific Customs Brokers is always open with a 24/7 on-site reception team which has been trained to properly assess and redirect your calls appropriately for immediate action. | 360-332-8534 | [email protected]





Packing slips, commercial invoices, customs invoices. All are documents that can be easily completed. What I mean is… 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.

How about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Certificate of Origin? Can you use the same document completion philosophy?  There is much more to a NAFTA Certificate than just “completing another form”.

At a quick glance at a NAFTA Certificate, 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 completion instructions, understand what data is required and we”ll just finish this form off to satisfy the foreign purchaser’s request. Right?


The main difference between a NAFTA Certificate and the aforementioned documents is that all the products you list on this document must qualify under the NAFTA Rules of Origin. 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.

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. In order to correctly qualify the product under these Rules, you must be sure the tariff classification is correct. If you are unsure regarding the tariff classification, please contact a customs broker for assistance.

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.

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) (2), or you have a voluntarily provided & accurately completed NAFTA Certificate 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.

Field 9 — Net Cost

In order to properly complete this field, you will need to understand the NAFTA Specific Rule 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…NEVER place a dollar amount in this field, as this merely indicates to a customs agency that you did not read the instructions!

Field 10 — Country of Origin

This one sounds simple, doesn”t it? You would be amazed, however, at the number of NAFTA Certificates 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).


Lets say we have a NAFTA Certificate that has all the boxes completed with what appears to be correct data.  We clear and account for the goods and bill you.  No duty is paid.  Then 11 months later or more (up to 4 years after the date of release),  Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)  decides to audit that NAFTA.  They will go to the exporter with a NAFTA Verification questionnaire.  Let’s say CBSA comes to the decision that the goods actually do not qualify.  Guess who suffers for the exporter incorrectly completing the NAFTA?  Your Company.  You get the penalty applied to your importing profile and you have to remit the unpaid duty with interest.


So keep that in mind when you see NAFTA Certificates that are not properly completed.  Its a red flag that the supplier actually has no clue whether or not the goods qualify.


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,   feel free to contact our Trade Compliance Department.



Canadian Food Importers: New Regulations Affecting your Imports

Canadian Food Importers: New Regulations Affecting your Imports

Canadian Food Imports - Update 03-2017

The Government of Canada has introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act. This act is meant to modernize, simplify and strengthen rules for food commodities imported into Canada.

The act is also to provide increased export opportunities for Canadian producers.  If your business is a Canadian food importer, exports food to another country, or sells food across provinces, you may be subject to the proposed requirements.

Major Changes That Will Affect Importers of Canadian Food:

After reviewing the act, we have summarized the areas that will most affect importers.

Licensing Requirements

Currently there are a few industries (dairy, meat and fish) that require a license under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulations. Under the new regulations, however, licenses may become mandatory for certain food types imported, exported, or traded inter-provincially. Under the proposed regulations, most food businesses would require a license to:

  • Import food
  • Manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label food to be exported or sold across provinces
  • Export food that requires an export certificate, even if not preparing the food
  • Slaughter food animals where the meat product is to be exported or to sold across provinces
  • Store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA.

Preventative Control Plan

It is proposed that every company who deals with food has a preventative control plan in place  which documents all aspects of the operation including equipment, food preparation, hygiene, transportation and storage. The plan will seek to identify all hazards and critical control points as well as procedures related to monitoring, corrective action, verification, and record keeping.

Recall Traceability Plan

To insure efficient response to food safety incidents, companies will be required to have (but not limited to) a recall traceability plan that is accessible in Canada, data that can be provided to the CFIA electronically, and you must be able to trace the food forward and backward, with records kept.

Non-Resident Importers

Of particular concern is the requirement for a license, which many Non-Resident Importers may not have. This has been addressed as a stakeholder concern and CFIA’s response is included in the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement below:

“Many importers currently operate from outside of Canada. A requirement to have a Canadian fixed place of business could result in significant costs associated with setting up an office in Canada.”

CFIA response:

“The proposed Regulations would allow for importers who do not have a fixed place of business in Canada to hold a license if they have a fixed place of business in a foreign state that has a food safety system that provides at least the same level of protection to that of Canada. Canada has such an arrangement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which was signed in 2016.”

The Foreign Food Safety Systems Recognition (FFSSR) Arrangement, is the arrangement referred to in the above statement from CFIA. It will set out principles and areas of cooperation between the FDA and Canadian participants relating to food traded between the two countries, and allow Canada to recognize all or part of a foreign food safety control system.

Current Timeline

The CFIA is proposing a phased approach for the coming into force of the proposed Regulations that reflects the different levels of industry readiness and the concerns of small businesses. The table below provides an overview of the phased implementation. Please note that changes will take effect immediately upon the Act coming into full force.

Overview of phased implementation timelines

This table presents an overview of the phased implementation timelines.
Meat, Fish, Eggs, Processed Egg, Dairy, Processed Products, Honey, Maple products Fresh Fruits and Vegetables All Other Foods (see footnote 16)
>$30K and ?5 Employees >$30K and <5 Employees ?$30K
Licence (see footnote 19) Immediately + 2 years + 2 years + 2 years
Traceability Immediately (+1 year for growers and harvesters of fresh fruits and vegetables) + 2 years + 2 years + 2 years
Preventive controls (see footnote 20) Immediately + 1 year + 2 years + 3 years + 3 years
Written PCP (see footnote 21) Immediately + 1 year + 2 years + 3 years Not required (see footnote 22)


The CFIA will maintain open and transparent communication with stakeholders to facilitate the transition and implementation period for the proposed Regulations through the CFIA website.

CFIA recently launched a 90-day consultation on the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations to better protect the health of Canadians. This consultation allows for anyone affected by the Safe Foods for Canadians act to have their say before legislation is put in place.

If you have further questions regarding this act and how it may affect your business, we have compiled a list of helpful links below.

Helpful Links:

To read the regulation in full, visit this website.

For an overview on the Safe Food for Canadians Act and a summary of what business need to know please watch this video.

Use the CFIA’s interactive tools to find out if you would need a license, a written Preventive Control Plan or what your traceability requirements would be.

To learn more and have your say before the consultation closes on April 21, 2017, visit the CFIA Safe Foods for Canadians webpage.

To determine if your business will require a license, use this interactive tool.

You may wish to review the Foreign Food Safety Systems Recognition (FFSSR) Arrangement questions and answers.

Visit the Canadian Gazette article on this act.

Canadian Food Safety CFIA Proposed Regulations 2017