St. Patrick’s Day and Irish Trade

Pot of Gold Leprichaun Hat

St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday that started from Saint Patrick, a 5th-century missionary. Today we know it as a celebration of Irish culture. St. Patrick’s Day is unique because, according to Time, it is globally the most celebrated national holiday. The Irish who have dispersed around the globe have brought their culture along with them; however, the Irish have more than just fun culture to offer. In this post we will take a look at how a beautiful country with wonderful people has positively contributed to the world of trade.

High-Tech Industry

If you were to visit Dublin, Ireland and walk along the Dublin Docks you would be doing a double take on where you are. The docks are lined with large, futuristic buildings that don’t make you think about the quaintness of Ireland, but rather the tech giants of Silicon Valley. This is because Ireland has attracted the biggest and brightest U.S. tech companies. How? With the most profitable tax rates. Ireland is the world’s most profitable country for U.S. corporations. With a corporate tax rate of only 12.5% companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter have large offices located on the Dublin Docks. U.S. corporations receive benefits from the lower corporate tax rates while being able to pull from an English-speaking pool of potential employees.

The Tara Mines

In the early 1970’s an exploring team discovered the Tara Mines. You might be thinking what is special about the Tara Mines, Ireland and trade? Well, the Tara Mines contain the largest amount of zinc found in Europe and is the 9th largest zinc mine in the world. Zinc is important because it is used to galvanize other metals. This helps prevent metals such as steel and iron from corroding or rusting.

The Tara Mines also contain a large amount of lead, specifically the 2nd largest amount in Europe. Lead is important because it is used in many items we use on a daily basis which includes car batteries, ammunition, weights, radiation protection and paints just to name a few.

Big Pharmaceutical

The beneficial tax rates not only helped attract the top U.S. tech companies, but also the pharmaceutical industry. Amazingly, Ireland has 9 of the top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Even at the low corporate tax rates of 12.5% Ireland receives over €1 billion in corporate tax every year. Every time you take some medicine for an ailment or allergic reaction, there is a very good chance the best and brightest in Ireland lent a helping hand.

Counting Sheep

Ireland’s main economic resource is its large fertile pastures. Just under 10% of all Irish exports are agricultural foods and drinks. The beautiful natural scenery throughout Ireland lends itself to over 5 million sheep and just under a million cattle. Interesting fact, there are more sheep in Ireland than humans.

The Luck of the Irish

The Irish have a lot to be proud of. Not only do they have wonderful people with a fun-loving culture, but a strong export economy that helps many people in many countries. If you want to explore your options and import products from Ireland or Northern Ireland, contact us to see how a trade advisory expert can help you. The luck of the Irish may be on your side.

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The Top 7 Questions You Have About Customs Bonds

Girl Pondering Question

Many of you ask about customs bonds and why you need to have a Customs Bond. To provide clarity we addressed your questions. Here is a closer look at Customs Bonds in the U.S. and Canada.

1: What is a Customs Bond?

A Customs Bond is a guarantee to the U.S. or Canadian government that any revenue owing will be paid by the importer when the government asks for payment.

2: Why is a Customs Bond needed?

When I am Importing into the U.S.

A Customs Bond is an entry requirement when importing into the U.S. If you want your goods to clear, or your goods have to be held at customs because they are pending acceptance by the respective government, then you will need a Customs Bond.

When I am Importing into Canada

A Customs Bond is not an entry requirement in Canada. You have two options. Your first option is to pay cash at the border. This isn’t always convenient so people and companies tend to favor the second option, and that’s to get a Customs Bond. That way your goods can be released into Canada, and you can pay the duties and taxes at a later date.

3: Who needs a Customs Bond?

When I am Importing into the U.S.

Everyone importing into the U.S. needs a Customs Bond. As the importer, you can be assisted by a Customs Broker or a licensed surety to get your Customs Bond.

Any business or individual importing for commercial purpose and/or filing a formal a declaration with US customs must have a bond in place. There are two options: A Continuous bond or a Single Entry Bond.

When I am Importing into Canada

For individuals or businesses importing into Canada, Customs assists in determining if you need a bond and the type of bond you require. This will depend on the type of goods you have, the overall value of the goods and the reason the goods are entering.

4: How do I get a Customs Bond?

You can get a Customs Bond with your Customs Broker or a licensed surety.

5: Continuous vs. Single Entry Bonds?

Continuous Bond

Used for individuals or businesses who frequently import into the U.S. or Canada. A Continuous Bond is valid for one year from the date of issue. It covers all standard entries within that year and provides the ability to cross at every port of entry. There are some special entries and commodities that have additional bonding requirements. To determine what type of bond your goods need we recommend contacting a Customs Broker.

Shippers, Customs Brokers, facility operators and importers who frequently import goods with customs will have a Customs Bond to allow for continuous interactions.

It is important to note that if you have 3 or more shipments in a year, or you have 1-2 high valued shipments, it is more cost effective to apply for a continuous bond rather than use a single entry bond.

Single Entry Bond or Single Transaction Bond

Used for individuals or business who import infrequently. In Canada, a single entry bond will only cover a few entries within a specified date and can only be used at a single port of entry. In the U.S. a Single Entry Bond, also referred to as a Single Transaction Bond, only covers one shipment. Even if you have 3 shipments at a single port of entry, each entry will need to have its own bond.

Single Entry Bonds are U.S. specific. The only application in Canada would be on the carrier side. Carrier’s can complete a one-trip bond to a designated location.

6: What is the cost of a Customs Bond?

The Cost of a Canadian Customs Bond

The price you pay for the bond depends on the:

  • Type of Bond
  • Type of Goods
  • Value of the Goods

The Cost of a U.S. Customs Bond

In the U.S. the clearance requirements can also affect the price you pay for the bond.

If it is a bond where the goods are subject to a Participating Government Agency (PGA) then the bond amount is 3 times the value of the goods.

If it is quota, anti-dumping, countervailing duties, temporary import bonds, or a special entry type, the bonding requirements and cost will vary.

It is best to contact a Customs Broker to find out what the charges would be for your specific Customs Bond.

7: What are the advantages of using a Customs Bond?

A Customs Bond guarantees to the government that the duty and taxes will be paid at a later time after release of the goods at the border.

In the U.S., the type of bond you select is where you have your advantage. A continuous bond gives you the most coverage for an annual fee whereas a single entry bond you will pay a premium for a single use.

Our Trade Compliance Experts

If you need assistance with a Customs Bond please contact one of our Trade Compliance experts.

Link to Canada Customs Bond

Link to U.S. Customs Bond


Import Misconception #25: Customs Inspections End at the Border

Truck Highway Sunset

You’ve had your goods released by CBSA and paid the duties and taxes. Are you free and clear from Customs inspections?

The short and quick answer is, not yet. The CBSA will verify and adjust commercial importations for origin, value for duty, or tariff classification for up to four years after importation furthering customs inspections.

What are Customs Adjustments?

If the CBSA adjusts your accounting document, they will issue a Detailed Adjustment Statement (DAS) that will outline the adjustment to you (the importer) and allow up to 30 days for you to pay any duties and taxes owing.

If you discover any errors in the accounting document after the fact and before the CBSA makes any corrections, you must correct the information within 90 days of discovering the error even if it is revenue neutral.

You must keep all records pertaining to your importations for six years following the importation of the goods, plus the year of import.

In addition, the CBSA uses Post Release Verification processes to manage trade compliance. These processes focus on tariff classification, valuation, and origin.  The CBSA Trade Division may choose an importer for an audit by one of two methods:

Customs Audit Methods

1 | Random Verifications

Random Verifications are chosen randomly to measure compliance with a specific company or commodity. The risk assessment may or may not be revenue based.

2 | Targeted Verifications

Targeted Verifications are risk based and announced by CBSA twice a year. Some verification priorities carry over from year to year with new priorities added. The January 2018 Trade Verification Priorities can be found at the following link:

How to Stay Compliant After Import

Your importation responsibilities do not end with the payment of duties and taxes. The best practice is to make sure you and your company are in compliance with current CBSA trade regulations. However, if you get it right to begin with, you mitigate your risk moving forward. Educate yourself and your team.

Pacific Customs Brokers informs importers and exporters of the ever changing CBSA regulations while also educating how to stay compliant with customs. Whether you are new to importing or seeking training on the movement of international goods, our trade compliance team will match your needs.

Have questions regarding compliance? Reach out to a Trade Advisory today!

If your company is chosen by CBSA for verification process or audit, the experts at Pacific Customs Brokers can assist you through the audit process. Contact our Trade Advisory Team today to have a knowledgeable, experienced and skilled expert on your side.

Jan Brock | Author






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Flowers, Wine and Diamonds, Oh My | Valentines at Customs

Red Paper Hearts

Flowers, wine and diamond jewelry are just some of the more popular items to give this time of year. A very large percentage of these items are imported into Canada. With that in mind, let us take a look at where these items originate, the import process and the many supply chain partners that have a hand in getting them into your shopping cart.

How to Import Flowers

According to Statistics Canada, Canadians imported 11.1 million dozen roses for a total cost of $71.7 million dollars in 2016; the majority of which originated in Colombia and Ecuador.

Flowers fall under the category of agricultural goods and are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is charged with protecting Canada from invasive species of flora and fauna. They work collaboratively with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to review incoming importations of all agricultural products, with a scrutiny of particular commodities that have a high chance of harbouring pests.

Want to know what other goods are subject to
Other Government Department Inspections?
Check out our handy guide here.

To import flowers into Canada you would follow these steps

  1. Consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for the import requirements for your commodity. This will tell you if the flower is approved for import, the conditions of import, and any additional instructions, such as the requirement for a phytosanitary certificate.
  2. If the import is showing as refused entry in AIRS, review the Pests Regulated by Canada database to determine if a common pest on your flowers would require them to undergo a pest risk assessment.
  3. Review your tariff classification and valuation to ensure they are correct. In the case of flower bouquet, there are different rules for when different flower types form a bouquet. Additionally, if the flowers traveled through the U.S. from offshore, the valuation will need adjustments to account for those handling costs.
  4. Have your customs broker provide CBSA and CFIA a pre-arrival notification via import declaration and all required certificates prior to arrival at the port of crossing.
  5. Wait for a release determination from CBSA in coordination with CFIA.

Alternatively, you can contact us and we will go through these steps on your behalf and present to you the final determinations of what is required.

International Flower Delivery

Like many perishable items, flowers require special shipping due to their delicate nature. They must be packaged to not damage the fragile petals or stems. They must also be kept at a cool temperature so they do not fully bloom or spoil before reaching their destination. Additionally, they must reach their delivery point before their beauty fades past the point of being a desirable item to purchase.

Flower Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in getting your beautiful bouquet to you:

  • Grower
  • Distributor
  • Purchaser
  • Importer
  • Carrier
  • Customs Broker
  • Freight Forwarder
  • The Flower Shop

How to Import Wine

Here is an interesting fact for those who favor wine over flowers: 481 million liters of wine were sold in Canada, 75.7% of which was imported in 2015.

Although Canada has a robust and impressive selection of local wineries, some still prefer to drink a variety from other countries. In those cases (no pun intended) the wine must be imported into Canada.

Wine is considered an intoxicating liquor that is subject to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. Under this act, wine must be imported by a “by a board, commission, officer, or governmental agency legally authorized to sell intoxicating liquor.” Each province in Canada has its own liquor board which importers must work with in order to import. This Provincial Liquor Authority must be named the Importer of Record, and the winery must be named the consignee. Authorization from this provincial liquor authority must be obtained prior to import.

Import costs will include Excise Duty and importers are required to have an Excise License.

Shipping Wine

CBSA will place a seal on each shipment of wine imported into Canada. Carriers must not transload these shipment after the seals have been placed unless they are under the supervision of a CBSA officer.

Wine Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in ensuring your wine glass is full this Valentines day:

  • Vineyard
  • Winery/Consignee
  • Purchaser
  • Distributor
  • Provincial Liquor Authority/Importer of Record
  • CBSA
  • Carrier
  • Freight Forwarder
  • Customs Broker
  • Liquor/Wine Store

How to Import Jewelry

As for jewelry, Canadian retailers sold 3.6 billion worth of jewelry and watches in 2015. As for diamonds, Canadians imported a value worth $493 million dollars and exported $2.1 million in 2016.

There are a few considerations to make when wanting to import jewelry:

  • What is it?
  • What is it made of?
  • What is the base metal?
  • Is it plated or solid?
  • Does it include ivory, leathers or other parts of animals or plants  that may be regulated by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • CITES? Think watches with ivory faces.  A CITES is then required.
  • Does the item include diamonds? If those diamonds were imported already cut, polished and ready to be mounted, there are no additional import steps. However, if those diamonds were imported unprocessed, as with the case of Kimberly Rough Diamonds,special regulations as laid out in Memorandum D19-6-4 must be followed.

Shipping Jewelry

Jewelry benefits in this area because of its size. No matter the value, the size is generally small and therefore the shipping cost is low.

However, consideration of valuation for insurance purposes must be made. To lose a $10 thousand dollar engagement ring in transit would be a hard thing to discuss with your partner!

Packaging also plays an important role. Although made of metal and stone, jewelry is very delicate. Shippers must ensure that the packaging can withstand the tribulations of transit.

Jewelry Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in getting that sparkly ring on your finger or watch on your wrist:

  • Diamond Mine
  • Consignee
  • Purchaser
  • Distributor
  • Importer of Record
  • CBSA
  • Carrier
  • Freight Forwarder
  • Customs Broker
  • Jewelry Store

This Valentine’s Day, when you are shopping for those special people in your life, take a moment to appreciate all of the people in the supply chain who jumped the regulatory hurdles and danced the shipping tango to get your precious item to you. Leave your love letters to those supply chain partners in our comment section below. Happy Valentine’s Day <3

Lisa Stevenson Marketing Coordinator Pacific Customs Brokers

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“Report – Trade Data Online.” Report – Trade Data Online – Import, Export and Investment – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Government of Canada,¤cy=CDN&countryList=ALL&runReport=true&grouped=GROUPED&toFromCountry=CDN&naArea=9999.

Canada, Government of Canada Statistics. “Valentine’s Day… by the numbers.” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, 29 Sept. 2017,

Government of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency. “Memorandum D3-1-3 – Commercial Importation of Intoxicating Liquors.” Government of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, 25 May 2017,


Will CPTPP Impact NAFTA Negotiations?

North America

Prior to the latest NAFTA negotiations, Canada entered into the new Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In this blog, we look at how this may impact the next round of NAFTA negotiations in late February, early March.

Before the January NAFTA Negotiations

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Canada and Mexico has agreed to the new CPTPP. An international trade agreement between 11 countries the U.S. previously withdrew from on January 23rd, 2017.

With the U.S. adopting a bilateral trade agreement philosophy, while Canada and Mexico have joined the multilateral CPTPP agreement. How will this impact the NAFTA negotiations going forward?


New U.S. Duties on Solar-Panels and Washing Machines

Also, the U.S. recently introduced new import duties on solar-panels and washing machines. Solar-panel duties have increased by 30%, while washing machines duties have increased by 50%. The new duty on solar-panels will have a minor impact on Canada and Mexico. The new washing machine duty will only impact Mexico.


January’s NAFTA Negotiations: Round Six

Tuesday, January 23rd, Canadian, American and Mexican representatives met in Montreal for the sixth round of NAFTA negotiations. Let us focus on the four main focal points surrounding the latest NAFTA negotiations. Chapter 19, the auto parts industry, the dairy industry and the sunset clause.

Chapter 19: Trade Disputes

The U.S. is looking to eliminate Chapter 19 in the NAFTA negotiations. Currently, Chapter 19 allows for trade disputes between two NAFTA countries to go through an independent third party arbitrator. This prevents Canada and Mexico from having to enter into the U.S. legal review process for anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the U.S. government.

Previous Chapter 19 rulings have favored Canada. Most recently Boeing made a bid to increase import duties by 300% on Bombardier’s CSeries. An independent third party arbitrator, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), voted 4-0 to reject the 300% duty because it did not have a negative impact on the U.S. aircraft industry.

The Auto Parts Industry

With the new CPTPP in place, the NAFTA negotiations are going to feel some extra pressure in the auto parts industry. At the moment, NAFTA allows for 37.5% of a cars parts to come from outside of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. However, in the new CPTPP agreement, the percentage of allowable foreign composition is 55%. This difference will create a more competitive market for auto parts in Canada and Mexico, while at the same time acting as a disadvantage for Canadian and Mexican companies creating auto parts.

The U.S. is aiming to decrease the percentage of car parts that come from outside of North America to 15%. Translating to more job opportunities for Americans in the auto industry.

Canadians are trying to introduce a line of thinking that auto industry software and other high-tech equipment should be taken into consideration when talking about the net cost of auto parts since a higher percentage of software and high-tech equipment is created and produced in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Thus adding to the auto parts percentages.

The Dairy Industry

The CPTPP agreement has also opened up the dairy debate as well. Since there has been a small opening to Canada’s originally closed market, the U.S. wants greater access to Canadian consumers. Currently, if a U.S. dairy farmer was to export milk to Canada, they would face a 270% duty. Eliminating dairy trade barriers would be beneficial to Canadian consumers, but would deal a great blow to Canadian dairy farmers who presently enjoy the benefits of the ongoing trade barrier.

The Sunset Clause

The U.S. also wants to implement a sunset clause. A sunset clause would allow any of the three NAFTA countries to walk away from the proposed agreement after five years. If the sunset clause was to be implemented it would almost certainly mean the end of the current NAFTA agreement in five years, since it would be unlikely for all three countries to be happy with the state of the agreement in five years.


NAFTA Negotiations and Trade

Despite all of the uncertainty with NAFTA, trade between the three countries has remained steady and consistent. Everyday airplanes, trains, cargo ships, and trucks transport essentially everything you use daily. If you would like to explore international trade opportunities, give us a call. We can provide you assistance with customs clearance, freight forwarding, trade education and trade advisory services.


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