Archive for the ‘Customs Brokers’ Category


Trade Talk – HELP! “I’ve been chosen for a (CBSA) Trade Compliance Verification Audit!”

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Verification list 2017 is out – Are you an importer of these items?

As an Importer of goods into Canada, you may one day be faced with a terrifying reality of being chosen for a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Trade Compliance Audit. You may wonder what your next step should be.

Step 1: Breathe, it may not be as bad as you think. Contact your customs broker and discuss the situation. They will guide you through this process. You are not alone.

Step 2: Understand how an audit works.

The CBSA uses Post Release Verification Audits as a tool to measure trade compliance with the various CBSA programs.  Typically a trade compliance audit will focus on one of three major programs, Tariff, Origin or Valuation.  In all cases, there are two processes by which your company may be chosen for an audit.  

  1. Random Verifications – These verifications are typically focused on the type of goods being imported, the country of origin of the goods, the relationship between the purchaser and the seller, etc.   
  2. Targeted Verification Priorities – Targeted verifications are determined through a risk-based assessment.  A list of verification targets is typically issued by CBSA in January and July of each calendar year.  Each list will carry new items to be verified for compliance with tariff, origin and valuation, and, there will be some items that carry over from previous calendar years.

The January 2017 Trade Compliance Verification Priorities can be found at the following link:


CBSA Verification Audit



Step 3: Educate your team.

Trade Compliance Education:

Pacific Customs Brokers aims to keep importers and exporters informed on changing customs regulations while educating them on the consequences of non-compliance. Whether you are new to importing, exporting or are seeking training on the movement of international goods, our trade compliance program will aim to match your needs.

Related blog post: 7 Excellent Reasons to Invest in Trade Compliance Education

 Trade Advisory Services:

If your company is chosen for a Trade Compliance Audit or Verification Audit, Pacific Customs Brokers is here to help.  Please contact our office as soon as you are notified of your audit, and one of our Certified Trade Compliance Specialists will work with you to guide your business through the audit process.  It is very important that we be brought in right at the beginning to ensure that we can represent your best interests with CBSA to mitigate the impact of any additional duty, penalties or interest that may otherwise be payable.

Our trade advisory services include but are not limited to:

  • Thorough HS database review with ongoing updates
  • Current industry training and education to review transactions completed by customs brokers thereby minimizing errors
  • Experienced counsel on valuation and origins
  • Strategic advice on withstanding a customs audit
  • Firm support through the challenges of the audit process

For more information about our trade compliance audit services, contact us today or learn more at Canada Customs Trade Compliance.


Do you have questions about CBSA’s   trade compliance verification priorities? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker .

Is Canada’s Softwood Lumber Industry Facing a Cold Blow from the South?

Softwood Lumber

Softwood Lumber Importers to the United States May Be about to Find Out!

The U.S. Lumber Coalition has filed petitions with the International Trade Administration for Antidumping (AD) and Countervailing (CV) relief on importations of multiple softwood lumber products originating in Canada.

This article is in response to this advisement just released:

The petitioners allege critical circumstances, requesting that AD and CV duties be applied imminently. If critical circumstance is approved, “CV duties could be applicable to entries filed as early as December 15, 2016, and AD duties could appear as early as February 3, 2017.” Initial review indicates an alleged AD margin of 52.89%, while there are few specifics as to the countervailing rates. We will continue to keep you posted as more is known.

The scope of the AD Duty and CV Duty cases are dispositive. The potential Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) headings and subheadings are provided for convenience only. Language of the scope as presented is detailed here:

Petition Coverage

The merchandise covered by these petitions is softwood lumber, siding, flooring and certain other coniferous wood (‘softwood lumber products’). The scope includes:

  • Coniferous wood, sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, whether or not sanded, or whether or not finger-jointed, of an actual thickness exceeding six millimeters.
    Coniferous wood siding, flooring and other coniferous wood (other than moldings and dowel rods), including strips and friezes for parquet flooring, that is continuously shaped (including, but not limited to, tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded) along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, whether or not sanded, or whether or not end-jointed.
  • Coniferous drilled and notched lumber and angle cut lumber.
  • Coniferous lumber stacked on edge and fastened together with nails, whether or not with plywood sheathing.
  • Components or parts of semi-finished or unassembled finished products made from subject merchandise that would otherwise meet the definition of the scope above within the scope of these investigations.

Softwood lumber product imports are generally entered under Chapter 44 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Softwood lumber products that are subject to these petitions are currently classifiable under the following ten-digit HTSUS subheadings in Chapter 44: [Please see attached for detailed list of 47 specifically-included ten-digit HTSUS provisions].

Subject merchandise may also be classified as stringers, square cut box-spring frame components, fence pickets, truss components, pallet components, and door and window frame parts under the following ten-digit HTSUS subheadings in Chapter 44: 4415.20.40.00; 4415.20.80.00; 4418.90.46.05; 4418.90.46.20; 4418.90.46.40; 4418.90.46.95; 4421.90.70.40; 4421.90.94.00; and 4421.90.97.80.

Although these HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the investigation is dispositive.”

We are here for YOU

In addition to the AD and CV duties, there are likely to be additional requirements from the surety company who provides your Continuous Transaction Bond with Customs. It is imperative that you remain aware of your requirements proactively.

Should you prefer to communicate directly, our Trade Compliance Group is well-versed in AD and CV processes and ready to answer your questions or help to address your concerns. You can reach us 24/7 Toll Free: 877.332.8534 for all entry processing requests.

Estimated vs. Actual Duty Costs: CBP Liquidation Explained



















It is common practice for customs brokers to invoice for projected duty, often listed as “estimated costs,” on the invoice instead of the actual duty payable. Amounts that must actually be paid remain an “estimate” with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) until “liquidated.” The liquidation process can be lengthy, therefore “estimated costs” are used until such time as the final determination is set by CBP.

According to CBP, liquidation is defined as, “the final computation or ascertainment of duties on entries for consumption or drawback entries.” (Source: 19 CFR §159.1)

The Liquidation Process

Importers are required to declare imported goods to CBP in the form of an entry, often prepared by a customs broker. Based on the value of the goods and H.S. tariff classification, duties and taxes are calculated and paid to CBP either direct by the Importer of Record (IOR), or by the customs broker on behalf of the IOR. CBP will review the entry for duty and tax accuracy (during the pre-liquidation period) and either agree with the calculations as paid or inform the customs broker or IOR of the recalculated amounts and any duties owing or payable. CBP will then liquidate the entry 314 days after entry submission.

Liquidation can be extended upon request, however the IOR must provide reason to do so. CBP is also at liberty to extend this time frame if the duty payable amounts are in question. Extensions are granted in one year increments and cannot be extended more than 3 times.

Anti-dumping and or countervailing duty investigations can cause the liquidation process to be suspended, as can a number of other issues, such as reconciliation entries our outstanding ruling requests.

Many IORs ask how they will know when the liquidation has been completed. Importers will receive a Courtesy Notice of Liquidation on a form 4333A, which utilizes the date of the actual liquidation. This notice requires no further action apart from record keeping requirements. However, if there is additional duty owing, the Courtesy Notice of Liquidation will be pink and if customs has extended or suspended the liquidation, this will be indicated on the form.

While the liquidation of entries may seem like a simple matter, it is important that importers review their liquidation notices for anomalies such as extensions, suspension, changed status, change in amounts due, etc. While the majority of entries do liquidate on schedule and as expected, there can be surprises. Should you receive a liquidation notice that does not match your expectations, get in touch with your customs broker for clarification as soon as possible in order to maintain your legal right to protest the matter should you find it objectionable.

Have you received a questionable liquidation notice? Share with us in the comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

Highway eManifest: A Year in Review


It has been just over a year since eManifest became mandatory for highway carriers. On July 10, 2015, full compliance of eManifest came into effect and since January 11, 2016, non-compliant carriers may have been issued a Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Pacific Highway port of crossing reports that for the most part, carriers have been compliant. However the occasional carrier has arrived without an eManifest filed. Additionally, some carriers do not report multiple pickups on a single Pre-Arrival Reporting System (PARS).

Here is a quick review of how a carrier can be compliant when filing an eManifest with CBSA:

  • Transmission of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) cargo and conveyance data must be received and validated by CBSA no later than one hour before the arrival at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA).
  • All cargo data must be accepted by CBSA and on file in order to be subsequently linked to a conveyance. If a conveyance is transmitted quoting a cargo control number (CCN) that is either not on file or in reject status, the conveyance will be rejected.
  • The highway cargo submission will include but is not limited to:
    • A CCN that begins with the carrier’s 4-digit alphanumeric, CBSA-assigned carrier code followed by a unique reference number assigned by the carrier or service provider
    • Port of report and port of destination
    • A description of the goods
    • Shipper and consignee name and address
  • The CCN and Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) cannot be the same.
  • A machine readable bar code must be presented to the officer at the FPOA. The bar code must either be the CRN or the CCN or both.
  • Unless subject to an exemption or exception (see ECCRD or D-Memorandum for exemptions and exceptions) the carrier must provide a cargo submission to the CBSA for each shipment destined to Canada not being cleared as CSA.
  • Changes (pre-arrival) or amendments (post-arrival) to cargo data should be made as soon as they are discovered. Electronic changes by clients will be accepted up to the FPOA of the goods.

Failure to submit an eManifest or report all shipments can lead to a penalty of $2000 to $8000 Canadian Dollars per shipment not reported. Additionally, the carrier’s truck and shipments can be refused entry until an eManifest is filed within the prescribed time limits.

Pacific Customs Brokers is a third party service provider and knows how to be compliant with filing your ACI eManifest. Contact us at 855-542-6644 or email us at

Have You Received an Informed Compliance Letter from U.S. Customs?
















In an apparent effort to increase enforcement activities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been issuing Informed Compliance Notification (ICN) letters to a variety of importers lately with a subject line, “Distribution of Informed Compliance Publications and Other Informative Documents.” They may particularly be targeting importers whom they have identified as having specific high-risk imports OR non-compliance issues with customs regulations, and are thus quite susceptible to undergoing a comprehensive regulatory audit. The letters are being sent accompanied with a DVD that contains a number of Informed Compliance Publications (ICP). These very valuable and informative ICPs can also be found here on CBP’s website.

You are encouraged to review those that pertain to your import activities, and most particularly those regarding entry requirements, valuation, tariff classification and country of origin.

While we have yet to be made aware of our clients having received such letters, we would like to alert you to be on the watch for any correspondence that your firm may receive from CBP, and strongly urge you to contact us immediately. Please be reminded that CBP is allowed to conduct full audits on your importing activities into the U.S. whether or not you are a U.S. domiciled company.

CBP has stated that these ICNs are generally intended to encourage importers to conduct internal reviews of their importing practices, and to file prior disclosures in cases where there are discrepancies or deficiencies discovered.

Important: Prior to communicating with U.S. Customs directly we emphasize the importance of contacting us first and as soon as possible after receiving any correspondence from CBP. As your customs broker, we are generally copied in on most correspondence from CBP to our clients; however, we do not anticipate being notified of this particular outreach unless we hear directly from you.

Pacific Customs Brokers stands ready to assist and guide you on all customs matters, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Have you received an Informed Compliance Notification recently or in the past? Did you wait, respond immediately or contact your customs broker first? Share your experience in the comments section below or email Ask Your Broker. However, if you have received a letter recently, call us immediately.