Archive for the ‘Free Trade Agreements’ Category


 

How To Kick Trade Anxiety Out of Your Business In 4 Steps

Trade

Watching the news these days really takes the gusto out of trade plans. Compared to previous years, trade nowadays seems far more risky. Each day we field calls from worried importers…

“Will there be surtax applied on my goods in the future?”

“Will NAFTA dissolve?”

“I signed a year long commitment to purchase goods that now carry an unreasonable amount of duty. What can I do?”

 

Whether you are currently importing or looking to expand into an international market, you may share these queries. And although there are many questions left to be answered at this time, it does not mean you cannot take action to alleviate some of the uncertainty and accompanying anxiety.

So here are our top 4 tips on how to curb your trade anxiety and forge forward with your trade plans.

Step 1: Arm Yourself With Trade Knowledge

Perhaps step away from the news feed and do some research on what can and cannot happen. Can NAFTA be dissolved overnight? Nope. Is there an existing bilateral trade agreement between Canada and the U.S.? There sure is. However, it is out of date and will take some work to make it current. Can you claim back surtax paid if it is significantly harming your business? Possibly. There are certain criteria to meet, but it is an option. The point here is that you need to understand what options you have, how quickly you need to move and how your company will be impacted if and when the trade winds change. In times of uncertainty, get as certain as you can.

You can seek this council from International Trade Lawyers, who are perfect for large companies or Trade Advisors for small to medium sized businesses. Both will gain an understanding of your questions and lay out the options you have currently as well as bring any potential issues to your attention. Together you can create an action plan for some of the expected outcomes.

Step 2: Research Financing and Other Trade Support Opportunities

There are many opportunities for financial assistance that go unutilized. There are entire government entities that have a sole purpose of facilitating trade by offering support. Here in Canada importers can work with EDC, or Economic Development Canada, who provide risk insurance, financing and working capital assistance to companies wanting to expand internationally.

Recently, the Government of Canada announced a Surtax Remittance process where those companies negatively affected by the imposed surtaxes that came into effect on July 1st, 2018 can apply for a refund. For more information to determine if your company is eligible read our blog Are You Eligible To Request Remission Of Canada’s New U.S. Surtaxes?

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service is available to all Canadian companies looking to expand into new markets. They will team you up with your own Trade Commissioner who specializes in your industry. This partner will help you map out an export plan and connect you with their extensive list of network contacts across the globe.

Step 3: Spread Your Goods Thin

The advice we give out the most these days is diversify, diversify, diversify. Although it is not the goal, some companies may find themselves in a situation when one of their clients can make or break them financially. This is a dangerous situation to be in, especially if your client is from another country and you are acting as the non-resident importer in order to deliver your goods to their door.

So our advice is to begin seeking additional markets in which to sell your goods. Regardless of the current trade landscape, diversification can create sales stability. However, like all business ventures, it is not without its share of risk. Utilizing organizations such as EDC and the Trade Commissioners Services can help you in this area.

On the flip side, if you find yourself purchasing your goods from one international supplier, now is the time to look for alternatives. If you are locked into a purchasing agreement, speak to your supplier and determine if your long standing relationship can relieve some of the financial impact you may be experiencing from unexpected and increased duty.

Working with a Freight Manager and Trade Advisor can help you source from Countries that may offer preferential duty treatments or have a current Free Trade Agreement in place. A Freight Manager can help you determine the shipping costs from this new location. From there you can calculate your anticipated landed costs from these new locations and compare it to your current costs.

Step 4: Do It Now

Let’s say you are walking down a forest trail when a bear steps on to your path. Hopefully your instinct is to freeze and back away slowly as the experts advise. Reacting to threats in trade should not have the same approach. Do not freeze and back away. Do not even pause to ‘see what plays out’. Act NOW. Buy, sell, trade your heart out because few duties are retroactive (typically only found in antidumping and countervailing cases where companies were found to have been undercutting the domestic market), and they can not tax what is already in the country. So, do not wait, act now.

If you are new to importing internationally, know that the setup process typically only takes a couple of days provided the paperwork is filled out correctly and completely. Working with a Customs Brokers allows for swift business registration and import bond implementation.

Do you have unanswered questions regarding your trade future? Leave us a comment below and one of our experienced Trade Advisors will reach out to you.

Lisa Stevenson

 

 

 

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How The Proposed Tariffs Affect You In The U.S.-China Trade War

China U.S. Trade War Proposed Tariffs

For the second time in July the U.S. government has placed additional tariffs on products exported from China and imported into the U.S.  If the proposed tariffs were actioned, there would be changes for both American and Canadian importers. How will the additional tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods affect trade between the United States and Canada?

The Proposed Tariffs Effect On Canadians

Canada is already in the midst of a trade war with the U.S.  Now Canada is unwittingly affected by the trade war between the U.S. and China because many items proposed for additional tariffs are manufactured in China, exported to Canada and then finally exported into the U.S.  The additional tariffs levied against Chinese goods are applicable to goods manufactured in China without regard to the previous country of export.

Canada has enjoyed a long standing trade partnership with the U.S.  Canadian companies often act as Non-Resident Importers; handling all of the import requirements including payment of duties and taxes. This has allowed Canadians to sell their goods to companies in the U.S. as seamlessly as a U.S. company. This allows Canadian exporters to expand their market beyond the Canadian border.

The third list of tariffs released on July 11th cover consumer goods such as furniture, seafood, automobile parts, televisions and video equipment, which we see our clients from Canada ship on a daily basis.

Even though the trade war is between the U.S. and China, other countries are affected because they, like the U.S., have their goods manufactured in China.

Many of the items on the proposed list such as furniture and seafood, which are normally duty free, will be dutiable at 10% if the proposed tariffs are actioned.

If you are a Canadian company who exports Chinese manufactured products into the U.S. you will need to consider how you will address the increase in cost of exporting to Americans.

The Proposed Tariffs Effect On Americans

Over 75% of the new tariffs target machinery for manufacturing goods, electrical equipment, televisions, recorders, bicycles, bicycle parts, and automobile parts: all merchandise which is in high demand with american consumers. With the U.S. being a consumer based economy, where the consumer is interested in paying the lowest price possible, this new legislation would have an adverse effect on the U.S. economy.

In short order, the increase in costs to bring goods into the U.S. will increase costs for producers, importers and ultimately the consumer. This is never a popular solution, however the U.S. has tried to entice China to come to the table to discuss revising their unfair trade practices.  

The additional tariffs were initiated to combat Chinese regulations that require companies wishing to do business in China partner with a chinese company and share the technology associated with their products leading to violations of both intellectual property rights and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Some economists say that a more appropriate way to combat these unfair trade practices would be to band together with other countries and take their concerns to the WTO to initiate a lawsuit against China.

In the long run, if the two countries can come to a satisfactory solution to the root of the issue the U.S. will benefit greatly and the trade deficit will balance out.

The Proposed Tariffs Affect On U.S. Import Bonds

How will the increased duties affect your import bond? Bond limits are set based on duties, taxes and fees paid in a 12 month period. With the increased duties, higher bond limits may be required. In addition to the higher bond limits, the surety company may request financial documents and collateral to secure the bond.

Your Guide To The Proposed Tariffs

This is a retaliatory move by the U.S. to address concerns of intellectual property rights.

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) will be holding a hearing August 20th-23rd on the impact the proposed tariffs will have if imposed. In order to appear at the hearing, submission must be made before July 27th, which must include a summary of the expected testimony. Written comments can be submitted to the USTR from now until August 17th, 2018.

A decision on if the additional 10% tariff will be imposed or not is expected to be announced at the end of August, after the hearings.

This 10% will be in addition to the already imposed 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of goods from China that came into effect on July 6th, 2018. China retaliates with a reciprocal tariff increase on U.S. commodities imported into China.

How You Can Prepare For The Proposed Tariffs

As a business it is best for you to be proactive in your approach to the impending changes. Contacting a trade professionals for advice on how the proposed legislation could affect your company will provide you with the knowledge to make quick decisions when change inevitably comes.

This includes understanding;

  • What country has the most cost effective solution to source your materials from,
  • Determining your rate of duty if there were changes to the proposed tariffs or NAFTA,
  • Education to make yourself prepared for current practices and future changes, as well as,
  • Freight costs to get your products from your source to you.

All of these services are provided to you by our Trade Advisory experts in Canada and the U.S. Contact us to start a conversation with a Trade Advisor today.

 

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Possible Trade War: U.S. and Canada

 

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico Flags NAFTA

On June 1, 2018, the U.S. committed to a 25% tariff on imports of steel and 10% tariff on aluminum, on the European Union, Canada and Mexico. The tariffs have triggered retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods and heightened the chance of a trade war.

The U.S. steel industry will initially benefit from the tariff increase through decreased international competition, driving up the price of U.S. steel and therefore the profits. These profits can be reinvested into the steel industry by improving their technologies and potentially providing more job opportunities.

A potential downfall to the tariff increase is retaliatory measures from U.S. trade partners, as is the case with Canada. Canada has announced $16.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs. The Canadian tariffs will go into effect July 1, 2018, and cover a broad range of commodities. Some, mainly unfinished iron and steel products will be hit with a 25% tariff, while others including many consumer products will be hit with a 10% duty.

 

If history repeats itself, trade policy experts warn tariff increases could cause future harm. An example of this was in 2002, when the U.S. enacted a tariff of 8% to 30% on international steel. The increased tariffs set off a chain reaction with the European Union responding with tariffs of its own and a number of countries disputed the tariffs at the World Trade Organization. The WTO ruled the U.S. violated the international trade agreements, and opened the door for sanctions and retaliation. Retaliation by the EU cost many Americans their jobs, and in late 2003 the U.S. Government reversed the sanctions.

Canada’s Stance

The tariffs could cost the Canadian economy over $3 billion a year.  According to the Canadian Steel Producers Association, Canada is the largest supplier of steel and aluminum to the U.S.  Approximately 90% of Canada’s steel is exported to the U.S. The price of steel and aluminum is going to go up as a result of these tariffs and jobs will be lost in Canada. Steel production employs around 22,000 people in Canada concentrated mainly in Ontario. Canada exports around 84% of its aluminum to the U.S., which represents around 8,300 jobs in the aluminum sector with the majority being in Quebec.

Canadian consumers can expect to pay more for products imported from the U.S. that are largely made of steel and aluminum which could apply to anything from cars, refrigerators, canned sodas and beer.

International Stance

China, and the European Union have also responded negatively to the U.S. tariff increases. Brazil contributes 13%, followed by South Korea at 10%, and Mexico at 9%. The original target China only imports 2% of the U.S. steel imports.

Along with fighting the tariffs at the World Trade Organization, European officials have been preparing levies on an estimated $3 billion worth of imported American products in late June. In a joint statement, ministers from France and Germany said the countries would coordinate their response.

Steel and Aluminum Statistics

Below you can see a few interesting statistics on Canada-U.S. cross-border steel and aluminum trade.

  • In 2017, Canada exported nearly $17 billion of steel and aluminum products into the U.S. (Statistics Canada)
  • More than $14 billion of steel crossed the Canada-U.S. border in 2017 (Canadian Steel Producers Association)
  • Canada exported $11.1 billion of aluminum and aluminum articles to the U.S. in 2017 compared to $3.6 billion of imports from the U.S. (Statistics Canada)
  • Close to 45% of Canada’s steel production is exported to the U.S.  Predominantly to Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and New York.
  • Over 50% of American steel exports go to Canada.
  • Canada sent more than $5.6 billion of primary aluminum exports to the U. S. in 2016. New York, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania are the top destinations.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, Canada’s share of world aluminum production fell from 10% to 5%. For the U.S. from 15% to 2.7%. While China’s increased from 11% to 55%.
  • U.S. aluminum production fell following the 2008 financial crisis and recession. It was up 6.9% in 2018 from 2017.
  • Canadian aluminum production is down 7.6% for the first two months of 2018 compared to the same time in 2017.

The Beginning of the End for NAFTA?

With the likelyhood of eliminating multilateral trade agreements in favor of bilateral trade agreements. In order to have control over your trade in these uncertain times, you must arm yourself with the knowledge of what your duty rates will be without NAFTA, alternative countries of origin for your imported goods and freight quotations on getting your goods from your new origin to the final destination.

You can talk with our trusted trade advisors to determine your rate of duty without NAFTA. Click here to get in contact with a trade advisory expert today.

Jan Brock | Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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How NAFTA Negotiations Affect You

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do the NAFTA Negotiations Really Affect You?

If you are engaging in cross-border trade and investment you need to stay informed on the recent news in NAFTA negotiations and other trade agreements with Canada;

  • Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

This week marks the start of the 5th round of NAFTA talks in which Mexico, the U.S. and Canada hope to make considerable progress on the NAFTA text.

For the past 23 years, NAFTA has tied together North America’s economy through predictability, openness, and collaboration.  The creation of NAFTA in 1994 marked the largest free trade agreement in the world. NAFTA removed previous barriers to encourage the flow of goods and labor between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

U.S.’s NAFTA Priorities

In 2017 the U.S. is prioritizing employment for American citizens. Along with the renegotiation of NAFTA, the U.S. government withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This would have seen 12 of the top economic countries eliminate trade barriers to encourage international trade. The U.S. ultimately decided to withdraw from the TPP to prioritize protecting American jobs.

With the latest rounds of negotiations, the U.S. released a series of what Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, considered “unconventional proposals” challenging the 23 years of predictability and collaboration. The two main concerns, specifically highlighted by Freeland are:

  • The auto industry’s supply chain management system
  • The currently enforced dispute-resolution system (Chapter 19)

The U.S. auto-industry has stated that cars containing less than 50 percent U.S. auto parts should be subject to a tariff since this will encourage Americans to buy and sell cars locally. This is a problem for Canada and Mexico because it will affect current supply chains leading to an international disadvantage, as well as a loss of jobs for Canadians and Mexicans.

For the currently enforced dispute-resolution system the U.S. wants to ensure enforcements on disputes are non-binding or voluntary, therefore, eliminating the importance of any future rulings.

The U.S. has been aggressive in the negotiations because they are less dependent on NAFTA than Canada and Mexico. If NAFTA were to fall apart for all three countries, Canadians and Mexicans would lose a substantial amount of jobs and opportunities. However, Canada has leverage as the current largest export market for the U.S. The two nations also have the previously established Canada – U.S. Trade Agreement. Although the agreement is outdated, it does provide a fallback for ongoing trade.

Canada’s NAFTA Priorities

Canada’s priority in the negotiations is to stop the U.S. from implementing tariffs on goods that were previously being traded freely. While the U.S. has prioritized the removal of Chapter 10, which allows foreign access to Government procurement, Canada intends to safeguard it.

Furthermore, Canada is also looking elsewhere to strengthen trade ties. CETA was introduced on September 21st, 2017 and will reduce and in some cases possibly eliminate tariffs between Canada and Europe. These changes will open up new opportunities for Canadians and Canadian business. In November of 2017, Canada and the 11 remaining signatories of the TPP reached an agreement to move forward with the free trade deal.

Mexico’s NAFTA Priorities

Mexico’s priorities in the negotiations are similar to Canada. They want to prevent the United States from placing tariffs on products that are currently being traded freely. The United States imports approximately 80 percent of all Mexican exports. Mexico is the second largest export market for the U.S. As a result, any further complications would encourage Mexico to strengthen its trade relations with other countries.

How NAFTA Affects You?

Changes in trade can be extremely disruptive to your business and investments. Whether NAFTA folds or is successfully re-negotiated is still to be determined. However, one thing is certain, international traders who utilize this trade agreement can expect to see a change in how they trade after a decision on NAFTA is reached.

 

Pacific Customs Brokers is always here to help you stay informed with NAFTA and the ongoing negotiations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

 


Interested in learning more about what Free Trade Agreements your goods might fall under? Leave me a comment below.