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USMCA Effective Date | Is The Deal Done?

USMCA Effective Date

In the USMCA Details blog you learned what is new in the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This includes the changes to the auto industry, dairy, Chapter 19, intellectual properties and de minimis threshold. The next question on your mind is when will the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) become live, in other words,  when is the USMCA effective date?

When Is The USMCA Effective Date?

The USMCA is not in law yet, and will not likely be until 2020. As of late October, 2018, NAFTA is still live. A few bureaucratic knots are still tied, and this blog will cover what needs to happen in each respective country until the USMCA is effective.

What Steps Do The Countries Have To Take Before USMCA Is Effective?

All three countries still have a number of steps to take before the USMCA comes into force.

  1. All three governments will take a look at the agreement and gather a better understanding of the NAFTA revisions.
  2. Each country will sign the USMCA agreement. The signing is projected to take place at the end of November. Conveniently prior to Mexico’s next President entering into office December 1st, 2018.
  3. Finally, each country must take their specific necessary steps to ratify and implement the USMCA.

How Will the U.S. Ratify And Implement USMCA?

In the U.S., the President notified Congress of the intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico and potentially Canada, on August 31st. The notification set off the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The 90-day consultation period finishes at end of November where the USMCA could, in principle, be signed.

All three leaders could sign the agreement at the G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires, which is scheduled for the end of November. The U.S. Midterm elections take place November 6th, 2018 and the new incoming Congress takes effect January 3rd, 2019. The U.S. Administration has 60 days from signing the agreement to submit a list of changes. The Final Agreement text is submitted to Congress at least 30 days prior to implementing it as Legislation.

Sometime in April, an Implementation Bill will be introduced in the House and the Senate where it is debated and considered before a final vote. Around the middle of July 2019, the Senate will vote on the USMCA Implementation Bill and then shortly after the President will sign the agreement into law.

How Will Canada Ratify And Implement USMCA?

For Canada, once the agreement is signed it will be tabled in the House of Commons for discussion. There is a full discussion but no vote to change the text of the agreement. The House of Commons has 21 days to consider the agreement before the Executive takes the necessary steps to ratify it. The Cabinet controls the ratification. The Governor – in Council (Cabinet) prepares an Order-in-Council authorizing the Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign an Instrument of Ratification or Accession.

After, an Implementing Bill is tabled in the House of Commons where the treaty is implemented into Canadian Law. Once the Bill is passed in the House of Commons it is sent to the Canadian Senate where it is debated. It is possible that the Senate may quash the Bill. If passed, the Bill is then provided to the Provinces and Territories, which may pass provincial legislation regarding the Bill. Regulations are then written to implement the Bill.

The date the agreement comes into force is part of the agreement itself, January 2020. The pressing timeline for Canada is to have all of the above completed before October 2019 when Canada has its next Federal Election.

How Will Mexico Ratify And Implement USMCA?

Mexico has a similar process to Canada. Most of the process is already complete and Mexico intends to ratify the agreement in December 2018 when the New President takes office.

Will The USMCA Come Into Effect?

The USMCA is far from being a reality and anything can happen in the U.S., Mexico and Canada to throw this agreement off the tracks. You will know if the USMCA is a reality by July 2019.

If the agreement fails, the original NAFTA would remain in effect until the time NAFTA 3.0 is renegotiated.

If you have questions about NAFTA or USMCA feel free to contact our Trade Advisory Specialists for NAFTA or USMCA details, and how they will affect you.

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Canadian Steel And Aluminum Importers Can Receive U.S. Surtax Relief At Time Of Import

Steel Railroad

You learned in Are You Eligible To Request Remission Of Canada’s New U.S. Surtaxes? how an importer can receive a refund on surtax paid in special circumstances of steel and aluminum imports. But as an importer of steel or aluminum, what if you could avoid paying the surtax at the time of import?

On October 11th, 2018, Canada Border Services Agency published the United States Surtax Remission Order. The Order notes that certain commodities can be relieved of paying the surtax at the time of import. To be relieved of surtaxes the items must be classified under the tariffs and be of the same description listed in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the remission order. A description of the conditions these products must meet are listed below:

What Steel and Aluminum Commodities are Relieved of U.S. Surtax?

In this Notice, CBSA states “Remission is granted for those goods described in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 attached to the remission order under the following conditions:

  • (a) the good listed in the schedule was imported into Canada on or after July 1, 2018 and subject to surtaxes;
  • (b) no other claim for relief of the surtax has been granted under the Customs Tariff in respect of the good;
  • (c) the importer makes a claim for remission to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness within two years after the date of importation.
  • (d) the importer files, on request, the evidence or information that the Canada Border Services Agency requires to determine eligibility for remission;
  • (e) the importer agrees that it is subject, at any time, including after the remission, to review by the Canada Border Services Agency for the purpose of determining whether the information supplied by the importer under paragraph (c) or (d) is accurate and complete and whether the facts on which the Canada Border Services Agency relied or intends to rely to determine the eligibility for remission remain unchanged in all material respects; and
  • (f) at the time when the Canada Border Services Agency conducts the review referred to in paragraph (e), the Canada Border Services Agency must be able to conclude that the information supplied remains accurate and complete and that the facts remain unchanged in all material respects.
  • (g) goods described in Schedule 2 must be imported into Canada no later than December 31, 2018.” Canada border Services Customs Notice 18-16, october 11, 2018.

Proof in meeting these criteria must be provided.

What Other Commodities are Relieved of the U.S. Surtax?

Remission is granted for goods classified under tariff item No. 8903.10.00, 8903.91.00, 8903.92.00 or 8903.99.90 in the List of Tariff Provisions set out in the schedule to the Customs Tariff, excluding those that have been exported from Canada and then subsequently re-imported into Canada. Remission for these goods is granted under the following conditions as stated in the Notice:

  • (a) the good was imported into Canada on or after July 1, 2018 and subject to surtaxes;
  • (b) the good was both purchased under contract and sold under contract prior to May 31, 2018;
  • (c) no other claim for relief of the surtax has been granted under the Customs Tariff in respect of the good;
  • (d) the importer makes a claim for remission to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness within two years after the date of importation;
  • (e) the importer files, on request, the evidence or information that the Canada Border Services Agency requires to determine eligibility for remission;
  • (f) the importer agrees that it is subject, at any time, including after the remission, to review by the Canada Border Services Agency for the purpose of determining whether the information supplied by the importer under paragraph (d) or (e) is accurate and complete and whether the facts on which the Canada Border Services Agency relied or intends to rely to determine the eligibility for remission remain unchanged in all material respects; and
  • (g) at the time when the Canada Border Services Agency conducts the review referred to in paragraph (f), the Canada Border Services Agency must be able to conclude that the information supplied remains accurate and complete and that the facts remain unchanged in all material respects.” Canada border Services Customs Notice 18-16, october 11, 2018.

CBSA further states that the remittance will only be granted if they were correctly classified under tariff item No. 8903.10.00, 8903.91.00, 8903.92.00 or 8903.99.90. The item could not have been exported from Canada and then re-imported, unless temporarily imported for repair, alteration or storage. Proof of meeting all criteria must be provided.

Are Goods Temporarily Imported Into Canada Relieved of U.S. Surtax?

Yes, if they were imported for repair, alteration, or storage and the following criteria are met as outlined by the Notice.

  • (a) the goods are exported immediately after having been repaired, altered or removed from storage, whichever occurs last, but no later than twelve months after the date on which the imported goods were released; and
  • (b) no other claim for relief of the surtax has been granted under the Customs Tariff in respect of the goods.
  • (c) the importer makes a claim for remission to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness within two years after the date of importation;
  • (d) the importer files, on request, the evidence or information that the Canada Border Services Agency requires to determine eligibility for remission;
  • (e) the importer agrees that it is subject, at any time, including after the remission, to review by the Canada Border Services Agency for the purpose of determining whether the information supplied by the importer under paragraph (c) or (d) is true, accurate and complete and whether the facts on which the Canada Border Services Agency relied or intends to rely to determine the eligibility for remission remain unchanged in all material respects; and
  • (f) at the time when the Canada Border Services Agency conducts the review referred to in paragraph (e), the Canada Border Services Agency must be able to conclude that the information supplied remains true, accurate and complete and that the facts remain unchanged in all material respects.” Canada border Services Customs Notice 18-16, october 11, 2018.

In order to be eligible for any of these above noted exemptions, the products must both be of a tariff item and description listed in the Department of Finance notice found here: List of Goods Subject to Remission of Countermeasures on Certain Steel and Aluminum Goods from the U.S.

You must also provide proof of meeting these criteria to CBSA. If working with a Customs Broker, you will need to provide supporting documentation to them in order to receive these exemptions.

What If You Already Paid the U.S. Surtax?

If you have already paid surtax on items listed in this post, and would like for us to submit a claim for remission of the surtaxes paid, please provide documentation and/or product literature which proves your product is one of those listed in the linked document above for each import transaction. The CBSA will require this proof in order to review and process the claim for refund of the surtaxes paid. Note: Additional charges will apply for preparing and submitting the request for the refund.

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What Is A Bill Of Lading And What Is Its Purpose?

Bill Of Lading

What Is A Bill Of Lading And What Is Its Purpose?

A bill of lading is a receipt provided by the carrier to the consignee. The receipt contains a detailed list of all of the shipments goods.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will need to know exactly what is on your truck. To help make sure all of your goods are accounted for and declared, you must supply a bill of lading or pick up receipt when faxing your Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) entry to your customs broker.

Why A Bill Of Lading Is Used

1. The main purpose of the standard straight bill of lading is it is a contract of carriage.

Other Bill Of Lading Purposes Include:

2. It may incorporate the full terms of the contract between the consignor and the carrier by reference.
3. It is a receipt signed by the carrier confirming whether goods matching the contract description have been received in good condition.
4. When completed in full, it helps the customs broker match up commercial clearance paperwork to ensure a complete declaration for all of the goods aboard the truck.

The carrier or the shipper can complete it, but the driver of the transport company is to sign and date the bill of lading once the goods are onboard their truck.

Why A Bill Of Lading Is Important

For Customs purposes the most important details on the bill of lading are:

  1. Piece count (total skids, boxes, pallets)
  2. Weight (total weight of the goods listed)
  3. Description of the goods
  4. Date (the date of pick up/export is used to establish the date for exchange rate)

If there is only one (1) location you have picked up goods from, then only one (1) bill of lading or pick up receipt is required. If you are picking up from multiple locations, then you need to have a bill of lading or pick up receipt for each location you have picked up from.

Commercial Documents

When picking up freight from the shipper, they may give commercial documents to you. If they do, please send your commercial documents to the customs broker with the bill of lading or pick up receipt. It is important that you send the customs broker all the documents you have. It helps ensure that all required documents are in place to declare those goods to Customs.

If the shipper does not supply you with commercial documents, please let the customs broker know as soon as you know, so they can work on getting the documents in order.

Other Documents

Often, a commercial invoice and bill of lading are sufficient for the customs broker and CBSA to process your load. There are many instances where special documentation will be required. Some examples of goods that need additional documents are:

  • CFIA regulated goods (fresh fruits & vegetables, fresh cut flowers)
  • Transport Canada regulated goods (vehicles) – which require another government agency (in addition to CBSA) to review the import

When faxing your PARS to the customs broker, simply affix your barcode label to the bill of lading. Make sure you are not covering up any important information. Be sure to clearly indicate which port you are crossing at and on what date and time. Please also include your phone number so that you can be contacted in the case there are any documentation issues.

Remember to ALWAYS confirm that your load has been set up before you get to the border.

Be accountable for the goods you are transporting and your cross border experience. Providing all the appropriate paperwork to your customs broker will truly ease your journey. If you need assistance with your bill of lading or any other customs brokerage or freight forward services, feel free to contact the experts at Pacific Customs Brokers for all of your international trade needs. 

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USMCA Details | United States Mexico Canada Agreement | NAFTA 2.0

USMCA Details

The United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA)

The U.S., Mexico and Canada reached a revamped NAFTA deal in the 11th hour on Sunday September 30th, 2018. NAFTA 2.0 has been renamed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

After more than a year of intense negotiations, the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached an agreement to update NAFTA. NAFTA dates back to 1994 when the pact was originally signed by all three countries to govern the $1.2 trillion worth of trade between the countries.

In August, the U.S. and Mexico resolved an issue over auto manufacturing but Canada and the U.S. still had some contentious points to resolve. The U.S. wanted Canada to open its dairy market to U.S. farmers and Canada wanted to preserve a mechanism for resolving disputes. These goals were eventually achieved which resulted in the new USMCA.

Auto Industry

Starting in 2020, to qualify for zero tariffs, a car or truck must have 75% of its components manufactured in the U.S., Mexico, or Canada, a boost from the current 62.5% requirement. In addition, also starting in 2020, cars and trucks should have at least 30% of the work on the vehicle done by workers earning at least $16 an hour, which will gradually move to 40% for cars by 2023.

Supply Management Agriculture Sector

Canada agreed to set new quotas for dairy imports from the U.S. Canada will still put tariffs on dairy products that exceed quotas. The new quotas will give the U.S. access to 3.6% of Canada’s market. U.S. farmers will now be able to export 120 million eggs into Canada the first year. This will grow 1% per year for the next 10 years. The chicken concession will allow 57,000 metric tons phased in over six years and in year 7 will increase 1% per year for the next 10 years.

Chapter 19

Canada wanted to keep Chapter 19 in place and in the end Chapter 19 remained intact. Chapter 19 allows the U.S., Mexico and Canada to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duties in front of a panel of representatives from each country. In the past, Canada has successfully used Chapter 19 to challenge the U.S. on its softwood lumber restrictions.

Intellectual Properties Protections

The USMCA has a new IP chapter, which is 63 pages long and contains stricter protections for patents and trademarks, including biotech, financial services and even domain names. Copyright terms in Canada now extend for 70 years beyond the year the creator of the work dies, bringing Canada in line with those of the U.S. and Europe. The IP chapter also includes an extension of the length of time new biological drugs will be protected from generic drug competition, up 2 years from Canada’s previously agreed upon 8 years to 10 years of exclusivity. This was necessary for all sides to update this field as the original agreement was over 25 years old.

De Minimis Threshold

The de minimis threshold or the duty-free amount Canadians can buy in the U.S. and import into Canada without having to pay a duty has increased from $20 to $150. Mexico agreed to raise their de minimis from $50 to $100.

The tax portion of the de minimis threshold has been separated. The new rules will see the tax threshold rise to $40.

For example, when someone in Canada buys something online in the U.S. for $149 they will be spared the duty but they will pay anywhere from $17 to $22 in taxes depending on the province and the tax rate for that province.

Labor & Environmental Rights

Significant upgrades to environmental and labor regulations were made, especially in Mexico. Mexican trucks crossing the border must meet higher safety regulations and Mexican workers must have the ability to organize and form unions.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 provided companies and investors a special process to resolve disputes with one of the governments of the agreement. The premise being that if an investor put money into a project and then the government changed the rules, there is a dispute process outside the court system where the investor could get their problem resolved. Chapter 11 is essentially gone with the exception of few industries such as energy and telecommunications.

USMCA Timeline

The USMCA will not go into effect right away. Most of the key provisions will not start until 2020. The leader of each country still has to sign the agreement, and then congress in the U.S. and the legislatures in Canada and Mexico have to approve it. This process is expected to take months.

How Will The USMCA Affect You?

You have the opportunity to get an early edge on your competitors with the advantage of a trade advisor. Pacific Customs Brokers has you covered with expert trade advisors who are able to help you navigate the changes that will affect you with the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

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Jan Brock | Author

Safe Food For Canadians Regulations To Require License For Businesses

 

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations


Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

If you have a business providing food to Canadians, you will most likely be affected by the new SFCR being implemented January 15, 2019. The SFCR focus is to prevent unsafe foods from entering into Canadian marketplaces, as well as, providing faster means to eliminate unsafe foods when they manage to penetrate the marketplace.

How Will SFCR Affect Food Businesses?

Starting January 15, 2019, if you provide food to Canadians, and the food crosses provincial or territorial borders, you will be required to have a license under the SFCR.

The SFCR will also require you to have preventative controls, traceable goods, packaging requirements, and labeling standards to make sure your food is safe for Canadians.

As a food business, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has a helpful tool to inform you;

  1. If you need a license,
  2. When you will need the license by, and
  3. How to apply for the license.

What Food Business Activities Will Require A SFCR License?

For more information on if you need a license, the CFIA has also produced a well structured guide “Food business activities that require a license under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations”. This guide is helpful for the DIY (Do It Yourself) approach. It covers who will need a license and who will not. For instance, if you are going on a road trip across Canada and you have a few snacks, you will not need a license. However, if you are importing food into Canada, you will need a license if you are importing food additives, alcoholic beverages, and for all unprocessed foods listed in Schedule 1 of the SFCR.

An Expert Trade Advisor You Can Rely On

For those who do not want to study the requirements top to bottom, a customs broker or trade advisor will be able to help you navigate the new regulations of the SFCR beginning early 2019. You can contact one of our expert trade advisors today to help you simplify the complicated world of trade.

 

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