Posts Tagged ‘NAFTA’


2017 Designation Maintenance Begins in our Professional Development Courses!

T if for Trade Compliance Education

A new year means a new start for most everything and this includes a reset to the maintenance requirements of your professional designations set forth by the credential’s governing body. We are well into the year now and our Professional Development Courses for fall 2017 are about to launch.

Whether you are a Canadian or U.S. Certified Customs Specialist (CCS), a Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS), a Certified Export Specialist (CES), a designate with the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) or accounting professional, taking any of Pacific Customs Brokers’ seminars and webinars will earn you maintenance points, credits and hours towards a variety professional designations.

Review and plan your maintenance for the second half of 2017 by clicking on the course’s name below:

(Fall registration opens at midnight on July 15, 2017)

CDN Importing for Beginners Part 1
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 2
US Importing for Beginners Part 1 1
US Importing for Beginners Part 2 1
FDA Regulated Goods 2 2 1
CFIA Regulated Goods 2 2
NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 1 1
NAFTA for Beginners Part 2 1
Shipping Perishables – NEW! 5 5 3 3
CDN Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5
CDN Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3
Exporting from Canada 5 5 3 3
US Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5 3
US Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3 3
HS Tariff Classification 5 6 4
Free Trade Agreements and Rules of Origin 5 5 5
Customs Valuation 5 3.5
CFIA 5 5
FDA 5 5 3
CTPAT 3 3 2 2


If you have never attended one of our Professional Development Courses before, the following information might help you decide on attending the next one.

Professional Development Courses – Webinars

Our webinars are designed to meet the demands of the global trade community. These live webinars are a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. The benefits of attending an online course include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards and some even offered complimentary
  • Global accessibility – Travel is removed from the equation for companies with multiple locations or branches
  • Convenience – Attend from the comfort of your desk
  • Concise training – In a fast-paced industry, efficiency becomes just as important as staying compliant
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations

Professional Development Courses – Seminars and Workshops

At these in-person sessions, you will learn the best practices on being compliant as an importer and/or exporter helping you expedite your commercial shipments rather than triggering costly delays. Our experts share their knowledge on international and cross-border shipping to keep you current with customs and participating government agency regulations.  The benefits of attending an in-person seminar or workshop include:

  • All day access – Get our experts to answer your questions one-on-one
  • Case studies and real-life examples – Examine other attendees’ trade compliance issues
  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Range of topics – Choose from a wide variety of seminar topics
  • Certificate of Completion – Receive a certificate for each course you attend
  • Handouts – Take home your own set of course material
  • Industry recognized sessions – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations
  • Networking – Connect with other like-minded professionals

For future reference, download your own 2017 Fall Trade Compliance Program today!

TradeTalk |BC Trees and Trade Agreements

Softwood, Hardwood and Forestry - NAFTA Re-Negotiations


A year after the initial signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on February 4th, 2016, the U.S. pulls out and presses forward on renegotiations of NAFTA as well. Will these U.S. Trade actions impact Hardwood, Forestry Trade or Softwood Lumber Agreement negotiations between the U.S. and Canada?

With the October 12, 2015 expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) and looming concern over tariff increases due to the December 16, 2016, United States Department of Commerce decision to initiate countervailing and anti-dumping investigations into imports of certain Canadian softwood lumber products the conversation and its topics seems to have changed between these two countries – or has it? Let’s have a look at what the goals for the forestry industry were in that conversation by both sides, and then let’s look realistically on the status of those goals today.

On the U.S. side the concern is:

Q – Were too many concessions made to get trades agreements in place (TPP or NAFTA) or others?

Q – Are U.S. companies facing hardships because of current lumber trading activities?


On the Canadian side of the conversation:

Q – Did the Canadians press more feverently to get the TPP Agreement signed?

Q – Why claim our crown land lumber is subsidized – it has been proven otherwise in court.

Hardwood, Softwood and BC Trees:


Let us first take a look at Forestry and TPP. According to Joel Neuheimer Canadians did press into it, and for what appears to be clear reasoning and benefit to Canada:

The reason, as noted by Joel Neuheimer, Senior Director of International Business at the Association of Canadian forest products , is that with this ratification, the industry will be opening new outlets and increase the level of exports on the international market, particularly to countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Canadian forestry companies export about $33 billion worth of goods each year In more than 180 countries, primarily in Asia.

NOTE*** NOT primarily in the U.S. as many believe.

The TPP Agreement would have removed customs barriers for Canada’s forest products currently subject to tariffs of up to 31% in Vietnam, 40% in Malaysia, 20% in Brunei and 10% in Japan as reported by Etienne Dumont / Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

NAFTA Renegotiations


Second, let’s review the NAFTA Re-negotiations and their impact on softwood lumber.

Trevor Nichols, of Castanet News says – There is hope for softwood lumber!

According to Mr. Nichols, B.C. Premier Christy Clark, while speaking at a breakfast event in West Kelowna on January 27, said Trump’s promise to rebuild the American economy might work in Canada’s favour.


“While the Americans are getting more protectionist, Donald Trump, as a builder, knows intuitively that residential housing starts is a major driver for economic growth for Americans. They cannot grow their housing industry without Canadian softwood going into their country, because it’s just too expensive to build and buy without our lumber.

Because the U.S. can’t produce enough lumber on its own to drive residential building, it’s actually in the country’s best interest to make sure Canadian lumber is filling the void.”

Nick Arkle, the co-CEO of Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. agrees with Clark, saying Canadian lumber is “critically important” to the U.S.

Additionally, B.C. Forest Minister Steve Thomson shares his thoughts here:

“Since 1982, softwood lumber exports from Canada to the U.S. have been subject to five rounds of U.S. trade litigation. “This is round 5 of this process and the Canadian industry has always been successful in defending its softwood lumber policy,” said Thomson.”

Local update February 05, 2017 | B.C. Forest Minister Steve Thomson flew to Ottawa on Sunday to start working toward a new trade agreement on softwood lumber with the U.S. as officials anticipated release today of the latest U.S. International Trade Commission report on their investigation into the import of Canadian softwood lumber.

You can read this full article in more detail | HERE

For access to a copy of the Fed Register notice issued which means that preliminary reviews are starting for the softwood tariffs listed, you can review what is published so far in regards to the Softwood Lumber Agreement negotiations  HERE  a full scope has not been written as yet.

We know that you also want to know how to have your voices heard in that discussion, especially when you are directly affected.

You have questions:

  • How are the field experts responding to the Trade Deals / Negotiations/ Issues?
  • What are the experts discussing amongst their peers??
  • How is your voice heard in these conversations?

One way to share your voice is to publish your concerns, insights, ideas or expertise online. Each week we publish and share industry news, our insights and reports that impact you as our readers. Do you have something that you would like us to share? Ask? Research for you? Let us know and we will add your requests to our weekly research and publishing goals.


TRADE PERSPECTIVES | The Conversation – NAFTA Re-Negotiations


How to stay informed and get involved in the NAFTA conversation.


Sometimes we come across the most interesting people when we are researching the “State of Affairs” through the lens of North American Businesses. This week researching NAFTA we learned about Rosemary Coates. She has  an interesting perspective because of her  real world, hands on experience that she brings into her writing. Her article below, focused on the Mexico and U.S. cross-border challenges, and she has a point of view we hear being shared broadly. Let us introduce you and please let us know if you share her views or have another you believe we need to share as well!.

Coates is an expert in Supply Chain Dispute Resolution and she is the best-selling author of: 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China and Legal Blacksmith – How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes. Ms. Coates lives in Silicon Valley and has worked with over 80 clients worldwide. She is also an Expert Witness for legal cases involving global supply chain matters. She is a globally savvy leader that understands not only supply chain, she understands history.


She writes this in her most recent article for Supply Chain Management Review ( :


“There are economists who say NAFTA has already caused the loss of so many jobs to the lower-cost environments in Mexico. They argue that instead of doing nothing, we should take every opportunity to raise tariffs, eliminate NAFTA and close our borders to immigrants and trade.

But we have gone down this pathway before with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which raised tariffs on about 900 products. Historians blame Smoot-Hawley for triggering the Great Depression of the 1930s.

For sure, NAFTA has its problems. The import/export paperwork to keep track of goods moving across the borders can be onerous. And the special rules for truckers from Mexico have taken a toll on American truckers. But overall, most economists think NAFTA has had a net positive effect on the US economy.

I hope we have learned our lesson from American history”


Rosemary shared these sentiments eloquently. We expect that we will not see too much hardship occur between Canada and the U.S. border trade under the new negotiations. We have not thus far, and we see reasons to stay focused on business as usual.

When topics as broad as free trade re-negotiations, tariff amendments, any type of international border barriers to business are being discussed many of us want to be the fly on the wall that hears the discussion. We try to be that fly on the wall for you, our valued readers.

We know that you also want to know how to have your voices heard in that discussion, especially when you are directly affected.  

You have questions:

  • How are the field experts responding to the NAFTA renegotiations?
  • What are the experts discussing amongst their peers??
  • How is your voice heard in these conversations?

One way to share your voice is to publish your concerns, insights, ideas or expertise online. Each week we publish and share industry news, our insights and reports that impact you as our readers. Do you have something that you would like us to share? Ask? Research for you? Let us know and we will add your requests to our weekly research and publishing goals.


Trade Talk | NAFTA Criticism affects this week and beyond…

Trade – The State of Affairs for NAFTA based cross border trading.

The NAFTA criticism has us all seeing news stories and hearing broadcasts that salaciously present and debate todays state of affairs for people or products crossing U.S. Borders.  NAFTA criticism combined with other Executive Orders affecting individuals crossing North American borders launched us into a noisy world. What as a business should you do, or do you focus on?

From our offices across the nation we can see carriers crossing the border without issues. In speaking with the Canadian Trucking Alliance this morning there are no reports of challenges with either carriers or cartage crossing the border between U.S. and Canada outside any norms expected. On all fronts that we have reached out to on the ground – all appears to be business as usual.

So what do you do? Carry on your business! Continue to press forward with what you do best and access your trade advisor when you come into anything that raises concerns about executing your business transactions across borders.

As for where to Focus – one place is on our weekly updates for you here, another is on opportunities perhaps not yet explored. For example, did you know that Canada has 12 Free Trade Agreements outside of NAFTA? Is it time to explore expansion opportunities or Alternative Trade Routes?

What we know for sure:

We shared this in last week’s post however it may serve well to share again one more time to remind everyone that life and business are carrying on because these things we know for sure and hope that you, our readers, feel confident about also:

  1. Products will continue to go to the U.S. from Canada and products will continue to go to Canada from the U.S.
  2. Duties, taxes and fees will still need to be managed, filed and paid.
  3. Businesses will continue to do business across our borders.
  4. Where there is a need, there will be a trade.

What we are talking about:

Nafta CriticismTalk around here is pretty quiet this week, we spoke with Mike, one of our trade compliance experts upstairs and he shared that he hasn’t had a single customer reach out to compliance with any concern about what is happening with NAFTA or in the US lately. From his vantage point it’s business as usual. So this is good news.

Status Quo carries on and your business should too – as usual and beyond! For now, it is still unclear if this will all add up to something or sit quietly at the nothing it is in practice today.


What we think:

Might we suggest, carrying on with your business and perhaps viewing this time as an opportunity to proactively explore new markets within some of the 12 other Free Trade Agreements Canada
has, or the 20 other Free Trade Agreements the U.S.A. have. New business after all is just beyond the horizon and well within reach of small and enterprise business in both countries.

Have a chat with one of our Trade Compliance Advisors and let’s see where you can grow to:  Trade Consulting

What we advise:

Focus some time with your broker this week to be sure your company rulings are up to date with the new HS Tariff amendments that came into effect in January this year.

If you are a client of Pacific Customs Brokers we have already updated any rulings prior to the amendment taking effect however it’s good to check in with your broker because ultimately as the vendor responsibility rests with you.

What we are Reading:

What we are reading about NAFTA this week is that not too much is being impacted to any great degree.  At least not yet.

Here are a couple of reads that were particularly interesting this week.

From Wall Street Journal (WSJ):

Nafta’s Net U.S. Impact Is Modest

Nafta’s Net U.S. Impact Is Modest. For all of the debate sparked by the North American Free Trade Agreement, most economists say its concrete impact on the U.S. economy has been modest—a small gain in growth and efficiency, and a small loss in jobs and lower wages for certain factory workers.
But as with most free-trade agreements, the gains over 23 years have been diffuse and the pains more concentrated, helping stoke the intense political backlash that powered : thumbnail courtesy of

From LA Times:

NAFTA doesn’t count for much economically, but it’s still a huge political football. Here’s why:


Kevin Drum at Mother Jones tried Sunday to mediate a debate over NAFTA between economists Brad DeLong of UC Berkeley and Dani Rodrik of the Harvard Kennedy School. He takes DeLong’s point that the overall economic impact of NAFTA has been minuscule as a share of gross domestic product. “NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. — whether good or bad — is inevitably tiny,” Drum concludes, and he’s right.

President Trump threw trade experts for another loop Thursday by endorsing — or seeming to endorse — a new tax system for imports and exports that he said would “reduce our trade deficits (and) increase American exports.” Not so incidentally, he also said it “will generate revenue from Mexico that…

That’s important, because Trump’s approach to trade is all about those limited impacts. Those impacts are far beyond his ability to fix, even if he really wanted to, which is questionable.


From our Friends at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Renegotiated NAFTA Likely to Require Congressional Approval, CRS Says


President Trump would likely have to secure congressional approval for any substantive changes to U.S. law that would be required to implement a renegotiated NAFTA, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report.

CRS states that the negotiation of international agreements is generally considered to be the exclusive prerogative of the executive branch, which consequently does not appear to need approval from Congress to discuss changes to NAFTA with representatives of Canada and Mexico. There has been speculation that a future renegotiation of this agreement might cover issues such as tariff rates on goods trade, rules of origin, elimination of investor-state dispute settlement provisions, modifications to the general dispute settlement system, immigration and border security, and cooperation on migration from Central America, drug trafficking, and the illegal flow of arms and money.

Instead, attention will likely focus on whether any revised agreement resulting from such negotiations must be approved by Congress before it may take effect.



Our initial offering in this series: have a read 

Trade Talk | This week in NAFTA

Trade Talk | This week in NAFTA

Trade – Trump and the State of Affairs for NAFTA

Trade and NAFTA

What we know for sure:


  1. Products will continue to go to the U.S. from Canada and products will continue to go to Canada from the U.S.
  2. Duties, taxes and fees will still need to be managed, filed and paid.
  3. Businesses will continue to do business across our borders.
  4. Where there is a need, there will be a trade.


As a result of the new U.S. administration’s position on trade and the imposed renegotiation of NAFTA, many questions have been raised surrounding the future exchange between our nations.

At this point we, like you, are waiting for definitive information. There are expert opinions, historical references and case studies of all possible outcomes floating around and people are both unclear and concerned. Each week Pacific Customs Brokers will continue to focus on providing clarity to you through this series.

Our research team will be sifting through all available resources and presenting those most relevant to you, our readers.

We hope these tools will allow our clients to plan for the future, adapt to impending changes quickly and quell fears.  


What we are talking about:


Many people who contact us either through our website, social media or our 24/7 phone lines are, in many cases, trying to understand exactly what NAFTA is, what does renegotiating NAFTA mean, or how to prepare a business to best continue trade between Canada and the U.S. should this happen.


NAFTA being a primary subject we want to refer you to a video we presented earlier that should assist with clarification on what NAFTA is, means, who it might relate to and what it entails.


“Below is an introduction to the North American Free Trade Agreement also known as NAFTA, complete with the history, inception and what it entails. If you are unfamiliar with this Free Trade Agreement, it is our recommendation that your education begins here. “

Of course, we are also talking about our first series of Webinars starting Feb 1st as well!

NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 and 2 : LINK

What we think:


We are feeling encouraged with this news out earlier today, it is well worth a share with our readers:

“Trudeau’s cabinet is meeting in Calgary with Trump atop the agenda. The lawmakers hosted Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive officer at Blackstone Group LP and head of the president’s strategic and policy forum, on Monday to decode Trump’s trade agenda as he bowed out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and took another step toward reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Schwarzman flew in for the briefing before returning to New York, and emerged singing Canada’s praises and urging Trudeau not to panic. “I don’t think he should be enormously worried because Canada is held in very high regard,” he said, adding Canada has a “special status” that could exempt it from new border taxes.

Canadian executives and policy makers have been on tenterhooks awaiting details of Trump’s trade plan, which could include revamping NAFTA, imposing new border tariffs or making tax changes in the U.S. that would put exporters in the northern country at a disadvantage. Total trade between the two countries was $541 billion in 2015.”

Our good friend Daniel Kiselbach from Deloitte Tax Law has written an excellent paper outlining the potential issues, challenges and options for his clients much of which would apply for our clients and readers alike, so we have made it available for you on our blog.

You can download a copy or review it here: Canadian Customs Global Trade Alert – Deloitte


What we advise:


Stay tuned for our updates here in your inbox. As things become clear or shift we will keep you informed and advise best practices moving forward. If you would like to talk to an expert for a consult – call our 24/7 reception team and they will connect you any time day or night.

Keep in mind the points we shared above as these are truths regardless of NAFTA news in the current headlines:

  1. Products will continue to go to the U.S. from Canada and products will continue to go to Canada from the U.S.
  2. Duties, taxes and fees will still need to be managed, filed and paid.
  3. Businesses will continue to do business across our borders.
  4. Where there is a need, there will be a trade.


What we are reading:


After 23 years in use, the NAFTA between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will be revisited.



Canada may breathe a sigh of relief during NAFTA negotiations as indicated by Stephen Schwarzman, senior business adviser to President Trump, says “I think trade between the U.S. and Canada is really very much in balance and is a model for the way that trade relations should be. … So I think Canada is very well-positioned for any discussions with the United States.”



Gary Clyde Hufbauer of Peterson Institute for International Economic published an excellent table summarising the power a U.S. President has over foreign commerce. If you are wondering if President Trump can ‘rip up NAFTA’ this table will provide clarity.



The Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal officially lost the U.S. as a partner when President Trump signed an Executive Order withdrawing from the agreement on Friday. Although some might find this discouraging, Canada has been offered hope from our neighbours in the South with a meeting with Trudeau planned to discuss continuing bilateral change, albeit with changes.



Pin this link to your desktop and check it often… the Globe and Mail’s guide to “What’s happening to NAFTA?”