Canada-U.S. Blog Trade Lawyers Cyndee Todgham Cherniak and Susan K. Ross

Category Archives: Customs Law

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How To File A Complaint Against The Canada Border Services Agency

Posted in Canada's Federal Government, Customs Law, Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Exports, Immigration law, Imports Restrictions, NEXUS

In writing this blog post, we are not advocating filing baseless, frivolous, vexatious and retaliatory complaints against Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) officers. However, we have learned from the experience of our clients that some legitimate complaints arise from time-to-time.  It is in the spirit of transparency and openness that we have decided to write… Continue Reading

What Is A “Customs Controlled Area”?

Posted in Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Corporate Counsel, Cross-border trade, Currency Reporting, Customs Law, Exports, Immigration law, Imports Restrictions, NEXUS, origin, Personal Comments, Proceeds of Crime/Money Laundering, tariff classification, valuation

On April 27, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) released Guide BS5156 “What you need to know about Customs Controlled Areas”. In this one page document, the CBSA informs the public that a “customs controlled area” is: “A designated area where there is a likelihood that domestic employees or domestic origin travellers leaving Canada will come… Continue Reading

Canada Border Services Agency Revised Code of Conduct Is Published Online

Posted in Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Cross-border trade, Currency Reporting, Customs Law, Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Exports, Immigration law, Imports Restrictions, NEXUS, Personal Comments, Politics, Proceeds of Crime/Money Laundering

On August 16, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) posted its revised Code of Conduct, to which all CBSA officers must adhere. The three “values” pillars of the CBSA Code of Conduct are (1) Respect, (2) Integrity and (3) Professionalism. Respect The CBSA makes the following statements in the Code of Conduct regarding “Respect”: Respect… Continue Reading

What Should Canadian Businesses Know About Canadian Goods Returned For Warranty Repairs?

Posted in Cross-border trade, Customs Law, origin, tariff classification, valuation

One area of confusion for many small and medium Canadian businesses is the customs treatment of goods manufactured in Canada that are sold outside Canada (and exported), but have to be returned temporarily for warranty repairs. The goods manufactured in Canada may be entirely Canadian input content or may be made partly with foreign inputs. … Continue Reading

What Can I Do If My NEXUS Card Is Confiscated By The CBSA?

Posted in Border Security, Customs Law, Immigration law, NEXUS

  The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) may confiscate, revoke or cancel a NEXUS Membership for a number of reasons, such as (1) a breach of a customs law (e.g., undervaluation or not declaring goods purchased or acquired outside Canada), (2) a breach of an immigration law (e.g., working in Canada without a proper visa),… Continue Reading

What Should I Do If The CBSA Seizes My Currency or Monetary Instruments?

Posted in Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Currency Reporting, Customs Law, Exports, Imports Restrictions

On September 9, 2016, the Globe and Mail published an article entitled “Seizures of undeclared cash spike at Vancouver International Airport“, which reports that the CBSA “confiscated more than $13-million in hidden currency from 792 Chinese people passing through Vancouver International Airport”.  The CBSA seizes undeclared currency and monetary instruments at all of Canada’s airports… Continue Reading

Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods From Canada

Posted in Customs Law, Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Exports

On August 19, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) posted on its web-site a “Checklist for Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada”.  On January 25, 2016 (updated August 19, 2016), the CBSA also published a “Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting Commercial Goods from Canada“. The first thing is that exporters must know is what the CBSA… Continue Reading

Labour Day Long Week-End: Survival Guide For Canada-US Cross Border Travel

Posted in Border Security, Customs Law, NEXUS, valuation

The Labour Day long week-end is upon us.  Canadians travel outside Canada to visit friends and family and to shop.  The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) is on the lookout for contraventions of the Customs Act and other border laws. Here is our survival guide to make sure the CBSA is happy with your declaration… Continue Reading

Free Trade Does Not Mean A Free Pass

Posted in Customs Law, origin

Canada has entered into free trade agreements (and has active free trade agreements) with a number of countries, including the United States, Mexico, Israel, Chile, Jordan, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Lichtenstein, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica and South Korea.  Under these free trade agreements, the duties on certain goods have reduced to 0%.  Importers claim… Continue Reading

What Some People Have In Their Cars When They Cross The Canada-US Border?????

Posted in Border Security, Customs Law

On August 26, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) issued a News Release entitled “Rocket launcher and grenades seized in Southern Ontario Region“.  Apparently, in July, two men from Louisiana attempted to cross at the Peace Bridge with an undeclared disposable rocket launcher tube and two undeclared grenades. Eventually, the devices were deemed to be… Continue Reading

ACE Allows For Stricter Customs Enforcement

Posted in Aerospace & Defence, Agriculture, Antidumping, Border Security, Controlled Goods Program, Corporate Counsel, Criminal Law, Cross-border deals, Cross-border trade, Customs Law, Export Controls & Economic Sanctions, Exports, Legal Developments, Trade Agreeements, Trade Remedies

Originally Published by the Journal of Commerce in August 2016 In the face of its recent reorganization and enhanced computer system, it was really only a matter of time before the trade community started to see Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) better organize its enforcement efforts, and now the first tangible step has been publicly… Continue Reading

Canadian Athletes Do Not Have To Pay Customs Duties And Border GST On Their Medals

Posted in Customs Law, GST/HST

Canadian Olympians returning home from the Rio Olympics (or any athletic competition for that matter) do not have to pay customs duties and goods and services tax (“GST”) on their medals.  No customs duties are payable under Harmonized System (H.S.) Code 98.17, which covers “medals, trophies and other articles (not including usual merchantable products nor… Continue Reading

Undervaluation of Goods Can Lead to Criminal Charges And Conviction In Canada

Posted in AMPs, Criminal Law, Cross-border deals, Cross-border trade, Customs Law, Legal Developments, origin, tariff classification, valuation

On August 5, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) posted on the CBSA web-site a News Release entitled “Dartmouth store owner charged for falsifying documents and undervaluing shipments”. This News Release should cause Canadian business owners who import goods and/or general counsel of companies that import goods to ask important questions: “Is my import… Continue Reading

Canada’s Tariff Treatments (as at August 1, 2016)

Posted in Cross-border trade, Customs Law

Canada does not have a single customs duty or tariff rate for all imports. Over the years, Canada has entered into a number of preferential trading arrangements (e.g., NAFTA) and international agreements (e.g., WTO) that set preferential tariff rates. The following table sets out Canada’s tariff rate categories under the Customs Tariff (Canada) and the… Continue Reading

Can The CBSA Ask For Your Passwords?

Posted in Cross-border trade, Customs Law, Legal Developments, NEXUS

The answer is, “Yes”, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) can ask for your passwords.  Not only can the CBSA ask for your passwords, the CBSA does ask for passwords.  Not only does the CBSA ask for passwords, the CBSA will unlock your cell phones, mobile phones, smart phones, computers, etc and look at/review your… Continue Reading

Death and Customs Duties: The CBSA Issues D-Memo of Bequested Goods

Posted in Customs Law, tariff classification

On November 18, 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency issued D-Memorandum D-2-1-5 “Bequests – Tariff Item No. 9806.00.00”.   In this D-Memorandum, the CBSA sets out the rules applicable when using Customs Tariff Code 9806.00.00 to import goods that have been bequested or are a gift in anticipation of death on a duty-free basis.  Generally speaking,… Continue Reading

What is a No-Names Customs Voluntary Disclosure?

Posted in Cross-border trade, Customs Law, origin, tariff classification, valuation

The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) permits importers to make a “no-names” disclosure in order to request advice from the CBSA as to the possibility of a successful voluntary disclosure (like a prior disclosure in the USA). In the case of a no-names voluntary disclosure, the CBSA does not require the importer’s representative to give… Continue Reading

Canada’s Partners in Protection Program

Posted in Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Cross-border trade, Customs Law

Canada’s Partner’s in Protection (“PIP”) Program is a cooperative trusted traveller program between the Government of Canada (in particular, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”)) and private businesses engaged in importing and exporting activities (and suppliers thereto).  The purpose of the PIP program is cross-border trade chain security and trade facilitation of legitimate cargo by… Continue Reading

Let’s Shed Some Lights On The Subject: The CBSA Is Targetting Lamps

Posted in Customs Law, tariff classification

On July 11, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) announced their audit priorities for the second half of 2016.  One of the priorities for tariff classification verifications is “parts of lamps”.  Parts of lamps were first announced as a verification priority in 2015.  The CBSA takes the position that parts of lamps are classified… Continue Reading

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being A Non-Resident Importer Into Canada?

Posted in Cross-border trade, Customs Law, GST/HST, Imports Restrictions, Intellectual Property, origin, Sales Taxes, tariff classification, valuation

The Internet enables foreign companies to market and sell to Canadian consumers without setting up in Canada.  A common question of foreign sellers with opportunities to sell to Canadians is “Should I sell into Canada as a non-resident importer?” Before answering this question, we must go back to the basics. What is an importer?  The… Continue Reading

Canada’s NEXUS Program 101

Posted in Border Security, Customs Law, NEXUS

NEXUS is a cooperative program developed by the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) and the United States Customs of Border Protection (“USCBP”) to allow low risk pre-approved individual travellers expedited processing at the Canada-US border.  NEXUS is a regulatory program that is discretionary in nature.  If an individual is approved for NEXUS, he/she is issued… Continue Reading

Civic Holiday Long Weekend: Survival Guide For Cross Border Travel

Posted in Border Security, Cross-border deals, Cross-border trade, Customs Law, NEXUS, valuation

The Civic Holiday long week-end is upon us.  Canadians travel outside Canada to visit friends and family and to shop.  The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) is on the lookout for contraventions of the Customs Act and other border laws. Here is our survival guide to make sure the CBSA is happy with your declaration… Continue Reading

How to Avoid Problems at the Canada/US Border When You Return with Goods You Left With

Posted in Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Customs Law, NEXUS

Many clients call me to inform me of a “disagreement” with a Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) officer relating to goods from Canada that they took with them on a trip.  Often the problem relates to an expensive ladies purse or a piece of jewelry (sometimes a men’s watch). On November 13, 2015, the CBSA… Continue Reading

Alcohol And Tobacco: Two Things That Cause CBSA Officers To Not Apply Common Sense

Posted in Customs Law, NEXUS

I receive many calls from clients who have disputes with the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) at the Canadian border.  Some of the most amazing stories relate to seizures of alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) and tobacco (usually cigarettes).  In most of the cases, I wonder aloud why the CBSA Officer could not use common sense… Continue Reading