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

Category Archives: Customs Law

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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… 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 on 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

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 and… 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

Canadian Customs Audit Targets – CBSA Releases H2 2016 Verification Priorities

Posted in Customs Law, origin, tariff classification, valuation

On July 7, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) released “Tariff Compliance Verifications – July 2016”.  What are “Tariff Compliance Verifications”? Tariff compliance verifications are CBSA customs audits during which the CBSA ensures that importers are using the proper tariff classification (HS Code) numbers when completing import documentation. The Tariff Compliance Verifications – July… Continue Reading

What Is The Difference Between A Red/Green Olive And A Black Olive?

Posted in Agriculture, Customs Law, tariff classification

The answer to this question is found in the recent Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“Tribunal”) tariff classification appeal case of Délices de la Forêt Inc. v. President of the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”), AP-2015-018. The issue is this case was whether green and red olives in brine in a glass jar were properly classified… Continue Reading

Appeal Process for Truckers/Carriers When The CBSA Issues ACI eManifest AMPs

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

Truckers (highway commercial carriers) can appeal the imposition on administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) imposed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for failure to meet advance commercial information (ACI) reporting requirements.  The appeals are filed with the CBSA, Recourse Directorate.  We spoke to a source at the Recourse Direcotrate this week who informed us that… Continue Reading

Why Should Importers Ask The CBSA If Goods Are Subject To Anti-dumping Duties?

Posted in Antidumping, origin, tariff classification

Is it better to seek permission or ask for forgiveness after the fact?  When it comes to imports of goods into Canada that may be subject to anti-dumping duties, it is better to seek an advance ruling from the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”).  If you import goods and the CBSA believes that the goods… Continue Reading

A Hot Story: CBSA Seizes Drugs in Boxes of Hot Peppers

Posted in Border Security, Customs Law

On June 23, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) intercepted two boxes of hot peppers attempting to conceal 17 bricks of suspected cocaine (approximately 20 kilograms).  The shipment was off-loaded air cargo from a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Toronto Pearson International Airport.  The CBSA issued a Press Release on July 7,… Continue Reading

How To Apply For An Advance Customs Ruling in Canada

Posted in Cross-border deals, Cross-border trade, Customs Law, tariff classification

Many importers in Canada want to minimize the risk of an assessment of customs duties for getting a tariff classification incorrect. If an importer or exporter or foreign producer of goods cannot figure out how the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) would classify a good for customs duty tariff classification purposes, sometimes the best thing… Continue Reading

Do Your Employees Know Enough To Complete A Certificate Of Origin Properly?

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

Let’s face the truth, the legal department does not sign off on certificates of origin.  In most companies exporting their goods, it is the sales department or the logistics department that prepares and signs the certificates of origin.  In many companies, the certificate of origin is just a piece of paper that has to be… Continue Reading

Twelve Action Items Coming Out Of The Three Amigos June 29, 2016 NAFTA Meeting

Posted in Antidumping, Border Security, Canada's Federal Government, Cross-border deals, Cross-border trade, Customs Law, Exports, Immigration law, Imports Restrictions, NAFTA, NEXUS, Politics, Softwood Lumber, Trade Agreeements, Transportation, U.S. Federal Government

On June 29, 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Obama and Mexican President Peña Nieto met in Ottawa, Canada for the North American Leaders’ Summit.  Many press releases were issued – but most of the outside press related to the North American Climate, Clean Energy and Environment Partnership.  The Action Plan is yet… Continue Reading

Canada has Implemented the WTO Information Technology Agreement and Eliminated Customs Duties on 201 Tech Products

Posted in Customs Law, World Trade Organization

On July 4, 2016, Canada’s Trade Minister Freeland announced that Canada implemented the World Trade Organization (WTO) expanded Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Pursuant to the expanded ITA, signatories agreed to eliminate tariffs on 201 information and communication technology (ICT) and related products. As of July 1, 2016, Canada permanently eliminated customs tariffs on many of… Continue Reading

What is an Ascertained Forfeiture by the Canada Border Services Agency?

Posted in Customs Law

An ascertained forfeiture is a monetary penalty levied by the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) when a CBSA officer believes on reasonable grounds that a person has imported goods into Canada illegally (or without reporting the goods). An ascertained forfeiture occurs when the goods cannot actually be seized (because the good cannot be located or… Continue Reading