March 2012

On March 29, 2012, Canada’s Minister of Finance tabled the 2012 Budget and 2012 Economic Action Plan and announced increases in the traveller exemption limits for returning Canadians and residents of Canada.  The following statement is on page 108 of the 2012 Economic Action Plan:

Increasing Travellers’ Exemptions

Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to

On March 29, 2012, Canada’s Minister of Finance delivered the federal budget.  On page 108 of the 2012 Economic Action Plan, the following announcement is made:

Streamlining Canada’s Trade Remedy System

Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to consolidate Canada’s trade remedy investigation functions into one organization, under the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

Canada’s continued support for trade liberalization is complemented by a strong and effective trade remedy system, which acts as an important safety valve for Canadian manufacturers harmed by unfairly traded imports. Canada’s trade remedy system is currently jointly administered by the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).

In Budget 2011, the Government committed to proposing initiatives to ensure Canada operates an efficient trade remedy system. To deliver on this commitment, the Government will introduce legislation to consolidate Canada’s trade remedy investigation functions into one organization, under the CITT. This restructuring will create efficiencies that will help the Government maintain and sustain an effective trade remedy system. This initiative will also cut red tape, making it less cumbersome for Canadian businesses to take action against unfair trade, and will result in cost savings.

This short announcement in a 498 page document is sending shock waves in the trade remedies bar.  To make this happen, a major revision of the Special Import Measure Act (“SIMA”) and Special Import Measures Regulations will be required.


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On March 17, 2009, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) made an injury finding in respect of certain aluminum extrusions originating in or exported from China (NQ-2008-003) and issued an order to collect antidumping and countervailing duties.  On April 1, 2009, the CITT issued its reasons for its decision.

Since March 17, 2009, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) has been tasked with enforcing the CITT’s order and has been very busy.  Many importers who import a variety of goods from parts of outdoor railings to door frames to window frames to aluminum parts have been under the watchful eye of the CBSA.  The CBSA have followed up on imports of all things aluminum and have issued many detailed adjustment statements (also known as “assessments”) imposing unpaid SIMA duties, GST and interest.  The antidumping duties are currently 101% and the countervailing duties are calculated based on 15.84 RMB/kg. This adds up to a lot of money.


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Many Canadians who live in border cities (such as Windsor, Niagara Falls) are more likely to have a NEXUS pass.  Many Canadians who live in border cities work in the United States and travel back and forth across the border on a daily basis.  Given that individuals are human and humans make mistakes, the Canadians who travel more frequently are more likely (merely due to frequency of cross border travel) to be randomly selected for a secondary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”). Canadians who live in border cities and have NEXUS privileges are at risk of having their NEXUS pass confiscated if they forget to declare U.S. goods in their vehicle (whether it is a gift or a purchase).

I have received more calls recently from individuals living in border cities who have had a NEXUS pass confiscated for a failure to declare goods within their $50 daily exemption limit.  The Windsor-Detroit tunnel/Ambassador Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge border crossings are common ports of entry for the application of a zero-tolerance policy.  Any little mistake is treated as an infraction.  This is why I declare a half eaten chocolate bar.

The CBSA have indicated they have a zero tolerance policy and may confiscate a NEXUS pass for even the most minor failure to declare goods.  I have seen that the CBSA has confiscated a NEXUS pass for as little as a failure to declare the purchase of $13.00 worth of goods.  This person works in the United States and after a long day with a mind full of other things had a momentary memory lapse that he/she picked up an inexpensive item that day.


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The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) may detain any goods that are being exported from Canada if the CBSA is concerned that the goods are being exported contrary to Canada’s export controls and economic sanctions laws.  This happens with increasing frequency these days. A number of clients have received notifications from the CBSA that their exports have been detained.

The process usually starts with a notification by the freight forwarded/shipper to the export that the container has been stopped and held for Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) inspection by the CBSA.  This inspection has an associated fee.  The CBSA undertakes a scan and if the good looks like it may be a controlled good the shipment is stopped.

The CBSA detains a shipment and then asks the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), Export Controls Division if they have issued an export permit for the goods.  If there isn’t an export permit, the Export Controls Division contacts the exporter so that they may determine if an export permit is necessary (that is, whether the goods are contained on Canada’s Export Controls List).  Usually, the exporter receives an email with the following request from an officer in the Export Controls Division:
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On March 5, 2012, Canada imposed further economic sanctions and trade restrictions against Syria and closed the doors of Canada’s Embassy in Damascus.  Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs announced new Regulations Amending the Special Economic Measures (Syria) Regulations to stop almost all financial transactions.  The new rule is Rule 11 below and exemptions relating to Rule 11.

Recap

On May 24, 2011, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada was imposing targeted economic sanctions and trade restrictions under the Special Economic Measures Act (Canada) against designated persons in the Syrian regime.  On August 18, 2011, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs added more designated persons to the list covered by the targeted sanctions.  On October 4, 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs added sanctions targeting the petroleum industry and new investments in the oil industry.  On December 23, 2011, the Minister of Foreign Affairs expanded its targeted sanctions by prohibiting all imports from Syria, except for food for human consumption, as well as all new investment in Syria and the export to Syria of telecommunications monitoring equipment.  On January 25, 2012, the Minister of Foreign Affairs expanded the list of designated persons.


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