Carson International is pleased to partner with Miller Thomson LLP for a webinar series addressing Canada/U.S. cross-border trade developments and updates.
Trade has always been an integral part of the Canada / United States relationship and even during times of crisis, like today, business depends on goods moving as seamlessly as possible between our countries.
Our expert panel will explore with you the following topics: duty payment deferrals; tax deferrals; new CUSMA / USMCA / T-MEC rules of origin; tariff rate quotas, advance rulings; e-commerce; customs enforcement; potential US tariffs, potential Canadian countermeasures, “Buy America” provisions, trade sanctions; and anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
Dave Pentland, Carson International Dan Kiselbach, Miller Thomson LLP
Personal Protective Equipment: What Importers Need To Know Thursday, July 23, 2020 11:00am PST
The Canada-US-Mexico Agreement: What’s New in the “New NAFTA” Thursday, August 6, 2020 11:00am PST
Non-Resident Importers: Tips and Traps Thursday, August 20, 2020 11:00am PST
Risk Minimization Strategies: Advance Rulings Thursday, September 3, 2020 11:00am PST Please note, this webinar will also include a brief overview of aluminum tariffs.
Each webinar will be approximately 30 minutes in length.
To help facilitate trade between countries, international trade agreements have been put in place to maintain efficient operations, comply with each nation’s standards, and avoid certain non-tariff and tariff barriers, among other benefits.
What Are the Different Types of International Trade Agreements?
There are two central types of international trade agreements: bilateral and multilateral. Agreements could pertain to certain types of goods and services or specific market entry barrier types.
Bilateral International Trade Agreements
Bilateral agreements facilitate trade between two countries. Some bilateral agreements include Canada-Israel., U.S.-Mexico, and E.U.-South Africa, among others.
Multilateral International Trade Agreements
Also known as regional agreements, multilateral agreements form certain international trade unions, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). For example, multiple treaties including the Treaty of Rome help regulate the European Union, while the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs shapes the WTO.
How Do They Affect Trade?
Having international trade agreements in place can benefit international imports and exports in several ways, including:
• Better access to a larger customer base
• Optimized supply chain operations through dealing with foreign suppliers via the agreement
• Reduced cost of penetrating foreign markets because of more efficient and simplified customs processes, duties, and regulatory compliance
• More efficient production through partially or completely relocated operations
• Easier access to foreign financial institutions and investors along with foreign workforces and customers
Examples of International Trade Agreements
Ever since the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was implemented, the world has seen an increase in multilateral trade agreements along with local trade agreements.
One important trade agreement that helped pave the way for multilateral regionalism was the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement, which gave rise to the International Trade Organization (ITO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. The Bretton Woods Agreement began when both the U.S. and Britain came out of World War II as the world’s foremost economic leaders, which led them to develop a more liberated and cooperative trade system.
The GATT came along in 1947 as the ITO dissolved following the Bretton Woods Agreement. The GATT would help reduce tariffs for member nations, allowing for expanding multilateral trade, but a growing number of regional trade agreements also came out of it. Part of what would develop from the GATT just five years after its implementation would be the European Union.
Another key trade agreement to come about in the early 1990s would be the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which formed in the U.S. between Mexico and Canada. By 1995, the GATT would be replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which would work to develop and implement policies on far more than goods, covering services, investment, and intellectual property.
Another major recent development is the development and implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which is set to replace NAFTA. The USMCA will boost auto manufacturing, strengthen labor laws, provide more market access for dairy farmers, upgrade NAFTA to accommodate the technology sector, and more.
Understanding the ins and outs of international trade, particularly the impacts of international trade agreements, will help you stay up to date with trade law and keep your operations running as smoothly as possible. If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with trade laws or navigate the different agreements–let us do it for you. The knowledgeable trade experts at Carson International can provide reliable assistance on all things trade, from start to finish.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread in North America, it’s had a certain impact on customs and trade. The following is a timeline of all of the major announcements and updates that we’ve been tracking at Carson International.
April 8 – WTO and WCO Combine to Maintain Efficient Cross-Border Trade
Both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) released a joint statement in early April revealing that they would join forces to enable trade for essential goods including food, medical supplies, and energy across the border. They also pledged to work toward ensuring that goods would reach those who need it the most.
April 15 – CBP Launches a New Website Dedicated to COVID-19
U.S. Customs and Border Protection developed and launched a website dedicated specifically to COVID-19-related updates and other information about how the pandemic would affect trade. Some of the information available on the website includes Cargo Systems Messaging Service communications along with Federal Register Notices in addition to regular announcements and updates regarding security and various trade programs.
April 23 – Temporarily Limited Service at Land Border Crossings in Canada
In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CBSA made a temporary reduction to Canadian land border crossing service hours. The service hour reduction affected a total of 27 border locations throughout the country.
April 27 – WCO and ICC Join Forces to Enable Global Trade Action
The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) announced in a joint statement that they would work to facilitate customs and trade on an international level to help maintain operations during the pandemic.
April 30 – UNCTAD Puts Action Plan in Place to Further Maintain International Trade and Transportation
As the pandemic continued to spread, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released an action plan consisting of 10 points to help facilitate international trade and transportation. The policy would help mitigate some of the potential long-term risks that the pandemic posed.
May 5 – USTR Considers Extending China Tariff Exclusions for One Year
The U.S. Trade Trade Representative (USTR) for the Trump administration was deciding whether it would be best to implement a one-year extension for China tariff extensions to provide some relief for U.S. businesses amid the pandemic. The extension would apply to certain products that are excluded from the 25 percent China tariffs put in place for Chinese goods.
May 7 – CBSA Offers Duty Relief for Goods Related to COVID-19
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offered duty relief for some products imported into Canada. The products the duty relief applied to included gloves, face and eye protection, and other supplies used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
May 14 – Fourth Round of China Section 301 List 4A Exclusions
The USTR enabled the fourth round of exclusions from Section 301 List 4A tariffs in place for China-imported goods. Some of the products that the exclusions applied to included COVID-19-related medical products.
If you want to import goods to Canada, there are certain steps you will need to take to maintain compliance and keep the process efficient. The following is a brief guide to help you with imports for commercial goods of various types.
1. Prepare Imports
Before importing, you will need to take some steps to prepare, including:
• Get a Business Number (BN) – Prior to importing, you will need a Business Number from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to open an account.
• Determine which goods to import – You will also need to determine which goods to import, with in-depth descriptions, details about composition, and product samples if possible.
• Decide if you want to work with a customs broker – You have a choice of working with a customs broker or dealing directly with the Canada Border Services Agency, but a customs broker like the experts at Carson International can help ease the process and ensure you avoid costly penalties from Customs.
• Identify the country of origin for your goods
• Make sure the goods you’re importing aren’t prohibited in Canada
• Find out if any permits, regulations, or restrictions apply to your goods
2. Classify Goods
Once you’ve prepared for importing, you will need to determine the appropriate tariff classification number. Canada, along with other countries such as the U.S. and China, uses the Harmonized System (HS) to classify goods. In many cases, you will be able to use the first six digits to identify a specific good across all countries.
3. Figure Out Duties and Taxes
After determining tariff classification, you will need to determine which tariff treatment and rate of duty apply to your goods. The CBSA’s Customs Tariff Schedule will help you determine which treatment matches your goods prior to determining the rate of duty.
Once you’ve figured out the tariff treatment, you will need to find out if goods are subject to the goods and services tax, excise duty, or excise tax. Some items such as medical products, prescription drugs, agricultural and fishing goods, and basic groceries are non-taxable.
You will then need to calculate the value for duty of the goods you wish to import. Typically, the value for duty will be the total amount that you pay a vendor for your goods, which you should be able to support with an invoice or receipt.
You will also need to determine in advance how much taxes and duty you will need to pay based on the value appearing on the invoice. Convert the value into Canadian currency using the current exchange rate. You can contact the Border Information Service for the proper exchange rate.
If this step seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. Navigating tariff classifications and treatments can be quite challenging if you’re not familiar with the industry. That’s why we recommend reaching out to professional customs brokers like us, so we can do all this heavy lifting for you.
4. Ship and Report All Goods
The next step will be to place the order with your vendor and choose a shipping method, whether it’s rail, highway, air, marine, courier, or postal service. You will also need to determine the CBSA office where goods will be released.
You will then report your goods to the CBSA regardless of who’s transporting the goods.
What to Do Before and After Releasing Goods
You can get your goods released via either full accounting and payment of duties or the release of goods before paying for duties. You can prepare the release either on your own or work with a customs broker for assistance.
Once the goods are released, adjust for any errors in the information you provided and maintain all records for at least six years after importation. The CBSA may also verify imports and make any adjustments on their own.
Taking all of these steps and considering the aspects involved can help you keep the importation process smooth. If you’re in need of a knowledgeable customs broker to help guide you through the process, the experts at Carson International can provide reliable assistance from start to finish.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a certain impact on the supply chain across North America. The following is a timeline of recent updates around changes made to the supply chain that we’ve been keeping track of at Carson International. Many of the current changes implemented have attempted to help maximize safety while ensuring that supply chains continue to function as needed.
April 15 – Temporarily Relaxed CFIA Labeling Requirements in Place for Foodservice Products
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread in April, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) decided to suspend certain low-risk CFIA activities that had no effect on the production of safe food in Canada. Changes included increased flexibility for labeling requirements in place for foodservice products that don’t affect food safety, including products used for restaurants, hotels, and institutions.
April 24 – FEMA Modifies Rule Banning Medical Supply Export Products
FEMA announced plans to provide certain exemptions to a rule that temporarily banned the overseas shipment of certain medical supplies. The rule came shortly after President Trump issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act that would halt the export of medical products when in short supply. However, certain types of shipments are exempted from the rule according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
April 27 – The Canadian Government Announces $50 Million to Maintain a Safe Food Supply Chain
In late April, the federal government made an announcement that it would provide farmers and other food production and process employees $50 million to go toward implementing a mandatory 14-day isolation period for all newly arrived foreign workers. The move would help maintain a safe food supply chain, a large portion of which relies on contributions from foreign workers. In addition to foreign workers, individuals exempted from the travel ban would include other foreigners with work and student visas as long as they undergo a 14-day isolation period before entering the population and workforce.
May 1 – Supply Chain Disruptions Cause Challenges for North America
Resilience360, makers of cloud-based software that many businesses use to track and gain insight into business operations, released reports that identified certain challenges that the U.S. and Canada would face in cross-border operations. Due to the differences at the state and federal levels, the pandemic has disrupted the supply chain in several ways. In addition to challenges in the U.S. and Canada, Mexico has also experienced certain inconveniences since closing its factories in late March.
If you would like to receive more updates about changes to the supply chain in North America, we’ll provide more information as it comes. Simply return to Carson International for future announcements or visit our CUSMA page.
Maintaining efficiency across your entire supply chain can help reduce overall expenses and ultimately increase profitability. Considering the rapid developments of today’s supply chain technology like TMS, and the increasing demands of consumers, having a streamlined supply chain and top notch distribution services are crucial for success.
There are certain steps you can take to streamline your supply chain and maintain the efficiency of operations.
Audit Supply Chain Processes and Optimize Accordingly
It’s important for you to have a specific process in place to review your supply chain and identify any weaknesses that you can address. Try to evaluate your supply chain processes as soon as you can, which will enable you to find and resolve any issues that could otherwise hinder efficiency and profitability.
With more optimized processes along the supply chain, you’ll be able to improve lead times and benefit from potentially significant cost reduction. You can also maintain a consistent stock level that will cut down on costs pertaining to handling and warehousing.
Utilize Current Systems
Many outdated in-house supply chain systems may be difficult to use, unnecessarily complex, and inflexible, let alone challenging to retrofit. However, it’s important to extract any invaluable data that still might be crucial to your supply chain after an upgrade.
Using the information gathered from your legacy systems, you can more successfully integrate old systems with new ones utilizing devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other tools. As a result, you’ll be able to experience an easier transition when optimizing your supply chain.
Eliminate Any Duplicate Data
One of the key ways to increase efficiency and further decrease costs is to eliminate manual data entry, including entry of duplicate data across a variety of systems that would otherwise waste resources and time. Keeping multiple sets of the same data in several systems can also increase the risk of inaccuracies, but streamlining with automation will mitigate this risk.
Getting rid of tedious data entry tasks will also help improve employee productivity and enable them to redirect attention to more important matters, including customer interaction.
Consider the Needs of Consumers
When you streamline your supply chain, you’ll also be able to direct your attention to the bigger picture beyond simple order fulfillment, allowing you to focus on and gain a better understanding of what your customers want and need from you. Understanding your customers will be particularly crucial if you provide customized products and services as you can focus on delivering exactly what they’re looking for, leading to increased profits.
In short, improving the efficiency of your supply chain processes will improve customer satisfaction in addition to order fulfillment.
Work with Dependable Professionals
If you want to make sure your business gets what it needs to maximize efficiency and profitability across the entire supply chain, the best solution is to work with professionals who understand what a supply chain requires at every point. Working with an experienced team like the experts at Carson International can supercharge your supply chain and ensure that you benefit from a reliable solution.
Streamlining your supply chain is necessary today if you want to get the most from your operations. With a fully optimized supply chain, you can keep up with increasing demands and developing technology as you stay ahead of the curve.
Since March, there have been several updates made to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (CUSMA). The following is a timeline of all of the major announcements that we’ve been tracking here at Carson International.
March 14 – CUSMA is Approved April 23 – COAC Recommends Delaying CUSMA Entry into Force Until 2021
In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was considering closing the Canada-U.S. border in an effort to help halt the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, the House of Commons passed legislation that would ratify the newly established North American trade deal. In turn, the Senate signed the bill that would approve the CUSMA.
April 23 – COAC Recommends Delaying CUSMA Entry into Force Until 2021
The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) suggested delaying CUSMA’s entry into force until at least January 1, 2021. COAC also recommended providing a period of implementation or transition to consider USCMA compliance for NAFTA-qualifying goods that have compliant certificates of origin. Originally, the CUSMA was to go into effect on June 1, but lawmakers and others have cited complications regarding COVID-19 as the reason for the recommended delay.
In early May, Canada agreed to adhere to a de minimis threshold of a minimum of CAD$150.00 and CAD$40.00 for customs duties and taxes, respectively. Apart from this, no other changes went into effect around the current de minimis framework in Canada under the CUSMA. The thresholds were set to go into effect the same date as the CUSMA on July 1.
May 12 – US Dept. of Homeland Security Receives Criticism for Inadequate CUSMA Implementation
After the DHS failed to implement CUSMA enforcement through the establishment of a designated task force by the deadline of April 28, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee pushed the Trump administration to implement enforcement as soon as possible. The delay in U.S. implementation of enforcement is a particularly sensitive matter considering the CUSMA is scheduled to go into effect by July 1.
May 19 – Auto Manufacturers Reopen in North America Amid Challenges Around CUSMA
Automakers are resuming auto manufacturing operations throughout North America, but they anticipate certain challenges that will arise from the reliance on Canada and Mexico and more remote workplaces. Meanwhile, Mexico planned to resume operations on June 1 or sooner, depending on the ability to create safe workspaces.
A transportation management system (TMS) is a kind of platform intended to help optimize shipping processes. There are certain benefits that come with a TMS that can make it worthwhile to implement, improving transparency and cost-effectiveness in the long term.
What Exactly Is a TMS?
A TMS is a subset of supply chain management that revolves around transportation solutions. It enables the automation of shipping and provides more data to help improve efficiency and lower the costs of shipping.
There are many aspects to consider when shipping goods or services, including quotes, logistics, and delivery to customer locations, all of which can be difficult to manage and maintain. A TMS makes it easier to keep shipping consistently efficient and affordable.
The Different Types of TMSs
There are many types of TMSs out there to choose from based on your specific needs. Depending on the system you select and its features and capabilities, you’ll be able to optimize various aspects of the transportation process including:
• Route optimization and planning
• Yard management
• Carrier management
• Freight shopping and rating
• Load building
• Visibility across the supply chain and orders
The Benefits of a TMS
Some of the benefits of implementing a TMS can include:
Simplified Shipping Processes
A good TMS will be able to make the carrier selection process simpler by enabling an enterprise to evaluate any merchandise with a compatible carrier. In turn, companies will have the ability to make future decisions based on past shipments, pairing each shipment with the right carrier more efficiently.
A TMS can give you the technological capabilities you need to make crucial decisions around shipping processes. You’ll be able to access all quotes, carrier matches, and transit times to help you make decisions without the headache you might experience without a TMS in place.
A TMS will also allow you to track freight during transportation, and you can receive notifications in the event of delays or transit exceptions along the way. Issues during transport are always possible, but a good TMS will be able to let you know if anything goes wrong and the reason behind it.
Insights into Operations
A dependable TMS provides plenty of transparency through detailed analytics and reporting, which can be particularly beneficial for large-scale operations. With so many invoices and shipments to keep track of on a regular basis, it can be daunting to account for everything and maintain the efficacy of operations. However, a TMS can centralize all data and provide reports that tell you everything you need to know.
The Challenges You Could Face with a TMS
One of the biggest challenges that you may experience with a TMS is the need for additional capacity and expertise as the volume of shipments increases over time. As your business grows, it can become more difficult to manage your operations without the necessary accommodations and assistance. If you’re in need of a scalable solution, the experts at Carson International can give you what you need to continue to benefit from a TMS for your operations.
If you want to keep your shipping operations efficient and cost-effective, having a good TMS can be the key to success. Using the right system, you can benefit from total transparency and the ability to make the right decisions for your operations.
Carson International, in partnership with the Canadian Apparel Federation and Export Development Canada, are pleased to present this one-hour webinar on June 4 for members of the apparel industry.
Join Carson Vice President, Dave Pentland, and Bob Kirke of CAF, as they discuss key provisions of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and changing customs procedures which will come into force on July 1, 2020.
The purpose of this webinar will be to explain concrete issues regarding the flow of goods across the border when the agreement enters into force. Specifically, we will discuss new Origin Certification, the TPL Program, De minimis, changes to Rules of Origin (and a timeline for their implementation) and other provisions of concern to apparel firms.
Who should attend: Owners, Senior Managers, Technical staff, Compliance Managers involved in the import, export, distribution of Apparel Goods. Registrants who are unable to attend the live webinar for any reason will receive a copy of the presentation following the event.
Many businesses working with a small number of products and trade lanes can benefit from working with their freight forwarder,
International trade across the world’s longest border is a complex industry full of shifting regulations and rapidly evolving technology. Customs brokers navigate the ever-changing world of shipping for you, to help individuals and businesses clear customs with ease. Reliable customs brokers will have all of the resources needed to help your business stay up-to-date regarding any technological or regulatory changes
There are certain specific benefits of working with a customs broker. The following are a few of the key ways your business can experience improved operations.
Enhanced Risk Management
Customs brokers can help make sure that importers are in compliance with the latest customs regulations. A good broker will also be able to address and handle any complexities and inform you about how to further reduce your tax burden and duties. In turn, you’ll be able to minimize the risks associated with importing and exporting.
Reduction of Fixed Costs
Customs brokers possess all of the technology and tools required to transfer documentation and maintain communication with customs. As a result, you don’t need to worry about procuring the software or hardware or performing any maintenance, which helps reduce the costs that you would otherwise see when operating entirely in-house.
Flexibility of Staff
With a customs broker behind customs, you can also avoid the need to look for licensed specialists or brokers on staff, which gives you more time and energy to focus on other more important aspects of your business. Customs brokers are also responsible for continually monitoring shipments to ensure they avoid any potential issues along the way. Subsequently, you won’t need to rely on staff to monitor your shipments at any point, which frees them up to perform other tasks.
Each of these benefits makes it worthwhile to hire a customs broker to handle imports. In the process, you’ll be able to avoid potential importing issues and save more money and time.
The Benefits of Hiring Carson to Be Your Customs Broker
If you’re in need of a customs broker you can trust to manage imports without issue, Carson International is here to give you everything you need as a U.S. and Canadian customs brokerage with over 50 years of experience serving the International Trade community.
Carson’s compliance solutions offer the ideal combination of flexibility and reliability, whether you’re a startup or a global company.
We are committed to maintaining compliance and remaining up-to-date on all of the latest regulations and technology in the industry. With our services behind your business, you can focus on growing and leave the customs process to us. We have all of the knowledge and data necessary to keep the process efficient and error-free, with total transparency that enables you to maintain complete visibility of the supply chain.
We’ll work with you to exceed your expectations and help your business maintain compliance, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.