As is its practice, the Canada Border Services Agency recently
announced its semi-annual trade verification targets for the
balance of 2014. Many targets continue from the past, while new
ones have been added.
Amongst new targets are for tariff classification (batteries,
gazebos, apparel samples, bags of polymers of ethylene, footwear
valued at $30 or more per pair, hair extensions, machinery for
public works, special purpose motor vehicles, and polyurethanes in
primary forms); for customs valuation there are no new targets; for
origin, the CBSA has added jewelry.
The foregoing is hardly all inclusive of targets of CBSA audits.
There has been an ongoing focus for customs valuation (related
party transactions generally, apparel, footwear, etc.); for tariff
classification (flowers, curling irons, palm oil, chemical
products, safety headgear, etc.); for origin (bedding and drapery,
cotton pants, t-shirts, etc.).
The targets show a very broad range of goods as being within the
crosshairs of trade verification, strongly suggesting that it
remains the burden/obligation of all Canadian importers to
self-assess trade compliance, failing which one of these targets
may be directed at you.
It is also important to remember that the announced targets are
not exhaustive generally. The CBSA is not constrained, and will act
on industry statistics, complaints, and other information, to
selectively target importers (on a non-industry basis) for audit.
Audits may be time consuming, disruptive, and cause importers to
amend practices retroactively, as well as prospectively. It is
always best to self-assess compliance in advance of being CBSA
audited to facilitate voluntary disclosures and corrections, if
appropriate. Guidance provided under the umbrella of
solicitor-client privilege by Canadian legal counsel allows
companies to assess their positions, and make decisions regarding
past and future compliance without fear of disclosure by advisors
who cannot advise in a privileged manner. Public companies have a
particular imperative to examine their business, including
import/export, practices, and to correct non-compliance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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While that agreement mandated export measures on Canadian softwood lumber exports destined for the United States, it also protected those lumber exports from the potential imposition of onerous import measures by the U.S.
On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its first tariff classification decision since Canada signed the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System in 1998.
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