14 Must-Know Tips For Importing

Here are some quick tips to help with a smooth import into Canada:

  1. Get detailed, factual information about the commodity you are importing.
  2. Customs clearance is not instantaneous. A customs broker has to recreate your Canada Customs Invoice(CCI) line by line electronically for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and other government departments. Once transmitted, the entry has to be reviewed by employees of the above mentioned departments.
  3. Determine if you are importing a regulated commodity.
  4. You should use one customs broker for all modes of transportation and all ports of entry.
  5. Examinations can be performed by any of the departments involved in importation.
  6. Some items are prohibited from entry into Canada - always do research on your commodity before you import.
  7. A shipment can be examined, even if previously accepted by Customs.
  8. Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) can be issued if any information provided is not in compliance with Customs regulations or found to be untrue.
  9. A customs broker requires certain information such as country of origin, currency and a complete description for every shipment, even in instances of repeat imports.
  10. Duty rates are in place to protect Canadian industry; not to inconvenience you. If a product has an extremely high duty rate, it is most likely for this reason.
  11. There is no such thing as “free". No charge, free samples and giveaways still require all of the same information for Customs clearance as if they were purchased, including an accurate commercial value. Duties and taxes are still applicable.
  12. Hiring a customs broker enables you to access years of knowledge, experience and expertise in declaring your goods to Customs.
  13. Government forms can be confusing to complete. Save yourself time and read the instruction sheet before filling the form to ensure that it is completed correctly.
  14. Some commodities require additional documentation and certification in order to clear through CBSA and other government departments. Without the required documents, commodities can be refused entry into Canada.
Your how to guide on importing into Canada
Learning Center: How to import into Canada
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About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS, CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Gloria Terhaar has over 17 years of Canadian customs brokerage experience. She currently works in our Canadian division as a Trade Compliance Supervisor and Regulatory Compliance Specialist. Gloria has extensive experience in all aspects of documentation and regulatory requirements as they relate to importing products into Canada. Gloria is often called upon to train industry with some recent talks for MNP, the Surrey Board of Trade, TFO Canada and the BC Produce Marketing Association. In 2018, Gloria also participated in the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council advocacy event "Fall Harvest" in Ottawa where she participated in advocacy efforts for the Canadain produce industry.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.