Canadian steel importers should take note that on February 1st, 2021, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced Amendments to the Departmental Consolidation of the Customs Tariff affecting imports of certain steel products. This means that the Tariff Codes previously used may no longer be accurate come February 4th, 2021 when the change takes effect.
The amendments noted in this change affects certain Tariff Codes for steel and products made of steel, including those commodities where an Advance Ruling from CBSA has been previously obtained.
Do Tariff Codes Change Often?
Usually, CBSA publishes notification of Tariff changes in January of each year. Additionally, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reviews and publishes a revised HS Tariff every 5 years (the next review will happen in 2022).
What Are Advance Rulings?
CBSA offers importers clarity on which Tariff Code to use for their imports when the application is unclear. Importers can narrow it down to a few Tariff Codes that based on the General Rules of Interpretation, Chapter Notes, Explanatory Notes, and Tariff Code description (the four things every importer must review) match the description of their product. However, only one can be applied. So which one is correct in the eyes of Customs?
This is where an importer can apply for an Advance Ruling from Customs. The importer (either working with a customs broker, trade advisor or lawyer or on their own) applies to Customs for clarity on which Tariff Code to use for their imports. It is commodity-specific and requires a great deal of documentation as to the composition of that commodity as well as its origin. After a review by Customs, they will provide a Binding Ruling for that commodity which states which Tariff Code should be used for import into Canada.
How Do I Know If My Tariff Code Has Changed?
Importers should contact their Customs Broker or review the Concordance Table and compare the old Tariff Codes to the new ones to take effect on February 4th, 2021.
What Should I Do If My Tariff Code Has Changed?
If during this review you find that your Tariff Code has changed, be sure to:
- Update all staff or vendors that may complete customs documentation (such as a Canadain Customs Invoice) on the new Tariff Code to use.
- Update any database where you store your product Tariff Classifications.
- Ensure this information is reflected in the database that your Customs Broker maintains on your behalf to ensure that they accurately apply the new Tariff Code.
- Review your B2 entries after importation to ensure that the correct Tariff Classification was applied.
With any change to a Tariff Classification, importers should work with their Customs Broker to ensure the change is accurately applied to all future imports. In the event you are not working with a Customs Broker, you can utilize the services of a Trade Advisor to help you assess whether your commodities are affected or not, and if you would benefit from an Advance Ruling. In many cases, a Customs Broker will offer Advance Ruling application services.