Attn Steel Importers: Your Tariff May Have Changed

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.

The Most Crucial Aspect Of Global Trade: HS Tariff Codes

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.

4 Reasons For Determining The Correct Harmonized Tariff Classification

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.

Apply for an Advance Ruling
Disclaimer: While reading, kindly note the date of this blog. At PCB we do our due diligence to write on the most relevant topic every week and naturally content may become dated as developments in a certain program/topic occur. For this reason, we greatly appreciate your readership and hope you continue reading with the posting date in mind. For the latest information on this topic please use our website's search function, or better yet, subscribe to our "Trading Post" newsletter to receive these updates directly to your inbox.
Share this post
About Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS (CA/US), CTCS, CBSA Prof. 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 Canadian 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.