Flowers, Wine And Diamonds, Oh My | Valentines At Customs

Flowers, Wine And Diamonds, Oh My | Valentines At Customs

Flowers, wine and diamond jewelry are just some of the more popular items to give this time of year. A very large percentage of these items are imported into Canada. With that in mind, let us take a look at where these items originate, the import process and the many supply chain partners that have a hand in getting them into your shopping cart.

How To Import Flowers

According to Statistics Canada, Canadians imported 11.1 million dozen roses for a total cost of $71.7 million dollars in 2016; the majority of which originated in Colombia and Ecuador.

Flowers fall under the category of agricultural goods and are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is charged with protecting Canada from invasive species of flora and fauna. They work collaboratively with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to review incoming importations of all agricultural products, with a scrutiny of particular commodities that have a high chance of harbouring pests.

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To import flowers into Canada you would follow these steps

  1. Consult the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for the import requirements for your commodity. This will tell you if the flower is approved for import, the conditions of import, and any additional instructions, such as the requirement for a phytosanitary certificate.
  2. If the import is showing as refused entry in AIRS, review the Pests Regulated by Canada database to determine if a common pest on your flowers would require them to undergo a pest risk assessment.
  3. Review your tariff classification and valuation to ensure they are correct. In the case of flower bouquet, there are different rules for when different flower types form a bouquet. Additionally, if the flowers traveled through the U.S. from offshore, the valuation will need adjustments to account for those handling costs.
  4. Have your customs broker provide CBSA and CFIA a pre-arrival notification via import declaration and all required certificates prior to arrival at the port of crossing.
  5. Wait for a release determination from CBSA in coordination with CFIA.

Alternatively, you can contact us and we will go through these steps on your behalf and present to you the final determinations of what is required.

How To Import Flowers And Plants Into Canada

International Flower Delivery

Like many perishable items, flowers require special shipping due to their delicate nature. They must be packaged to not damage the fragile petals or stems. They must also be kept at a cool temperature so they do not fully bloom or spoil before reaching their destination. Additionally, they must reach their delivery point before their beauty fades past the point of being a desirable item to purchase.

Flower Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in getting your beautiful bouquet to you:

  • Grower
  • Distributor
  • Purchaser
  • Importer
  • Carrier
  • Customs Broker
  • Freight Forwarder
  • The Flower Shop

How to Import Wine

Here is an interesting fact for those who favor wine over flowers: 481 million liters of wine were sold in Canada, 75.7% of which was imported in 2015.

Although Canada has a robust and impressive selection of local wineries, some still prefer to drink a variety from other countries. In those cases (no pun intended) the wine must be imported into Canada.

Wine is considered an intoxicating liquor that is subject to the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act. Under this act, wine must be imported by a "by a board, commission, officer, or governmental agency legally authorized to sell intoxicating liquor." Each province in Canada has its own liquor board which importers must work with in order to import. This Provincial Liquor Authority must be named the Importer of Record, and the winery must be named the consignee. Authorization from this provincial liquor authority must be obtained prior to import.

Import costs will include Excise Duty and importers are required to have an Excise License.

Shipping Wine

CBSA will place a seal on each shipment of wine imported into Canada. Carriers must not transload these shipment after the seals have been placed unless they are under the supervision of a CBSA officer.

Wine Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in ensuring your wine glass is full this Valentines day:

  • Vineyard
  • Winery/Consignee
  • Purchaser
  • Distributor
  • Provincial Liquor Authority/Importer of Record
  • CBSA
  • Carrier
  • Freight Forwarder
  • Customs Broker
  • Liquor/Wine Store

How To Import Jewelry

As for jewelry, Canadian retailers sold 3.6 billion worth of jewelry and watches in 2015. As for diamonds, Canadians imported a value worth $493 million dollars and exported $2.1 million in 2016.

There are a few considerations to make when wanting to import jewelry:

  • What is it?
  • What is it made of?
  • What is the base metal?
  • Is it plated or solid?
  • Does it include ivory, leathers or other parts of animals or plants that may be regulated by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
  • CITES? Think watches with ivory faces. A CITES is then required.
  • Does the item include diamonds? If those diamonds were imported already cut, polished and ready to be mounted, there are no additional import steps. However, if those diamonds were imported unprocessed, as with the case of Kimberly Rough Diamonds,special regulations as laid out in Memorandum D19-6-4 must be followed.

Shipping Jewelry

Jewelry benefits in this area because of its size. No matter the value, the size is generally small and therefore the shipping cost is low.

However, consideration of valuation for insurance purposes must be made. To lose a $10 thousand dollar engagement ring in transit would be a hard thing to discuss with your partner!

Packaging also plays an important role. Although made of metal and stone, jewelry is very delicate. Shippers must ensure that the packaging can withstand the tribulations of transit.

Jewelry Supply Chain Partners

Below is a list of all those that played a role in getting that sparkly ring on your finger or watch on your wrist:

  • Diamond Mine
  • Consignee
  • Purchaser
  • Distributor
  • Importer of Record
  • CBSA
  • Carrier
  • Freight Forwarder
  • Customs Broker
  • Jewelry Store

This Valentine's Day, when you are shopping for those special people in your life, take a moment to appreciate all of the people in the supply chain who jumped the regulatory hurdles and danced the shipping tango to get your precious item to you. Leave your love letters to those supply chain partners in our comment section below. Happy Valentine's Day <3

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About the Author
Lisa Stevenson

Lisa has been working in the international trade industry for over 20 years, with 11 years highway transportation expertise. A Kwantlen Polytechnic University School of Business Alumni in Marketing Management, Lisa works on behalf of importers and exports to translate complicated industry regulation into easy to understand tasks they can implement. In 2017 she was invited to speak at the Vancouver Fashion Week Export Workshop, helping international designers to understand textile import and export in Canada. She is well versed in Canadian and US Customs brokerage trade topics and is currently studying for the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers Certified Customs Specialist designation.

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.