Trade Show Logistics, Not As Easy As 1-2-3

Last month I ran into an old friend from high school who I had lost track of through the years. While catching up during lunch he mentioned that his wife?s online business was taking off domestically and they were now ready to explore the Canadian market, specifically a trade show. With lots of friendly consumers just across the border, the possibilities seemed endless and they were both very excited.

That is until they arrived at the border with samples for a trade show in Toronto that they had just registered and paid for in full. After spending all day at customs trying to meet the import requirements, they ended up being refused entry and returned to the U.S., down and a little  lighter in the wallet. "Wow" I said, "if only we had met a couple of weeks earlier. I would have helped you get across the border! I?m in logistics!"

After sheepishly admitting little research was done, he and his wife had decided to forgo hiring an expert and do it themselves to save a few dollars, he agreed with me wholeheartedly. The couple hundred dollars they would have saved compared nothing to the eight hours at the border and forfeited trade show fees paid in advance.

Why Hire an Expert for your Temporary Import?

When attempting a new endeavor for the first time, what you do not know will usually sink you. Think of it as the unexpected in the form of a Border Guard asking you questions you have no idea how to answer.

Mark Twain once said "Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more." Obviously Mr. Twain never dealt with Border Guards.

When transiting the border with commercial goods you usually have only one chance to get it right.

Did You Know:

  • Those t-shirts with your companies logo's you intend to give away are dutiable and customs requires you to declare the actual manufacturer where the t-shirts were made?
  • The pens emblazoned with your companies logo, also intended as a giveaway, are subject to Participating Government Agency review?
  • The samples you are bringing for order taking require a temporary import bond and have to be exported properly in order to avoid a penalty?
How to Import for a Trade Show in the U.S. or Canada

The list of what you do not know goes on and on. Rather than trying to interpret encyclopedic volumes of customs regulations, hire an expert and spend your time building your business at the trade show.

That is a much better way to spend your time. Remember, a little planning goes a long way.

Importing for a Trade Show
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About Author
Gina Crews
CCS

Gina Crews has over 25 years of U.S. and Canadian Customs brokerage experience. Following a whirlwind nationwide tour providing sales and marketing support to Warner Brothers for their "Bugs Bunny Film Festival," Gina entered the logistics & brokerage industry. With an entrepreneurial heart, Gina has been a small business owner herself a few times over and now helps small and medium-sized businesses understand the cross-border process. Gina holds her U.S. Certified Customs Specialist designation, is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada fully versed in Customs regulations for both Countries.

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.