Trade Talk | This Week In HS Tariff Changes

Trade Talk | This Week In HS Tariff Changes

2017 Customs HS Tariff Codes in Effect NOW!

What We Know For Sure: HS Tariff Changes

Getting your HS Tariff Code right is really important! The HS Tariff changes have been coming for quite a while and most are well known to customs brokers however let's ensure that you, the vendors, are clear!

The current updates announced by the World Customs Organization (WCO) that came into effect as of January 22, 2017, are still being digested by most organizations. Our Trade Compliance Advisors have been on top of this for several months and are prepared to offer support where your company might need it.

If you are a client of ours, rest assured that we have already implemented the required changes and addressed all prior rulings that needed updating. If however, you are not a client of ours, we recommend you either contact your customs broker to ensure your tariff classifications and rulings are correct or contact our Trade Compliance Advisors. We are available 24/7 to provide this service on your company's behalf.

What We Are Talking About:

The HS Tariff Changes had a large focus food products.

"The majority of the new changes to the HS have been broached by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

The HS 2017 amendments for fish and fishery products are to further enhance the coverage of species and product forms which need to be monitored for food security purposes and for better management of resources. The split by more detailed product forms for crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates is motivated by the importance of trade and consumption of these species in the various product forms.

The amendment for cuttlefishes and squids is to extend the coverage of the present codes, in order to have all those species grouped. At present, a significant share of cuttlefish and squid trade is recorded under residual codes for molluscs."

With the final actions and rulings in regards to Forestry Products we are also talking about the amendments on this section of the WCO amendment announcement:

"The amendment for forestry products aims at one main area: enhancement of the coverage of wood species in order to get a better picture of trade patterns, including endangered species. In particular, separating the data on tropical wood trade will both serve to focus attention on the important issue of tropical wood use and clarify data on non-tropical hardwoods. The HS 2017 amendments also include the creation of new subheadings for the monitoring and control of certain products of bamboo and rattan, requested by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)."

What We Think:

We have been ensuring over recent months that our clients rulings are up to date with the changes and requirements laid out in the 2017 Customs Tariff. We are confident that our clients will, and have, found the transition to the 2017 Customs tariff seamless.

What We Advise:

If you have a ruling on a classification we advise you to ensure that it is upheld under the 2017 customs tariff amendments, if you are not sure we highly recommend you contact a customs broker as soon as possible to avoid penalties, fines or worse, holdups of your company's goods at border crossings.

Here is a great excerpt from our blog Your Broker Knows blog which covers tips on how to correctly classify your goods using the H.S. Tariff:

4 Reasons For Determining The Correct Harmonized Tariff Classification

Let us start with the area that everyone is aware:

  1. Duty rates: The tariff classification has a direct correlation to the duty rate that you will be expected to pay (and no, it is not a matter of “finding the one that says FREE”).
  2. NAFTA: This is very important as one of the first steps in determining if goods qualify under NAFTA is to find the tariff classification for the product and to then check under the NAFTA Specific Rules of Origin to determine how the goods might qualify. A common misconception is that products will “automatically” qualify if they are made in Canada, the U.S. or Mexico.
  3. Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD): If a government decides that they need to protect a domestic industry, they can impose an anti-dumping duty on specific imports. This is also driven by the harmonised tariff classification. Pay close attention to this area as anti-dumping duty rates are always very high - usually double or sometimes triple digit percentages. For a full list of Canadian imports subject to dumping duties visit this link » Goods subject to anti-dumping or countervailing duties
  4. Exporting to countries other than the U.S. where the shipment value exceeds $2,000.00?
    You or your freight forwarder will be required to complete a B13A export document (or electronic equivalent), and you will need the eight-digit harmonised system export code or the Canadian 10-digit import code for each product. Once again, export restrictions and permits governed by Foreign Affairs are driven by the tariff classification. The above topics are the primary reasons for determining the correct tariff classification. In addition, we should also include the controls through other governmental agencies, such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Free Trade Agreements with other countries, and also the effects on Canada’s trade statistics.

Remember: If your company's name is indicated as the importer on any customs documents, you (not your customs broker) are looked upon as the responsible party to ensure all declarations are correct. You may be able to avoid any future problems by getting it right the first time!

How To Accurately Complete A NAFTA Certificate Of Origin

What We Are Reading:

The WCO has published the accepted amendments to the Harmonized System (HS) Nomenclature that went into force on 1 January 2017. It includes 233 sets of amendments, divided as follows: agricultural sector 85; chemical sector 45; wood sector 13; textile sector 15; base metal sector 6; machinery sector 25; transport sector 18; other sectors 26. Article: Amendments effective from 1 January 2017

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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.
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About the Author
Gloria Terhaar
CCS (CA/US), CTCS, CBSA Prof. Designate

Gloria Terhaar began her career in Canadian customs brokerage 2007. 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.