Importing commercial products, or for that matter exporting from Canada is normally seen as a very complicated process, but it does not need to be. This article will demystify the import/export process and help you understand Canada custom duties as well as the free trade agreement between the United States and Canada.

canada customs


The free trade agreement was signed on October 1987, removed several trade restrictions in stages over a ten year period. The result was a great increase in cross-border trade. Essentially the majority of products manufactured in the United States or Canada are considered free of any Canada custom duties but taxed for entry to Canada (there are some exceptions). To import commercial products there are specific documents that must accompany a shipment so that the Canada customs agency can clear your shipment without any delay with the help of your Canadian customs broker.

Harmonized tariff schedule 

The first process is to go to the Canada Revenue Agency website and download the most recent Harmonized tariff schedule that is categorized by chapter i.e. foodstuff, minerals, plastics etc. You must find the harmonized tariff number that best describes your product, this number has 10 digits. Here is an example, 0702.00.29.10 -cherry tomatoes certified organic. At this point, do a search in Google for certificate of origin Canada. This will provide you with a PDF of the certificate that you can print, and detailed instructions on how to fill it out. Initially, filling it out might seem daunting, however once you go through it, it’s quite simple. Do not forget to sign the document.

Certificate of origin

Gee, we are making headway on this aren’t we? You have the harmonized tariff code, and with it have filled out the certificate of origin. Now, this certificate is usually produced by the original manufacturer of the product, but based upon your knowledge of the product you can fill it out as long as you stipulate that fact in Field 8 as described in the instruction sheet.

Canada customs invoice

Finally, as you import commercial products you can take the details from the commercial invoice that you are importing or exporting and transpose that detail to the pro forma Canada customs invoice making certain that you include any tax numbers or the entry will be refused. Do a search in Google once again for Canada customs invoice to print a copy. At this point, you can ship your product via any of your preferred carriers or transportation broker you feel comfortable with. They will affix a PARS (pre arrival review system) sticker that identifies the carrier and your shipment and is used and scanned by the driver once they are assured that your shipment is cleared by Canada customs. By following this procedure you can rest assured that you will be free and clear of any Canada custom duties surcharges.In addition, you could always enlist the use of a 3PL/transportation broker for help on the issue of importing your next commercial product into Canada. Skyfer Logistic is an expert in this field.

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