The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA): What importers need to know

Argo Customs Brokers is dedicated to maintaining clear communication with their customers and those who wish to keep themselves informed about important importing and exporting regulations. As such, we present pertinent points from a news release issued by the Canada Border Services Agency.

The customs notice titled Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) was published on April 3, 2020.

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) entered into force on July 1, 2020, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). There was no transition period.

Since CUSMA came into effect, the CBSA has applied the LVS threshold consistently across all commercial programs, regardless of the mode, stream of importation, or free trade agreement under which a preferential tariff treatment is claimed. It is not limited to the Courier Low Value Shipment Program.

The certification of origin under the CUSMA has no prescribed format and only requires a set of minimum data elements that indicate that the good is an originating good. These elements include:

  • identification and address of the certifier
  • exporter
  • producer
  • importer
  • description of the good
  • rule of origin

The certification of origin may be completed by either the exporter, producer, or importer of the goods and may be placed on an invoice or any other document. Furthermore, the certification of origin may be completed, signed, and submitted electronically.

You can download the CUSMA Certificate from our Forms page, and we can assist you with how to fill it out.

To claim the preferential tariff treatment under the CUSMA, importers must have in their possession the CUSMA certification of origin completed by either the exporter, the producer, or the importer at the time of importation.

Goods imported prior to July 1, 2020 for which the NAFTA preferential tariff treatment was claimed could be subject to a compliance verification or be eligible for a refund in line with the provisions of the NAFTA after July 1, 2020. For goods that claimed NAFTA preferential tariff treatment, the CUSMA provides that the NAFTA Chapter Five Customs Procedures remain applicable, including NAFTA Article 505 for the record keeping period of the country of import. For Canada, records must be kept for a period of six years from the date of importation.

Key Takeaways

  • The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) entered into force on July 1, 2020, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). There is no transition period.
  • Any claims for preferential tariff treatment must satisfy the rules of origin requirements of the CUSMA. For many goods, however, there are no differences between the NAFTA and the CUSMA rules of origin.
  • The importer may claim the preferential tariff treatment under the CUSMA for goods released on or after July 1, 2020. It is not possible to claim the preferential tariff treatment under NAFTA for goods released after July 1, 2020.
  • The CBSA does not require a certification of origin to claim preferential tariff treatment where the value for duty does not exceed $3,300. Certain conditions apply, please refer to Customs Notice 20-15: Increase to the Low Value Shipment (LVS) Threshold and Simplification to the Proof of Origin Requirements for Goods Imported into Canada, for details.

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Argo Customs Brokers is Available to Assist

If you are an individual or represent a company that is involved with importing goods affected by the CUSMA, ARGO Customs brokers can provide the form and assist with filling it out. The team at Argo Customs Brokers is always available to answer questions about importing and exporting and can help you understand the effect that this agreement can have on your plans. All inquiries are welcome.