Five Improvements in The July EICS Update | ARGO Customs

What To Look Forward to In the First EICS Update

Earlier this year, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officially opened the Export-Import Control System (EICS), an ambitious project aimed at making customs control fully electronic.  Even in its first release, EICS has substantially improved and streamlined the process of having imports and exports approved, and there are ongoing plans to improve the system over the next few years.

The first major upgrade to EICS is due to drop in July, and it’s going to make the system even better.  Let’s take a look at the improvements.

Five Improvements in The July EICS Update

1 – A better look and user interface

The initial release of EICS was fairly bare-bones.  It was functional, but the user interface was not very streamlined.  This new update will substantially improve the interface, as well as bringing it up to Canadian governmental standards for accessibility.  This should make the EICS system even easier to use.

2 – User guides and tutorials

Along with improvements to the user experience, EICS will become easier to use thanks to a range of guides and tutorials showing users how to make use of the system. Every page will have tips on usage, and there will be full-on-demand walkthroughs of common activities.  This will make it far easier for newcomers to get up and running in the system.

3 – Improved authentication system

Another aspect of EICS receiving immediate attention is its authentication system.  This will be improved substantially to, again, bring it in line with legal standards for safety and security.  All users will get unique log-in credentials, and digital security will be tighter as well.

4 – Improved search capabilities

One issue with the first release of EICS is that its search capabilities were limited, and that was a problem when there are thousands of potential product classification codes available.  This new upgrade brings an improved search, with filtering options, so that users will be able to find the appropriate codes more quickly.

5 – Document downloading

Finally, users will have the option to download generated documents as PDF or CSV files and save them locally to their hard drive or to a cloud server.  So, they won’t have to rely on EICS system access for record-keeping.

ARGO Customs specializes in making Canadian imports and exports as simple as possible!  If you need help making the most of this new system, we can reduce your workload while ensuring your goods pass customs as quickly as possible.  Contact us to learn more!

China Under Investigation for Dumping Products in Canada

July 20, 2021 – Toronto, ON – The customs experts at ARGO Customs want shippers to know that another investigation into potentially unethical Chinese trade practices is underway.  In June 2021, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced that they were looking into whether container chassis from China were being illegally “dumped” on the market.

Dumping means selling products overseas for less than those products cost in their country of manufacture.  In some cases, the products may actually be subsidized by the government of that country, to encourage price undercutting.  This is widely seen as disruptive and anti-competitive.  Under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), the CBSA has the authority to levy fines and extra duties on products that are found to be in violation of international trade regulations.

The complaint was originally lodged by Max-Atlas Equipment International Inc, a Quebec-based container chassis manufacturer.  The accusations were corroborated by two other chassis manufacturers, Di Mond, and Innovative Trailer Design, both in Ontario.  All three companies allege they have suffered material injury through lost sales and market share, as well as secondary effects such as reduced capacity utilization.

The investigation will be carried out by the CBSA, along with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT).  The two will conduct their investigations separately, but concurrently.  The CBSA investigation will issue a decision on or before August 9, 2021.  The CITT’s investigation will be concluded by September 8, 2021.  At that time, if China is found to be in violation of international trade laws, fines or duties may be imposed to balance out the unfair pricing.

ARGO Customs will be following this issue closely.  Any shippers involved in the import or export of container chassis are advised to contact expert customs brokers for information on how to proceed.

About Argo Customs

Argo Customs is one of Canada’s leading customs brokers.  Their staff specializes in international trade regulations, along with helping shippers clear Canadian customs with a minimum of delay.  They proudly facilitate trade across the country.

For more information or press inquiries, please contact Argo Customs at 1-888-311-8303 or visit https://argocustoms.com/.

This Is What Importers Need to Know About CARM

Years after its initial announcement, the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project has gone live. This project, spearheaded by the Canadian Border Services Agency is a massive overhaul of Canadian importation procedures, with a focus on moving towards all-electronic processes.

The implementation of CARM will have significant impacts on Canadian importers and exporters. In this article, we will briefly describe the most important aspects of CARM today, as well as what is expected in the next major phase, next year.

What Does CARM do?

CARM is modernizing and updating how data is entered and processed within the CBSA. The ultimate goal is a fully paperless, entirely electronic process, with all data being given directly to the CBSA. This will bring numerous improvements, including:

  • Simplifying the importation process for importers
  • Creating a standards-based electronic interface with the CBSA
  • Delivering a self-service portal for importers to manage accounts, claims, corrections, and payments
  • Reducing import and export costs
  • Improving compliance with international trade rules
  • Tracking large-scale import/export trends in deeper detail

In short, once fully implemented CARM will be beneficial to everyone involved in Canadian imports and exports.

What’s in CARM Phase 1?

CARM is being implemented in multiple phases, with the first phase going live in May 2021.  There are three key things to know about this first phase:

  1. Importers will need to register within the CARM system and obtain a GC Key so they can access the system.  This will become mandatory as of May 2022.
  2. The online client portal will go live with basic functionality.
  3. Importers and exporters using brokers will need to register those brokers in the system as authorized proxies.

Importers are advised to create an account and register their customs brokers as soon as possible.

What’s in CARM Phase 2?

Phase 2 is currently scheduled to be implemented in May 2022, concurrently with CARM registrations becoming mandatory.  The current plans are for this phase to introduce:

  1. The requirement of importers to post a financial security bond, rather than brokers. The size of this bond will correlate to the size of their operation.
  2. Expansion of the online portal to include corrections, rulings, and adjustments.
  3. Replacing the B2 and B3 customs coding processes with unified Commercial Accounting Declarations (CADs), a single document containing all relevant information.

Contact ARGO Customs for More Information

CARM is bringing big changes to Canadian importing. If you have any questions or need assistance updating your processes, please contact ARGO Customs.

How SIMA Changes Regulations on Upholstered Goods from Asia

June 1, 2021 – Toronto, ON – Canada recently invoked the Special Import Measures Act, or SIMA, to curb imports on products that are viewed as being “dumped” by companies in Asia. This will have a significant impact on the importation of upholstered goods in the foreseeable future.

The customs experts at ARGO Customs wants Canadian importers to be aware of how this will impact furniture imports.

On December 21, 2020, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) responded to allegations that both China and Vietnam were “dumping” upholstered furniture. In this situation, “dumping” refers to selling exported goods in a foreign country for less money than those goods would cost in the country of origin. This form of dumping is seen as hostile and damaging to the importing market, by undercutting local producers.

As of May 5, 2021, the CBSA has released preliminary findings upholding the charges. Due to this, they have instituted significantly higher duties on a wide range of upholstered furniture items from China and Vietnam.  These items include virtually all upholstered seats – including seats that rock or swivel, using any form of upholstering, and seating any number of people.  There are a handful of exceptions:

Stationary seating upholstered with fabric, rather than leather

Seats without arms manufactured for dining room end-use.

Upholstered bar stools or other stools elevated higher than 24″

Seating specifically for outdoor use such as patio chairs

Bean bag seats

Folding or stackable chairs

Otherwise, all other upholstered seats are subject to the new duties.

As of May 5, the new duties are as follows:

Upholstered furniture from China is subject to a provisional 206.36% anti-dumping duty, as well as an 89.54% countervailing duty, for a total of 295.9% additional duties.

Upholstered furniture from Vietnam is subject to a provisional 89.77% anti-dumping duty, as well as an 11.73% countervailing duty, for a total of 101.5% additional duties.

Companies involved in the importation of furniture from Asia would be advised to see help from an established customs broker, to help them navigate these new rules.

About ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs are experts in Canadian imports and exports. Their dedicated trade specialists can help companies avoid unnecessary fees and bureaucratic problems while speeding up the delivery of goods.

For more information or press inquiries, please contact 1 (888) 311-8303 or visit https://argocustoms.com/.

Canada Border Services Agency Announces New Revenue Management System

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) recently announced that it would be implementing a new system that would “transform how the CBSA assesses, collects, manages, and reports on import revenue and trade information.”

As today’s leading importing/exporting firm in Canada, the team from Argo Customs will be participating in the rolling out of both projects, referred to as the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management Project or CARM. The first release will take place in May 2021 and the second in May 2022.

CARM Will Transform the Importation Process

According to officials, CARM is a multi-year initiative designed to revolutionize the importation process. As one of the top collectors of revenue for the Canadian government, the CBSA is second only to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“The billions of dollars we collect annually in duties and taxes are critical to our economy,” a CARM representative recently stated.

To make it easier to import and export goods into and out of Canada, CARM will offer users an online portal that will give importers/exporters access to border services 24/7, every day of the week.

Some of the most attractive features to the new online portal will include:

  • Online tools to classify goods, submit e-declarations and calculate taxes and duties
  • View up-to-date account information
  • Make e-payments and become paperless
  • Allow importers and customs brokers to tailor the services needed to manage their own accounts
  • Streamline the process of working with the CBSA
  • Enhance consistency and adherence to trade rules and decisions
  • Minimize repetitive information requirements
  • & More!

Contact Argo Customs today to learn more about the CARM system!

For those importing and exporting goods into and out of Canada, contact Argo Customs today online for more information about the benefits CARM will provide and how we’re participating. You can also call 1 (888) 311-8303.

Updated Safety Notice on Pourable Alcohol-Based Fuels and Portable Firepots

According to the Consumer and Hazardous Products Safety Directorate due to several incidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries from fire jets erupting from pourable alcohol-based fuels and portable containers, safety guidelines have been updated to restrict the transportation of these fuels without proper safety equipment.

According to the ASTM-F3429 and F349M-20 publications containers that lack adequate flame mitigation safety equipment that meets the technical specifications laid out in the notices pose a danger to human life.

The Transport & Safety Details

All products that are deemed dangerous to human life or safety are prohibited from transport, advertisement, manufacture, and sale in Canada. Products that are deemed dangerous if it is foreseeable that in their normal operation, they could cause serious injury or death. According to the Directorate’s investigation, these portable containers were responsible for the fire jets because they lacked fire suppression and safety measures.

Essentially, according to the updated Notices, all containers that transport alcohol-based fuels must meet the safety guidelines outlined in the notices or they are per se illegal and could subject the owner and/or operator to fines or other punishments. The scope of the notices affects two types of products: (1) portable firepots and containers holding pourable alcohol-based fuels.

Portable firepots are devices that use pourable fuels and are not fixed (i.e., they can be moved around). These are devices that are “plug and play” – they don’t need specialized tools or need to be installed. Portable firepots include a broad range of consumer items such as:

  • Fire burners,
  • Patio burners,
  • Firelights,
  • Flame pots,
  • Portable fireplaces,
  • Firebowls, and
  • Fire pits.

Notice that all of these products are free-standing and are not attached to or embedded in anything. Therefore, portable firepots would exclude installed fireplaces, fire pits, grills, and other devices that are attached or fixed to a space.

Containers of pourable alcohol-based fuels, while by themselves are not dangerous, when used to transport in conjunction with a firepot can result in danger to human life. The scope of the order includes portable fuels such as chafing fuels, camping stoves, lighter fluid, and fire starters. The authorities are primarily concerned with containers that have a bottled neck and are not refillable. The order specifically excludes alcohol-based cleaning solutions, de-icing products, combustion engine fuels, jerry cans, and alcohol-based fuels that are in single-use pastes or canisters.

ARGO Customs

Contact our team at ARGO Customs for customs and import and export updates, and solutions.

 

Why Was I Stopped at The Border When Returning to Canada?

At Argo Customs, our job is to help you move goods through the Canadian border with a minimum of hassle.  We make sure your shipments arrive safely, even during times of crisis like the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

However, just about anyone crossing the border might be stopped by the Canadian border police – not just people transporting goods.  So, in this article, we wanted to briefly talk about some of the various reasons anyone might have to stop for an inspection, and what that inspection entails.

Common Reasons People Returning to Canada Might Be Stopped at The Border

  1. Random inspection

Some stops are truly random, and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent them.  The border patrol will periodically stop a vehicle just to make sure everything is in order.

  1. Looking for goods in the vehicle

If you declare any goods when crossing the border, there’s always a chance you’ll be stopped to verify your declaration was accurate.  This would involve showing the goods declared, and possibly undergoing a vehicle search.

  1. Reporting large amounts of money

If you’re declaring more than CA$10,000 in cash or equivalent monetary instruments (like bonds or cashier’s cheques) you can probably expect to be stopped for a discussion of why.

  1. Verification of paperwork

Even if you’re a legal citizen of Canada, you may still be asked to stop so that your paperwork can be examined more closely, before you’re allowed to enter.

  1. Paying duties or taxes

If you are carrying taxable goods into the country, you’ll be asked to pay.  Be prepared with a means of payment if you know this is likely to happen.

What happens if you’re stopped for an inspection or questioning?

If you are stopped for questioning, the best thing to do is remain calm, and politely answer the questions as briefly and truthfully as you can.  Some things which may be discussed include:

  • Your activities while outside the country
  • Proof of guardianship of any children traveling with you
  • Verifying payment of any taxes or duties
  • Inspection of pets or other animals for signs of infection
  • Proofs for purchases made outside the country, particularly high-value purchases.  (Keep your receipts!)
  • Counting/verifying declared money being brought into the country
  • Running background or criminal checks

For most people, these processes will only be a brief inconvenience.  However, if you’re moving goods into Canada, it’s much better to work with a broker to avoid these hassles!  Contact Argo Customs to learn more.

Obtaining Refunds Under CUSMA

With many importing goods into Canada that fall under the Canadian-United States-Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA), it’s important to understand how to obtain refunds if necessary. That’s why the team from Argo Customs has collected some important information for you here.

Below you’ll find detailed information about CUSMA and how to obtain refunds when you need to.

Obtaining Your Refunds Under the New CUSMA Agreement

It’s important to note that refunds under NAFTA can occur up until June 30, 2021. However, goods that have entered Canada after July 1, 2020, are also eligible for CUSMA refunds, as long as no previous claim for preferential tariff treatment has already been made. For those seeking a refund under CUSMA, there is a four-year time limit.

How Do Refunds Under the NAFTA Agreement Affect CUSMA Refunds?

Those who imported goods into Canada under NAFTA will be eligible to obtain refunds up to a year after CUSMA went into effect (July 1, 2021), as long as NAFTA preferential treatment was not claimed during the accounting process.

For those in need of information regarding the CUSMA refund period, refer to Bill C-4 clause 134, adds CUSMA to part 4 of the schedule to amend paragraph 74(1)(c.11) of the Customs Act, in order to provide the legal basis for an importer to apply for a refund under CUSMA. It is paragraph 74(3) of the Customs Act that establishes a period of 4 years to apply for a refund under 74(1(c.11).

Contact Argo Customs for more import/export assistance!

For more assistance when importing and exporting goods into and out of Canada, contact the team from Argo Customs today. You can reach us online or by calling 1 (888) 311-8303.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Current Border Measures and Requirements

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has made travel between countries difficult, and that includes movement between Canada and the United States.  Differences in outbreak responses, and infection numbers, have meant that numerous new restrictions have been put into place, even for those simply crossing back and forth over the southern border.

Those who are currently traveling abroad should be aware that they may face new challenges when returning home.  In this article, our team at ARGO Customs wanted to quickly go over the most important coronavirus-related regulations, and how trips into Canada will be impacted.

 

What Traveling Canadians Need to Know About Returning Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

First, it is important to note that the Canadian government strongly discourages Canadians from leaving the country unless they have a genuine need to.  While there are no hard border exit procedures in place as of yet, this is truly not the right time to be taking vacations or engaging in other non-essential travel.

Once a non-commercial Canadian resident is at the border, seeking re-entry, the following steps will be taken:

  1. They will be given a coronavirus prevention kit that includes various items such as facial masks, and instructions for use.
  2. People who are showing no signs of coronavirus infection will still be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days upon reaching their final destination unless exempted.
  3. Those who are showing any signs of infection such as a high fever must report to a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) official for instructions and further testing.

For any Canadians currently abroad, who believe they may have contracted the coronavirus, the best choice would be to stay put and seek local treatment.  Do not attempt to return home unless it cannot be avoided.

Exceptions to Quarantine Procedures

Those who cross the border regularly, particularly those providing necessary cross-border goods and services, can potentially be exempted from the testing and quarantine procedures.

Also, those transiting across Canada – such as Americans going between the continental States and Alaska – can potentially avoid quarantine.  However, this will only be in cases where the travel is necessary/compulsory.  Also, they will be expected to follow a direct path to their intended destination, without deviation, and while making as few stops for necessary services as possible.  Social distancing and mask-wearing will be expected and enforced.

These are complicated times for anyone crossing the US/Canadian border, particularly those engaged in commerce.  For help ensuring your goods arrive safely with a minimum of delay, contact the importation experts at ARGO Customs.

 

Working with A Courier or Broker Can Reduce Your Canadian Importation Costs

There are numerous reasons that you should work with a customs broker or courier when you are importing goods into Canada.  Professional brokers have years of experience dealing with the bureaucracy which surrounds global trade and can advise you on the best way to move your goods into the country while minimizing delays or extra costs.  More importantly, they can help you avoid any legal entanglements which could cause delays, fees, or even more serious charges.

Now, there’s yet another reason to work with a professional broker or courier when importing goods into the country from either the United States or Mexico.  When you’re importing only small amounts of product, the duties can potentially be waived when sending them via courier.

How The Courier Imports Remission Order (CIRO) Reduces Canadian Duties

Under the law, a courier is defined as “a commercial carrier that is engaged in scheduled international transportation of shipments of goods other than goods imported by mail,” and this applies to any other form of transport.   It also includes freight forwarders in its definition of “courier.”

Under CIRO, when goods from the United States or Mexico are imported via courier, fees are reduced in these situations:

  • Customs duties are waived if the goods would owe CAD$150 or less in duties, and
  • Taxes are waived on the goods if those goods would generate taxes of CAD$40 or less.

So, these rules do not apply to large shipments, but they could be highly useful to specialist importers who only deal in small amounts of stock.  However, there are a number of exceptions to be aware of.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol or tobacco products
  • Items being sent as gifts, as per tariff item number 9816.00.00
  • Items ordered from a Canadian retailer, which are drop-shipped directly from a foreign country to the purchaser
  • Items ordered from an address or PO Box in Canada
  • Goods imported by someone other than the purchaser

The list of restrictions is relatively long and complicated, with numerous exceptions.  This is a situation where working with an experienced Canadian customs broker can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

ARGO Customs Sees Your Imports Safely Through the Border

We are specialists in Canadian importation, with deep knowledge of the laws and regulations which govern Canadian trade.  When you work with us, you can rest assured your shipments will arrive in Canada quickly and affordably.  Contact us to learn more.