Big Changes Are Coming in the 2022 Edition of The WCO Harmonized System

If there is one single body to thank for how relatively easy it is to import and export goods around the world, it is the World Customs Organization (WCO). Through their “Harmonized System,” the WCO has created a single standardized reference document for more than 5,000 categories of goods. The classification and numbering system adopted by the Harmonized System is utilized by the wide majority of countries in the world, and as is a true pillar of modern global trade.

So, when the WCO announces changes to the Harmonized System, they do so well in advance because any changes will reshape how 200+ nations handle their trade.  The recently published 2022 edition will be no different.  It’s still two years away from being implemented, but both governments and traders alike should be keeping up with the biggest changes to come.

The Biggest Changes Coming in the 2022 Harmonized System

  1. New products, new challenges, new categories

A large focus of the 2022 Harmonized System is recognizing and dealing with products that are caught up in environmental or social issues.  For example:

  • There are new categories and procedures specifically for dealing with electronic waste (e-waste), a significant new environmental threat.
  • New categories are being implemented for novel tobacco products, such as “vaping” devices, which previously lacked clear categorization.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs such as drones, also receive their own categorization and handling procedures.
  1. Classifying multi-purpose intermediate assemblies

Electronic goods are beginning to come in deliberately multi-purpose forms, and the intermediate assemblies are not always indicators of a final product.  Flat-panel display modules, for example, could be used in several different applications, from tablet computers to “smart” refrigerators.  So, in many cases, such intermediate assemblies will no longer be required to identify final use.

This will also be true of many biomedical products, such as placebos and clinical trial kits.  Removing the requirements that they identify final use will both simplify and encourage trade of vital medical supplies.

  1. Identifying potentially dangerous dual-purpose products

To assist customs groups in thwarting terrorism and other criminal acts, the 2022 Harmonized System will recognize more products that could be misused.  These include radioactive materials, some bio-medical tools, and items which could be potentially turned into improvised explosive devices.

Contact ARGO Customs Today

These are just a few of the many changes being made in the 2022 Harmonization System.  If you are a regular Canadian importer, we strongly suggest you contact us at ARGO Customs to learn more details.

What Importers Should Know About Paying Duties and Taxes on Canadian Imports

There are numerous regulations to follow when importing goods into Canada, and most of the time, it's a good idea to work with a Canadian customs broker to help ensure all your goods arrive safely and within all regulations.  However, if you are importing your own materials, one of the most critical sets of laws to follow are those covering duties and taxes on imports.  If you aren't prepared to pay the right taxes, you could have a lot of difficulty getting your goods past the border.

Here are some common questions people have about this aspect of Canadian importation.

Four FAQs About Duties and Taxes on Canadian Imports

1. Who establishes taxes and duties in Canada?

In most situations, the Rates of Duty are established by the Department of Finance Canada.  In turn, these are often derived from tariffs and trade agreements passed by the Parliament of Canada.

2. Which types of taxes and duties are assessed?

Most imported goods are subject to both the Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) as well as the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) of the province you're importing the goods into.  In some cases, they may also be subject to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).  Knowing which goods are subject to which tax structures are vital for successful importation!

3. Do I have to pay duties on items imported for personal use?

Generally speaking, no - however, imports may be scrutinized to ensure they fit a reasonable definition of "for personal use."  Trying to falsely label goods which are intended for sale will get you in a lot of trouble.

In addition, there are no duties on items which are made in Canada or Mexico, even if you purchased them somewhere else, such as the United States.  However, they need to be clearly labeled as such.  You may also be asked to provide documentation of the original purchase.

4. How can I know what taxes are assessed on what products?

If you are handling your importation procedures, your best reference will be the Customs Calculator web app which contains up-to-date information on the duties assessed on every category of product.  Be careful to properly mark the country of origin; taxes will vary greatly depending on where the goods were manufactured. Also, on our social media profiles whose content is regularly promoted by The Marketing Heaven, you can always find relevant and updated information.

Or, simply hire an experienced Canadian customs broker to eliminate the uncertainty!  Our team of experts at ARGO Customs will ensure your goods arrive properly - just contact us.

Important Information About Importing Food into Canada

Importing sellable food into Canada can be particularly tricky, due to numerous regulations intended to protect Canadian people and the Canadian environment from potential threats.  Food products will be put under extra scrutiny, and you will have additional burdens to see your foods allowed across the border.

As is typical, the best approach is generally to hire a Canadian customs broker to handle the paperwork and regulatory requirements on your behalf.  However, if you are attempting to import food on your own, here are some things you should know.

Critical Information About Canadian Food Imports

1. You will probably need a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) license

A set of laws known as the Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into effect in January 2019, and they require licensing for most businesses seeking to import and re-sell food products in Canada.

These regulations are still ramping up into full usage, and at the moment, some food shipments may be accepted at the border without an SFC license, as long as they are otherwise compliant with regulations.  However, this should not be relied upon, and it is strongly advised that you apply for an SFC license as soon as possible.

2. Your foods may be subject to inspection

Border control has wide discretion in inspecting any food products being brought into Canada if they have reason to suspect they may be unsafe. Be prepared for this possibility.  In particular, if you attempt to import foods without an SFC license, there is an extremely high chance that your foods will be inspected - if they are allowed into the country at all.

3. Numerous exceptions exist

 Not all food imports into Canada are subject to SFC regulation.  These are some of the most common exceptions:

  • Food exclusively for personal use, as long as it is within maximum allowed amounts.
  • Food which is imported by an immigrant.
  • Food being conveyed between Canadian provinces.
  • Food carried on a transportation system, such as an airplane, intended exclusively for the crew and passengers.
  • Food intended for research, analysis, evaluation, or trade show exhibition - as long as it is 100kg or less.  
  • Food not intended for human consumption.
  • Food being traded between Federal penitentiaries.

ARGO Customs Makes Importation Easier

We are highly experienced trade specialists who can handle all the bureaucracy and regulations surrounding the importation of food into Canada.  Contact us for a consultation

How to Prepare to Import Goods into Canada

Canada is a thriving market that brings in business deals from all over the world, with plenty of businesses looking to begin importing their products.  However, as a well-regulated economy, becoming a legal Canadian importer can be a bit challenging.  There are numerous bureaucratic requirements to fulfill before you can begin bringing in stock.

A skilled Canadian customs broker can do a lot to make this process easier!  But if you’re trying to complete the process yourself, here are some of the most important elements.

Five Must-Dos to Legally Import Goods into Canada

1. Obtain a business number

To do any sort of business within Canada, you need an official Business Number (BN) issued by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).  This can be done via two methods:

2. Gather information on your goods

You may be required to submit a wide variety of information and documentation on the goods you plan to import.  This is necessary to determine the type of good and its tariff classification.  If at all possible, have product samples on-hand.

3. Identify the correct country of origin for each good

Anything imported must have a clear and accurate country of origin.  This is the country in which the good was originally created, not necessarily where you purchased it.

Memorandum D11-4-2 outlines the documentation needed to demonstrate this.

4. Verify all goods are legal to import

As with nearly all countries, Canada regulates what can be imported.  Memoranda Series D9 covers items which are prohibited.  

Also, you will need to determine if these goods are subject to any specific regulations or restrictions.  The most commonly-affected goods are listed in the  Other Government Departments and Agencies: Reference List for Importers.  If your goods aren’t listed there, you will also want to check Memoranda Series D19 for a more complete list.

In addition, some goods may be subject to specific tariffs and fees, as covered in the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA).

5. Consider working with a Canadian customs broker

While not a legal requirement, partnering with a Canadian customs broker will make this process far easier.  The fees charged by your broker will be far less than the fees or seized cargo you’ll be risking if you make a mistake on your paperwork.

ARGO Customs

To learn more about simplifying the process of Canadian importation, contact ARGO Customs.

ARGO Customs Informs Importers About Important Changes to Aluminum Import Procedures

September 15, 2019 - Toronto, ON - The customs regulations experts at ARGO Customs wants importers to be aware of a major change to aluminum importation procedures. Effective September 1, 2019, certain aluminum products were added to the Import Control List (ICL), labeled as Item 83. When being imported, these products must cite a General Import Permit (GIP) on their B3 documentation. This is being done to increase surveillance of the sources of the aluminum being brought into Canada and collect increased data on these sources.

These new regulations affect all unwrought aluminum products, both alloyed and not alloyed, as well as the following wrought products:

• Bars
• Rods
• Profiles
• Wires
• Plates
• Sheets
• Strips
• Foils
• Tubes and pipes
• Tube and pipe fittings
• Other casings and forgings listed in item 83 of the ICL

This will have a significant impact on importers, who must retain all documents and records relating to these imports for six years following initial importation. At any time, Global Affairs Canada may require them to provide detailed documentation of the imports. This would include the importer's name and address, proof of Canadian residency, country(s) of origin, tariff classification, and a description of the goods.

ARGO Customs recommends that importers study the new regulations carefully to ensure compliance. If importers are uncertain as to their responsibilities, ARGO Customs is happy to assist with questions or concerns.

About ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs specializes in helping their customers navigate Canadian import and export procedures, ensuring rapid deliveries with a minimum of increased costs. ARGO Customs hosts a team of highly experienced, fully licensed international trade specialists, backed by custom software designed to streamline the bureaucracy associated with Canadian imports and exports. With ARGO on their side, clients around the world can engage in Canadian trade with confidence.

For more information or press inquiries, contact: 1 (888) 311-8303 or visit

The Effect of Bill C-47 and What You Need to Know

On December 13, 2018, Parliament passed, and royal assent was given to Bill C-47 which amended the Export and Import Permits Act to more strictly control the export of weapons, specifically, by adopting the Arms Trade Treaty. The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to reduce the human rights abuses committed abroad by (primarily) Western-made weapons and weapon systems. Bill C-47 entered into force on September 1, 2019, therefore affected companies are not required to comply with it.

The Arms Trade Treaty (and Bill C-47) requires the Government to consider several criteria before granting an export license for certain military items, strategy and dual-use goods which can be incorporated into a weapon of mass destruction end uses. These permit controls apply internally and to Canadian citizens abroad.

Specifically, the Government must consider the following factors before issuing a permit:

  1. Will the technology or goods contribute to security or peace or undermine it;
  2. Will the goods or technology be used to commit serious:
    1. Violations of human rights law;
    2. Violations of humanitarian law;
    3. Violations of conventions or transnational to which Canada is a party or member (i.e., conventions against torture, et);
    4. Gender-based violence;
    5. Violence against children; or
    6. Violence against women.

Furthermore, Bill C-47 requires exporters to comply with pre-notification and reporting requirements before they export full-system conventional arms to the United States. The Government maintains several lists: Area Control; Brokering Control; Export Control; Automatic Firearms Control; and Import Control, which detail which goods or technology require a permit.

Finally, failure to comply with these new rules could result in criminal penalties and fines of up to $250,000.

Contact ARGO Customs Today

If you need assistance applying for a permit under the new regulatory regime established by Bill C-47, then consider contacting Argo Customs brokers for assistance. Our brokers have decades of experience navigating Canada’s legal and regulatory framework to help our clients find the best way to get their goods into and out of Canada. Contact our team today.

ARGO Customs Informs Canadian Exporters That Mandatory Electronic Reporting Is Coming

August 15, 2019 - Toronto, ON - The expert exporters at ARGO Customs want all Canadian exporters to know about coming changes to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regulations which will affect all outgoing shipments. Beginning June 30, 2020, the CBSA will no longer accept the paper Export Declaration Form B13A. Instead, all exports will be required to be submitted electronically.

There will be two electronic methods in place for exporters to utilize:

1. The G7 Export Reporting Electronic Data Interchange (G7-EDI)

The G7-EDI system currently exists and can be used immediately. This exchange works across the G7 nations, and significantly reduces the paperwork required for imports and exports. However, it does require an investment from the exporting client.

2. The Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS)

CERS is under development and will be seen as the primary alternative to the previous paper processes, as well as a replacement for the CAED system. It is scheduled to go live on or about March 16, 2020. If an exporter is already using the CAED system, they will be notified directly about how to activate their CERS account and migrate over to the new system.

Exporters should also be aware that one aspect of exporting reporting regulations will not change: Any goods being exported which require a permit will still need paper filing. Both the paper copy of the electronic export declaration submission, as well as the permit from the other government department (OGD) will need to be presented at the place authorizing the export. If no single place is specified, the paperwork will need to be filed at whichever CBSA reporting office is closest to where the goods will be exiting Canada.

These new changes may create some disruption at first, but ARGO Customs believes they are for the best. Paperless electronic systems speed up approvals and streamline the cargo shipment process. Once transitioned, this should be a money-saving measure for everyone involved.

About ARGO Customs

ARGO Customs is dedicated to helping Canadian shippers handle the logistical and bureaucratic burdens associated with importing and exporting. They have a full staff of fully licensed international trade specialists, with a wide and deep range of experience in their history. ARGO's state-of-the-art software solutions simplify the paperwork and utilize electronic submission whenever possible to further speed up the process.

For more information or press inquiries, call 1 (888) 311-8303 or visit

How to Efficiently Process Your Marine Container Through the Canadian Border

The Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) is responsible for processing marine containers (and more broadly, all goods that seek to enter Canada). The CBSA is charged with ensuring that these goods do not pose a danger to Canada and Canadians while ensuring that goods pass through the border as seamlessly as possible.


In that vein, a substantial majority of marine containers are authorized and processed by the CBSA with little or no delay. The CBSA spot checks a handful of containers which is based on a random selection and relative risk assessment by using advanced technology to reduce the burden on importers. The CBSA is responsible for inspections of marine containers, but it does not charge for (1) the movement of containers nor for (2) the loading and reloading of containers.

The commercial examination process is conducted by a combination of stakeholders who handle specific roles and government inspectors. The CBSA conducts the examinations but does not charge a fee, control, or influence the movement of containers to and from CBSA facilities nor the reload and offload of containers (however, the stakeholders may see more below).

The CBSA completes its examination in approximately 24 hours (but it could take longer if an issue arises). Keep in mind the CBSA conducts these inspections to intercept smugglers. CBSA agents review risk assessment scores, and based on their experience, identify containers for inspections. Smugglers can add items in a commercial container without the owner of the container or shipper being aware of the addition.


While the CBSA will not charge you for the movement/relocation of your container, the operator of the inspection facility might. The operator of the facility handles the movement and reloading of containers subject to inspections. The CBSA absorbs all the cost related to the inspection, such as personnel and equipment.

Therefore, importers could face the following charges:

-        Loading

-        Arrival

-        Terminal fees

-        Terminal Storage

-        Delivery fees

Damage to Containers/Good

The parties responsible for each stage of the movement of the container is responsible for the container and its contents. If you believe your goods or container was damaged, then your first point of contact is the shipping line to identify when the goods or container was damaged. The following scenarios are possible. First, if the goods were damaged during transportation, then you should contact the carrier and proceed through their claims process. Second, if the goods were damaged during the reload/offload process, then contact the offload service provider. These providers are required to identify any damage in writing and provide it to you. They will have their own claims process. Finally, if the goods were damaged during the inspection process, then contact the CBSA superintendent for the port of entry where the goods were damaged. The CBSA is also required to identify any damage in writing.

Contact ARGO Customs for Importing & Exporting Solutions

If you need assistance moving your marine containers through the border, then look no further than ARGO Customs. Our agents are located at all major ports of entry (land and sea) and can assist you with the customs clearing process.

Contact us for more information about importing and exporting solutions.


Argo Customs Announces Changes to Steel Shipment Processes

[July 9, 2019 – CANADA] Global Affairs Canada (GAC), one of Canada’s largest trade promotion agencies, announced recently that steel shipments may be processed using the SWI IID. This is a change from prior policies and also includes those shipments subject to safeguard measures. The information is a major change to that previously posted on GCCollab.

As one of Canada’s leading importing and exporting companies, Argo Customs is committed to keeping up with major industry changes. For those importing and exporting steel in and out of Canada, it’s important to note that:

• Goods being shipped into Canada that are subject to safeguards a require a specific permit: GIP80 or GIP81 can be used on the IID with the appropriate GAC shipment permit number provided at the time of accounting.

• There are distinct measurements for the customs tariff and UOM required by GAC for steel. For shipments of steel into Canada, importers need to indicate the proper unit of measurement, which is either KGMs or metric tons. This rule applies for all steel entries into Canada.

• The CBSA data element matching table for steel includes HS Codes for commodities that fall under the steel safeguards.

For more information regarding importing steel into Canada, visit the Global Affairs Website, paying particular attention to Section C, related to carbon and specialty steel imports or consult the professionals from Argo Customs.

About Argo Customs:

Argo Customs is one of Canada’s leading import/export brokerages, offering a range of services, including commercial and personal shipping solutions, customers and consulting services, cargo status updates, and more. Their staff can help streamline the Canadian Customs process and ensure all of the necessary paperwork and certifications are properly filed and up-to-date. To learn more about their services, call 1 (888) 311-8303 or visit

Everything You Need to Know About Importing Plants (and Plant-Products) into Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) is responsible for managing the import of plants and plant-related products to protect Canada’s animal, food, and plant resources from invasive species. Invasive species are non-native animals or plants that are introduced into a local biome and, because they may lack natural predators or other controls, run rampant over a local environment which can cause substantial ecological disaster. As part of this regulatory mandate, Canada issues permits to import these products in accordance with guidelines established under the Plant Protection Act and associated regulations.

Importing Plants and Plant-Products – Apply Online

As of June 1, 2019, importers may now apply online for an import permit for products that are regulated by the Plant Protection Act without submitting a corresponding hard copy. The streamlined online process will save importers time and money as they seek to import plant-products into Canada. All importers should familiarize themselves with the Plant Protection Policy Directives which will ensure that their applications will be quickly processed and approved.

If you are an importer, you may now submit your online applications using your “My CFIA” account. You can also submit an application via e-mail, regular mail or fax.

ARGO Customs Can Help

If you would like to begin selling exports to the Canadian market, ARGO Customs Brokers can help your business grow. With our team of expert import brokers, we can help your business with customs clearance into Canada and succeed.

Contact our team today to learn more about our importing and exporting services and solutions.