Customs in Canada

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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
To know what to do to import a product into Canada, consult the Guide to Importing of the Canada Border Services Agency.
For imported goods to clear Customs the following documents are needed: release with full accounting and payment (paper option); release on minimum documentation (RMD) (paper or EDI option); G7 Import One Step Release on Full Documentation (RFD) (EDI option).
For further information, consult the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Importing Samples
For import, export and re-export of commercial samples the ATA carnet is generally used. It must be written on the product that it is a free sample and that it may not be sold. A maximum quantity or value may however be applied.
For further information, consult the Canada Business website.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
The average rate is about 4.8%.


To know the 2008 Customs tariff in Canada, please consult the article Customs Tariff produced by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Some sectors are relatively protected (foodstuffs up to 30%, textiles and articles of clothing up to 18%). Moreover, since the changing of import quotas into tariff quotas, about 130 products (agricultural products mainly) are subject to different rates according to whether they are imported before or after exhausting the allocated quotas (in the latter case, the rates are generally prohibitive). For further information, click here.
Preferential Rates
Canada has signed a certain number of Customs agreements, especially the NAFTA with the USA (removal of almost all Customs duties) and Mexico (transition period until 2009), or bilateral agreements with Chile and Israel granting preferential tariffs.

Most favored nation status (MFN) is given to all the countries Canada has trade relations with that are signatories to the General agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT). The General preference tariff (GPT), the Commonwealth Caribbean country tariff (CCCT) and the Least developed country tariff (LDCT) are reduced Customs tariffs granted unilaterally to countries chosen by Canada because of their special geopolitical and economic situation. The Australia Tariff and the New Zealand Tariff reflect Canada's particular trading relationship with these Commonwealth countries.

Customs Classification
Method of Calculation of Duties
Most Customs duties are calculated Ad Valorem on the FOB value of the goods.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Importers generally go through a Customs broker or a Customs clearance agent to carry out Customs formalities, in this instance the payment of Customs dues.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
All imported products are subject to the goods and services tax (GST), 7% recoverable in input tax credits. Each province or territory also levies provincial taxes, on products sold to consumers, but this tax is not generally applied when the products are imported.

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  • Update to 2012 Customs Tariff Act

    Recent changes in Canadian tariff classifications simplified landed cost estimation and administrative processes related to customs declarations for goods.

    Bedjasses on 23 Feb 2012 related to Customs in Canada

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