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Importing Goods From China


Shannon asked:

Our company has been exporting goods to Canada for years. Some of these products are now going to be made in China. They will be shipped, complete, clearing customs in the US to be warehoused at our location in Ohio, before being shipped to our Canadian customers as needed. What we are trying to figure out is how to ensure that these products now made in China clear customs in Canada as smoothly as possible.


Assuming that the company is familiar with the procedure to import goods into Canada, they should also be aware that the goods may be subject to other government department requirements, if for example, they are imports of most steel, clothing and textile products, which are subject to the provisions of the Export and Import Permits Act and must therefore be accompanied by the appropriate import permit issued by International Trade Canada.

In addition, imports of various animal, plant and food products are also subject to special document and inspection requirements on their entry into Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) assists the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with the enforcement of these requirements. It should also be noted that the CFIA signed a regulatory directive requiring heat or chemical treatment of all solid wood cargo crating from China (including Hong Kong) as on Jan. 4, 1999. These urgent new measures are to reduce the risk of Asian long-horned beetles entering Canada. All of the beetles found in Canadian port cities and inland warehouses recently have been traced to wood cargo crating from China. The following CFIA website contains specific information regarding these new measures.

The importer should be aware that goods produced in the People's Republic of China are entitled to the General Preferential Tariff (GPT) treatment provided that certain conditions are met. This tariff treatment applies a lower rate of duty than the same kind of goods originating in a country that is entitled only to Most Favoured Nation Tariff treatment. Aside from the condition that the goods must originate in the GPT entitled country, the goods must also be shipped to a consignee in Canada on a through bill of lading. From the information provided, it appears that the goods would be shipped from China to the U.S, cleared U.S. Customs and warehoused in a facility in Ohio. The goods would then be shipped from the Ohio warehouse to a Canadian destination. This does not comply with the condition of shipment to Canada on a through bill of lading and therefore the goods would not be entitled to GPT treatment. They would be subject to the rate of duty provided for in the Canadian Tariff to the Most Favoured Nation Tariff treatment. There are conditions whereby the goods could retain their GPT treatment status if they remain under U.S. Customs control for a limited amount of time, but that information is not evident in this case.

Further information regarding import requirements can be found on the CBSA website or use the Step-by-Step Guide to Importing, found on our Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Information Centre (SME). To contact a Customs client services officer during office hours, call the Automated Customs Information Services (ACIS) line at 1-800-461-9999.

About the author

Chris Kealey is an informations officer at the Canada Border Services Agency.
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