Archive for September, 2011

Somebody Help Me!

September 6th, 2011

It’s the kind of call we get 15-20 times a day, at each of our 3 Ontario locations. The nature of our business is confusing to most and in addition to our regular customers, businesses new to the process of exporting and importing product to Canada often call us for guidance.

We do our best to offer assistance and in that light, we thought it might be helpful to post some of the more common questions we field each day… along with our responses.
1. Do I need a customs broker?
This is probably the most common question we get and to keep it short; no you don’t. Just like you don’t have to be an experienced climber to scale Mount Everest but years of experience and knowledge sure comes in handy. As a consumer, if you are crossing the border with goods that are subject to duties and taxes, the customs officer will walk you through it. As a business, that type of guidance isn’t readily available. It all depends on what value you place on your time and how complicated an entry you have to complete. Most businesses defer to our expertise in this regard.

2. What’s the rate of duty?
Does the product imported originate from India or Indiana? As you know, an increasing amount of products are manufactured offshore. The majority of well know American brands are distributed from U.S. centers, but not manufactured there. If the origin of raw materials and assembly was primarily outside of Canada, USA or Mexico, then it may not fall under the NAFTA agreement and duties may apply. We have exact tables to allow us to answer your duty inquiry on the spot. If the rate of duty isn’t published on a new product, we can find out on your behalf.

3. How much do you charge?
That depends. The key factors are how much money we pay out on your behalf, the terms of payment arranged and whether it is a one line entry that takes 5 minutes or a complex transaction that can take hours. We’ve seen just about every situation, so we can give you a very close estimate at the time of your inquiry.

4. What tax do I pay?
As a commercial enterprise importing product from the USA, you will be charged 5% GST. We are required to charge the applicable HST (by province), on the total amount of our fees for services rendered.

5. How do I get it here?
We offer 3PL (third party logistics) services in order to help you transport your goods across the border. Based on a combination of weight and size, it may make more sense to use a courier direct to your destination. Typically on larger shipments (skid(s) of freight), we contract with one of our affiliated LTL carriers to our warehouse in Port Huron. We then perform the clearance and bring into Canada on our daily shuttle. By having the bulk of your journey as a US domestic move, this decreases the cost of transport significantly on larger shipments. Again, we can work this out and advise you up front-no surprises
In the spirit of adding clarity to customs clearance, we trust this has been helpful and we look forward to any comments or further questions you might have.

Our Definition of the Day!
Anti-Dumping Duty “A penalty imposed on suspiciously low-priced imports, to increase their price in the importing country and so protect local industry from unfair competition.”