Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
As a Canadian importer you can take advantage of Canada’s position on the global marketplace to access a vast array of products from various suppliers in countries around the world. To get your hands on their goods there is also a great choice of modes of transportation and carriers from which to choose from, so it would make sense to use different customs brokers to help you out wouldn’t it? That might not be so true and so let’s explore why.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has the responsibility to assign to each importer a unique single importer identification number. This allows the Agency to link any activity, goods imported, modes of transportation used or even which customs broker manages the account to one single importer number. Therefore the responsibility for complying with regulations rests solely with with the importer.
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Customs require the importer to submit complete and consistent declarations with a particular focus on H.S. Classifications, valuation, use of trade certificates, terms of sale and country of origin. The Agency ensures that importers comply by completing post entry audits which they can focus on one specific point such as the country of origin or, perform a larger all inclusive audit. Should importers have any error found during an audit, they could be subject to a fine under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System and see additional taxes and interests added which could also ultimately lead to import privileges being taken away. Every January and July, the Agency publishes a Priority List on which it identifies specific goods that are going to be targeted for audit. However, an importer’s records can be subject to an audit at any time, whether they are or not on the list.
Multiplying the number of customs brokers that work on your business could increase your risks of inconsistent customs declarations, due to the fact that various brokers apply H.S. Classifications differently. There’s equally the fact that not all brokers have the same business practices; some aim for fast movement of shipments at the cost of detailed and carefully skilled declarations.
Your Best Option
Although importing goods implies a good number of players, having a single broker working for you is a strong strategy to opt for in order to keep yourself and your business well aligned in regards to the different requirements and regulations that affect you.
Customs brokers are professionals when it comes to international trade that can ensure proper H.S. classification, consistent reporting and the centralization of your information which allows for better management in the end. Properly filled out declarations, which include the use of trade agreements, allow you to save costs in terms of duty relief. Your customers broker will provide a steady input and output of information to simplify your dealings with the CBSA.
Your best bet in international business, in having a partner that can open the doors of the global market to you, is your customs broker.