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Free trade agreements (FTAs) are made between nations that want to ease the flow of goods between countries by reducing fees and duties. Canada is regularly referred to as an open trade country. Canada has 12 active free trade agreements with the US, Mexico, Israel, South Korea and others, with 8 others currently in negotiations.
As a Canadian business that imports and exports goods, you should be taking advantage of any available active agreements that could benefit your business. We’ve put together a few pointers for evaluating FTAs.
Are the items shipped directly from another country?
Firstly, if your goods are shipped through another third country during the shipping process, it may still fall within the FTA requirements. If the importer wishes to claim FTA benefits, they will need to prove that the goods were moved simply “in bond” through another country, and not to enter into the market in that country.
Have you complied with rules of origin?
Rules of origin is critical for complying with the regulations of an FTA. If the goods you are importing has contents from a foreign country, you must verify if it still complies with the FTA’s rules of origin. Some goods containing foreign materials may qualify depending on the rules for those tariffs or the regional value content.
Have you verified the goods are applicable to benefits?
It’s a common misconception that FTAs ensure that all imported goods are duty free. The rate of duty is determined through the specified tariff classification within the agreement. It is important that you are classifying your goods correctly to avoid any delays or penalties when clearing your package.
Have you filled out the required documentation properly?
It is of utmost importance that the supplier has accurate information regarding the goods, in order to ensure your compliance with the requirements of the FTA. For smooth shipping transactions; clear, complete documentation is king.
The bottom line is that not all Free Trade Agreements are created equal. Some may benefit you more or less depending on the specifications within the agreement. There is no doubt that navigating these various FTAs can be a challenge, but decoding them and using them to your advantage is worth your while. Do you have any more questions? Reach out to us here.