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Importing Coffee Into Canada

If you plan to start importing coffee into Canada, you must already know that coffee is the most consumed beverage amongst Canadians above 16 – even more than tap water. The coffee importing business is also the center of a very important market globally, estimated at around US$20 billion. The income generated by growing beans supports 25 million farmers around the world. Moreover, the last decade saw the rise of legions of aficionados interested in high-quality, fairly-traded coffee, a phenomenon that only added value and relevance to this market.

So here’s some information for you to get the best out of importing coffee into Canada and to earn a profit by the right means. You’ll be surprised to find out that importing coffee beans into Canada is not a  very complex process customs-wise, but as with many other food items, taking the right steps with the help of a knowledgeable customs broker will save you a fair amount of headache.

The rules of importing coffee into Canada

Importing coffee into Canada, as it happens with most raw food and beverages, coffee is under Canada’s Excise Tax Act, which means that it is exempt of duty and of GST (Goods and Services Tax). And unlike many other raw food items, importing coffee to Canada does not oblige you to have any permit or license, although the beans may have to be approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Those who import coffee to Canada rely on a supply chain made out of multiple touch points, from producers to processors. Coffee is usually imported to North America through specialized importers, based in the U.S. or in other countries. But roasters and café owners can also trade the beans directly from farmers and growers based in producing countries.

Whether you import coffee to Canada straight from a vendor in a producing country – say, Kenya, Brazil, or Honduras – or make your orders from a specialized company, the process won’t change. Your shipment can be done right after you’ve found your source and placed your order. Since the beans can be very heavy, your cargo may be transported in an ocean container – in this case, be sure your supplier arranges it for you, as most of them do for their buyers.

Finally, when importing coffee into Canada, your seller should provide you a commercial invoice and indicate the country of origin on the packages.

Dealing with the border services

You must prepare a customs declaration for your shipment, even if no duties or taxes will be collected from it. This can be handled by your customs broker: he or she can also give you assistance with the delivery of the goods from the port to your facility.

When you import coffee to Canada, as with other commercial goods, you should go through this checklist, which is to be used in conjunction with the Step-by-Step Guide to Importing Commercial Goods into Canada. This checklist complements existing regulations, acts and references that govern the importing of commercial goods in the country.

Moreover, please be sure that the following steps are taken to avoid problems with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) while importing coffee into Canada:

  • Your shipment may be examined by the government officials. Fees charged by authorized third parties to unload and reload goods are your responsibility.
  • If you make an error in the accounting information provided to the CBSA, you are required to correct the declaration if the change is revenue-neutral or if you owe money.
  • Keep all records of your import documents for six years after you do the importation.
  • If you do not comply with customs legislation, the CBSA will use the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) to assess monetary penalties against your business.

Need any help?

So now that you know more about the process of importing coffee into Canada, you may think it is not that complicated. On the other hand, we’ve also gone through a few details that can cause unnecessary troubles with the Canadian border services. In that case, facing the whole process alone could pose a risk to your importing.

When you’re ready to start your coffee importing business, get in touch with a Clearit representative. Our team of customs brokers can help you navigate each step of the way. We’re here to help with all your import and export needs.