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Canada is often viewed as a natural extension of the American direct selling ecosystem:  it has a common dominant language, similar culture, convenient land border, and a market of over 38 million people!

While there are many similarities, there are still unique legal and regulatory features that direct selling businesses operating in Canada must be aware of and adapt to — all of which can be easily avoided with the right planning, structuring or advice.  This includes the appropriate “Canadianization” of plan documents and overall business strategies. 

In the third of a 5-part series, we review one of the major risk areas facing the Canadian direct selling industry:

Understanding CBSA Verifications

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On February 24, 2022 the Canada Border Services Agency (the "CBSA") issued a Notice of Initiation of Investigation under the Special Import Measures Act ("SIMA") of alleged dumping and subsidizing of Mattresses originating in or exported from China. This investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Restwell Mattress Co. Ltd. And the United Steelworkers of Canada.

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The January 2020 Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) decision in Landmark Trade Services v. President of the CBSA (Case No. AP-2019-002) was a welcome relief for customs brokers because the CITT held that Landmark (acting as a customs broker for what can loosely be described as a freight-forwarding situation) was not liable as the "importer" of the goods, despite the fact the import documentation described Landmark as the importer and purchaser. Accordingly Landmark would not be on the hook for the additional duty owing from the incorrect tariff classifications used on those import documents.   

Over a year later, Landmark's victory has resulted in headaches for businesses that use similar freight-forwarding structures, as the CBSA looks to re-assess them and hold them liable for additional duty on the basis they were the owners of the goods at the time of import. To understand why, one must understand what Landmark was doing.

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On July 7, 2021 the Canada Border Services Agency (the "CBSA") issued a Notice of Initiation of Investigation under the Special Import Measures Act ("SIMA") of alleged dumping of Oil Country Tubular Goods ("OCTG") imported from Austria. This investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Canadian manufacturers of OCTG in Ontario and Alberta.

The goods under investigation are currently defined as

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On June 30, 2021 the Canada Border Services Agency (the "CBSA") issued a Notice of Initiation of Investigation under the Special Import Measures Act ("SIMA") of alleged dumping of Oil Country Tubular Goods ("OCTG") imported from Mexico. This investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Canadian manufacturers of the products in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The goods under investigation are currently defined as

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Effective May 5, 2021, as a result of an anti-dumping investigation that began in December 2020, imports of items of Upholstered Domestic Seating originating in, or exported from, China or Vietnam will be subject to provisional anti-dumping duties of 206.36% for China, and 89.77% for Vietnam for imports where the exporter has not been issued a specific rate. Provisional countervailing duties of 89.54% for imports from China and 11.73% for imports from Vietnam are also applicable.

Keep reading for more about what anti-dumping duties are, and what will happen next with Upholstered Domestic Seating

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