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

Importing to Canada under “NFR” Structures

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As we have previously discussed, Canada has one of the most protectionist agricultural product sectors in the world, putting import restrictions and incredibly high tariffs on basic groceries like cheese, eggs and poultry  and leading to continuing disputes with countries like the US and New Zealand over this approach.

Even if Canada is forced to change under pressure from its trade partners, tariff rate quotas (“TRQs”) will still remain a fact of life for importers – so it is best to know when and how to apply, and what to expect!

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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 October 29, 2018, Canada became fifth country to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (the “CPTPP”), joining Mexico (June 28, 2018), Japan (July 6, 2018), Singapore (July 19, 2018), and New Zealand (October 25, 2018).

Canada’s ratification meant that only one other country needed to ratify the agreement to trigger implementation of the CPTPP. Fortunately, Canada did not have to wait very long because on October 30, 2018 Australia became the sixth country to ratify the CPTTP, triggering a 60-day countdown to the implementation of the agreement on December 30, 2018.

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