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Posted by on in Trade Law

As a boutique Canadian law firm practising in a niche area (we focus on Indirect Tax, Customs and International Trade matters) we often get inquiries from small businesses and even travellers seeking to appeal various tax assessments, customs infractions, seizures and the like.

The most basic question we are asked is “how can I appeal this?”.

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On May 27, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) released long-anticipated draft amendments to the Value for Duty Regulations under the Customs Act.

The proposed changes may have major implications for how most goods are imported to Canada are valued and change how the terms “sold for export to Canada” and “purchaser in Canada” are defined – two bedrock definitions under the “Transaction Value” method.

These changes will likely have significant financial consequences for many importers, and for non-resident importers (“NRIs”) specifically!

The Consultation Period on these draft regulations closes June 26, 2023.

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On Friday, March 10, 2023, the Canadian government announced it is banning the import of certain aluminium and steel products from Russia. This comes as a sanction against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and is coordinated with the US’s 200% tariff on aluminum products that came into effect the same day.

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On February 21, 2023, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) concluded its normal value review of refined sugar exported from the US by United Food Group Inc. (“United”).

Unlike re-investigations, where the CBSA reviews and redetermines normal values for all exporters in the industry, in a normal value review the CBSA only reviews the normal values of the named party – in this case United.

This particular normal value review was triggered by an importer appeal. However, while United responded to the CBSA’s RFI, the producer of the goods did not, and accordingly the CBSA concluded the review.

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Are you a U.S. based business distributing goods in Canada?

If you have over $20 M in assets or $40 M in revenues, you are likely caught by Canada’s new “child and forced labour” rules and need to deal with this or risk $250,000 in fines!

If that is concerning, keep reading!

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On January 16, 2023, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) issued a notice that it was beginning an expiry review in respect of certain carbon pipe fittings originating in or exported from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (“Vietnam”). Anyone wanting to participate in the expiry review must file a Notice of Participation with the CITT by January 31, 2023!

Both domestic producers and exporters should consider participating in the expiry review, as current anti-dumping duties (“ADDs”) for goods without a normal value are 159%, and countervailing duties (“CVDs”) are 76,360.47 VND per unit!

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The third and final phase of the Canada Border Services Agency’s (“CBSA”) Assessment and Revenue Management (“CARM”) project (i.e., “CARM R2”) now has a clear target date for release – October 2023! The exact implementation date will depend on when draft regulations, released on November 26, 2022, will be finalized. Importers, brokers, freight-forwarders, and anyone else interested in CARM has until January 10, 2023 to provide feedback on the regulations!

The draft regulations will tweak existing regulations to bring them in-line with how the CBSA envisages CARM applying in practice. Hopefully, this will take Canadian customs into the digital age more smoothly than some other recent Federal IT projects!

Tagged in: CARM CBSA Customs import
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On December 29, 2022, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) released an Order continuing the CITT’s original 2012 finding that the dumping and subsidizing of oil country tubular good pup joints (“pup joints) originating in or exported from China was threatening to cause injury to Canadian domestic injury.

The Order effectively means that the current anti-dumping duties (“ADDs”) of up to 173.4% and countervailing duties (“CVDs”) of 9,125.6 Renminbi per metric tonne will remain in place for Subject Goods originating in or exported from China.

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On September 8, 2022, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (“CITT”) issued an Order continuing its finding of a “threat of injury” in respect of hot-rolled carbon steel plate and high-strength low-alloy steel plate originating in or exported from a number of countries (as defined by CBSA and CITT: “PLA7”).

The Order effectively means the current anti-dumping duties (“ADDs”) of up to 59.7% will remain in place for Subject Goods originating in or exported from the listed countries, with the exception of Subject Goods exported from South Korea by Hyundai Steel Company (“Hyundai Steel”).

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On September 8, 2022, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) issued a notice that it would be conducting a re-investigation in respect of certain concrete rebar originating in or exported from Turkey (RB1). Responses to the CBSA’s Request for Information (“RFI”) are due October 17, 2022!

Normal values established during the re-investigation will be effective as of the date of the end of the re-investigation, while normal values currently in place will expire on that date. Importers of Subject Goods from Turkey should consider cooperating with CBSA, as the potential anti-dumping duties (“ADDs”) are as high as 41%!

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On September 1, 2022, the Select Luxury Items Tax Act (“SLITA”) officially came into effect. Vendors and importers of subject goods should be registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”), paying tax, and keeping track of the information they will need to file their first returns.

While we have written about the luxury tax previously, this blog provides further practical details on the implementation of the luxury tax in light of the CRA’s recently-released administrative guidance.

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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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