January 1, 2015 was a big day for changes in the General Preferential Tariff (the "GPT").  On that day, Canada removed 72 countries from the list of nations that benefited from the GPT.  Most notable among the list of countries removed from the GPT was China, an exporting superpower, but other significant countries on the list include Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.  The full list is provided at the bottom of this page.

Accordingly, as of January 1, 2015, many importers who previously relied on the GPT duty rates to import goods into Canada will find that their favouable tariff rate may no longer exist.  If there are no other free trade agreements or other similar tariff preference sin place, the default tariff rates will be those set out in the "Most Favoured Nation" tariff – which is actually not all that favouable!

Some importers may find that their goods remain subject to the same duty rate, while others may find their duty rates increase by as much as several percentage points - with the potential to erode profit margins unless the new costs are passed onto customers.  One can see how this quickly becomes an issue for not just the importers, but their customers as well.  In some cases increased tariffs might make importations from a particular country economically unattractive, and new suppliers in other countries may have to be located.

As a result of the above changes, any importers previously relying on the GPT tariffs need to revisit their import structures to determine if their goods have become subject to increased duties under Canada's MFN tariff.  Imports should also consider and revisit their tariff classifications, valuations, and possible entitlement to other preferential tariff programs.


Countries removed from the GPT on January 1, 2015: