MILLAR KREKLEWETZ LLP is a boutique Canadian law firm with lawyers who have significant expertise in assisting businesses with respect to exporter verification.
The following is a short introduction to our services in this area.
Exporter Verification General
The Canada Border Services Agency (the CBSA) may conduct an exporter verification where exported goods have been accounted for, and a preferential rate of duty has been claimed under a free trade agreement, with the aim of ensuring that the goods do in fact qualify as originating in the corresponding territory.
To do this, the CBSA will frequently review import accounting documents and exporter or producer records. Accordingly, importers should be in possession of a valid exporters Certificate of Origin. Where a Certificate of Origin is not properly completed or additional details are needed, information may be requested from the importer, exporter, or producer to determine if the Certificate of Origin is valid.
Record keeping requirements vary among the various countries. However, the CBSA requires that all records be kept for a period of six or more years.
Separate verification procedures have been developed for each of the free trade agreements that Canada has entered into, highlights of which are as follows.
NAFTA and CCFTA Verifications
Guidelines under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) require that verifications may be conducted by way of (1) verification questionnaires; (2) verification letters; (3) visits to the premises; or (4) any other method of communication, as the parties may agree.
The process under both agreements is usually initiated by way of verification questionnaire or letter identifying the customs administration requesting the information, the goods or materials that are subject to the verification, and the period within which the verification letter must be answered or the verification questionnaire must be completed and returned (which must be not less than 30 days after the date the initiating document was sent). Further, verification visits may be performed at the premises of the exporter, or producer of a good, or the premises of a producer of supplier of a material, to verify that the goods meet the rules of origin in accordance with the NAFTA or CCFTA.
The customs administration conducting the verification will provide the exporter or producer with a written statement on whether the goods qualify for preferential tariff treatment, detailing the findings and legal basis on which the determination was made. Where applicable, the customs administration may deny or withdraw the preferential tariff treatment from the goods that are subject to a verification.
A decision to deny preferential treatment is appealable by the importer, and the exporter or producer who signed the Certificate of Origin. Where a producer who is not the exporter signs a Certificate of Origin voluntarily of the exporter, the producer will also have the right to appeal the re-determination of origin.
CIFTA and CCRFTA Verification
The verification guidelines under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) and the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA) are provided separately, but are substantially similar to those in the NAFTA and CCFTA. However, as there are several differences, the verification guidelines under each agreement will need to be consulted.
Millar Kreklewetz LLP advises clients on all aspects relating to exporter verification, and any persons with any exporter verification issues inherent in their files are encouraged to contact us for more infomation.