In order to ensure that the provisions set out in the NAFTA to facilitate business in North America reach their full potential, Chapter Sixteen of the Agreement permits the temporary cross-border movement of business travelers between the NAFTA countries. The provisions contained within Chapter 16 complement rather than replace a NAFTA country's existing provisions for temporary entry.
There are four categories of travelers eligible for temporary entry from one NAFTA country into another. They are: business visitors, traders and investors, intra-company transferees and professionals. There are specific qualifying criteria which every potential entrant must meet under each of the categories in order to be permitted entry into another NAFTA country. For more specific information on the temporary entry criteria set out in the NAFTA, please see Cross Border Movement of Business Persons and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
If you qualify under all of the criteria set out in the NAFTA for one of the four categories of temporary business traveler, have provided the correct documentation upon attempting to enter a NAFTA country under one of these categories, and are still encountering problems entering the U.S. or Mexico for business purposes, you can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade by phone at 1-800-267-8376 to report your experience. They may be able to provide you with additional advice.
It should be noted that any country, including the NAFTA countries, has the sovereign right to determine the admissibility of persons entering its territory. Canadians traveling to the U.S. or Mexico must comply with the existing legal requirements associated with entry into these countries. This includes demonstrating a legitimate purpose for the trip and a well established reason for return, among others.
The NAFTA did not affect the phase-out of tariffs which had been agreed upon under the Canada- U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The phase-out of FTA tariffs was completed on January 1, 1998. As of that date, virtually all tariffs on Canada- U.S. trade in originating goods were eliminated. Some tariffs remain in place for certain products in Canada's supply-managed sectors (e.g. eggs, dairy and poultry products). In the U.S., tariffs remain in place for certain products such as sugar, dairy, peanut and cotton.
On January 1, 2003, the final tariff reduction in the Canada-Mexico phase-out schedule was done. The Mexican Administration showed its commitment to the NAFTA by proceeding with the tariff cuts in the face of significant political opposition from certain sectors. Another good example of our commitment to further trade liberalization through NAFTA is the amendment of rules of origin for certain products, including alcoholic beverages and petroleum/topped crude oil, which was implemented on January 1 as well. These changes make it easier for manufacturers of these products to qualify for duty-free treatment under the NAFTA.
For Canadian tariff lines, please consult the Canada Border Services Agency to determine the tariff rates which apply. For U.S. rates, please consult the U.S. International Trade Commission website Mexico has posted the NAFTA tariff schedule on their Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores site.
The Canada Border Services Agency publication Trilateral Customs Guide to NAFTA provides an overview of the rules of origin and procedural obligations for customs administration.
The Customs administrations of the three NAFTA Parties maintain a NAFTA customs-related websites which contains useful advisory information on all three countries in English, French and Spanish. For Canada, please see the Canada Border Services Agency's NAFTA page.
Further information can also be obtained by contacting the Customs administrations directly.