Handbook of Export and Import Commodity Codes - 2011

B-1: Introduction


In compliance with its GATT/World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments, Canada has converted its agricultural import controls to a system of tariff rate quotas (TRQs). The World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act contains changes to the Customs Tariff and to the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) which create new linkages between the Customs Tariff and the Import Control List (ICL) established under the EIPA. With the implementation of TRQs, imports of certain agricultural goods are subject to tariff rate quotas rather than the previous import prohibitions and restrictions. These controlled agricultural goods are assessed high rates of duty under an "over access commitment" tariff item unless an import permit issued under the provisions of the EIPA allows their classification under a "within access commitment" tariff item subject to a lower rate of dury.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) allocates quota for, and issues import permits in respect of, agricultural goods included on the ICL. The Trade Controls Policy Division of the Export and Import Controls Bureau (EICB), is responsible for the administration of TRQs and the issuance of import permits for goods included on the ICL under the authority of the EIPA. Canada Customs and Revenue Agency administers the TRQ system at the border. It also determines whether products are on or off the ICL, which is now a tariff classification issue. Quota allocations are administered in one of two ways: for the majority of agricultural TRQ goods, permits are issued by the DFAIT to commercial importers who have received a prior allocation of quota and who have applied for import permits; and, for the other categories of agricultural TRQ goods, on a first-come, first-served basis at the border, whereby commercial importations of these goods accounted for prior to the quota being filled are classifiable under the within access commitment tariff item.

Although all imports of goods on the ICL require import permits, a General Import Permit described in Section A5 (Number 100) may be invoked for unlimited imports at the higher rate of duty. However, any shipment that is imported under the authority of this General Import Permit must be accounted for at the high rate of duty, since the EICB will not subsequently issue a specific permit for the same shipment, regardless of whether the importer has quota.