Customs administration and trade facilitation chapter summary
The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) incorporates a new chapter on customs administration and trade facilitation (CATF). This chapter aims to reduce the transaction costs incurred by traders by simplifying, standardizing, and modernizing trade-related customs procedures to facilitate the movement of goods within the CUSMA territory. The chapter addresses various stages of the customs process with a view to reducing red tape, minimizing trade costs and increasing the volume of goods traded between the parties.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation, to which all CUSMA parties are signatories, provides the baseline for the new CATF chapter. The new chapter includes commitments that will lead to greater predictability, consistency and transparency in customs matters. CUSMA partners have also agreed to continue to collaborate, exchange information and explore new and innovative ways to facilitate trade following the entry into force of CUSMA.
Technical summary of negotiated outcomes: Customs administration and trade facilitation chapter
- Builds on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which is the international baseline for provisions that facilitate the movement, release and clearance of goods.
- Provides a number of benefits to traders, including:
- predictability, consistency and transparency in customs matters relating to goods;
- ensuring that traders are equipped with the information necessary to legitimately and competitively trade goods within the CUSMA region; and
- commitments that will contribute to a business environment that facilitates trade.
- All parties have committed to maintain minimum de minimis thresholds for waiving customs duties and taxes on goods imported by courier from other CUSMA parties:
- Canada has agreed to maintain a de minimis threshold of at least $150 for customs duties and $40 for taxes at the time or point of importation.
- the parties have also agreed to streamline administrative procedures for courier companies regarding the assessment and payment of duties and taxes.
- Introduces new obligations and trade-facilitation concepts that will help traders with their bottom line when competing in CUSMA territory, such as:
- a commitment for Canada to maintain procedures that apply fewer customs formalities than those applied under formal entry procedures, to express shipments valued at less than $3,300;
- advance rulings on customs-valuation criteria, in accordance with the WTO Custom Valuation Agreement;
- measures that encourage consistency and predictability in the tariff classification and customs valuation of goods;
- a commitment to maintain a single-window system that enables traders to submit all import documentary requirements electronically, with limited exceptions, through a single portal;
- informing importers when there is a delay in the release of their goods;
- provisions that allow for circumstances in which traders may correct errors without penalty; and
- provisions that encourage customs officials among all parties to carry out their duties with professionalism and integrity.
Cooperation and Enforcement
- Includes a commitment to co-operate among the Parties for the purposes of assisting each other in the enforcement of laws and regulations related to customs offences and to ensure the accuracy of claims for preferential duty rates under CUSMA.
- Provides for the Parties to strengthen their enforcement efforts and to enhance cooperation in order to promote compliance within the CUSMA territory and assist the customs administrations to prevent fraudulent acts from going undetected.
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