A Canadian citizen or even a non-resident can import or export goods to and from Canada as provided for by the Canadian Border Services Agency or CBSA for short. The CBSA sets the regulations and requirements related to the export and import of goods in Canada. Customs brokers assist an individual or other legal entity in adhering to the set regulations and procedures necessary before either importation or exportation of goods can take place. A customs broker saves a client from the waiting and delay that might arise during the following procedures:-
1. The declaration of the intent to export or import goods.
This involves the acquisition of form A6, which is the General Declaration form. The form must be filled correctly and then submitted to the CBSA. The brokers follow up the declaration with forms A6A, A8A and A8A(B) which are the Flight or Cargo Manifests and Cargo Control Documents.
2. Determination of the Tariff Classification of goods
Tariff classification involves a determination of the fees and taxes to be paid for the goods to be imported or exported. A written request for Tariff Classification of the goods is drafted by the broker and submits the request to the appropriate department and then receives the assigned Tariff Classification code. The code assigned is determined by the nature of the goods and the corresponding department which include Agriculture, Health, IT, Energy, Transport and so forth. The code is crucial in that it is reflected in a wide range of documentation.
3. Clearance of goods for imports and Forwarding of the goods for export
Clearing and forwarding activities are involved in making sure that the necessary fees and taxes have been paid for the goods, that the packaging of the goods conforms to set regulations and that appropriate documentation is available for the goods. There are many release strategies available to these brokers that ease customs clearance in Canada. This includes Accelerated Commercial Release Operators Support System or ACROSS, Release with Minimal Documentation or RMD and Frequent Importer Release System or FIRST. All goods must go through the Canadian Customs Pars Checker.
4. Storage and Delivery.
Customs brokers offer their clients the option of either short-term or long-term storage of goods after their import or before their export. The goods are stored in bonded warehouses with CCTV surveillance to guarantee their security. All storage and handling of the goods must abide by CBSA defined protocols and procedures. Some brokers even offer to deliver the goods to their final destination or pick them up from the point of origin.
It is important to note that the forms and procedures mentioned above are just a glimpse of the duties of a customs broker.