Importing commercial goods into Canada – Determining the 10-digit tariff classification number

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What Are the Government of Canada’s Requirements Regarding the Tariff Classification of Imported and Exported Goods?

The Government of Canada requires that ALL IMPORTED and EXPORTED GOODS are to be reported in some manner to the specified federal agencies responsible for controlling and tracking the movement of international goods that cross Canada Customs (enter or leave Canada). Imported and exported goods must be identified by a detailed description as well as by the corresponding tariff classification number (a.k.a. a commodity code or an HS code) that are found in either the Canadian Customs Tariff Schedule for imported goods or the Canada Export Classification catalog for exported goods.

Canada’s tariff classification numbers are based on the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Harmonized System (HS) codes. The Harmonized System is the standardized coding system of names and numbers used in international trade. Over 200 countries representing about 98 percent of world trade use the WCO’s Harmonized System as a basis for their customs tariffs and their compilation of international trade data and statistics

Why is the tariff classification number so important?

The proper (correct) tariff classification number of all goods is a crucial component of a healthy and prosperous economy. It ensures a level playing field for all traders and it enables governments to monitor the state of the economy and establish appropriate policies.

In Canada, tariff classification numbers are taken from import and export declarations. The classification numbers are then used to determine appropriate import duty rates, negotiate trade agreements, maintain trade statistics, and effectively identify goods and shipments that pose a risk to the health, safety and security of Canadians.

Accurate tariff classification numbers are also important to the import business community because this information is timely and detailed and is therefore one of the few economic indicators that is of immediate use to importers.

Import data by tariff classification number (HS Codes) is available in the Canadian Importers Database on Statistics Canada’s website!

The Canadian Importers Database is a depository of Canadian import data. The website tracks products imported into Canada, by using the Harmonized System based codes that are reported to Canada Customs, now known as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) by importers.

On what import and export documents is a tariff classification number required by the Government of Canada?

Import: Form B3-3 – CANADA CUSTOMS CODING FORM – Field 27 – Classification No.

– Field 27 requires the 10-digit import tariff classification number that is found in the Canada Border Services Agency’s Department Consolidation of the Customs Tariff. The classification number should correspond to the imported product’s description.

Export: Form B13A – EXPORT DECLARATION – Field 18 – HS Commodity Code

– Field 18 requires the 8-digit export tariff classification number that is found in the Statistics Canada’s Canadian Export Classification. As it is the case with import classification numbers, the export classification number should correspond to the exported product’s description.

In both cases described above, tariff classification numbers are also required if the declarations are produced in an electronic format.

Do you have the correct tariff classification number?

Importers and exporters are responsible for providing accurate tariff classification numbers to the Government of Canada. The CBSA’s Memorandum D10-13-1 – Classification of goods, provides the proper tariff classification methodology for classifying goods.

The CBSA publishes a list of tariff classification rulings on its website. The CBSA also publishes from time to time, tariff classification policies that are usually based on Canadian International Trade Tribunal decisions, for specific products. These policies are found in the D10 series memoranda.

In cases where there is some uncertainty in determining the proper tariff classification number for a product that they propose to import into Canada, importers, exporters, producers or agents such as a Canadian customs broker may request an advance ruling for tariff classification from the CBSA. The instructions on how to file a request for an advance ruling is found in Memorandum D11-11-3.

How can a Canadian customs broker such as Dilas assist traders in determining the correct tariff classification number?

Dilas International will regularly publish news articles regarding CBSA policy on the tariff classification of specific goods.

Also, as your customs broker, Dilas International Customs Brokers’ experienced staff will be happy to assist you in either determining the proper tariff classification number of an imported product or with the submission of an application to obtain an advance ruling for tariff classification from the CBSA.

For further information on additional services provided by Dilas International and to obtain our contact information, please visit our website at Dilas.ca

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