(hint: it may not be the U.S.)
Country of origin is an important piece of information on all import documents. Even more so now, with increasingly more U.S. products being subject to duties in the ongoing “trade war” between our two countries. Incorrectly indicating the U.S. as the country of origin could mean you'll unnecessarily pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in duties and surtaxes.
Not as simple as it seems
Broadly speaking, country of origin is the country where a product was manufactured, produced, or grown. A product’s country of origin can impact its eligibility for reduced duty rates, preferential trade agreements, trade sanctions or import quotas.
In today’s global economy, however, manufacturers are sourcing materials and components from all over the world, making it tricky to determine the country of origin. The distinction becomes even more blurry when the goods move through several levels of wholesalers, distributors and retailers before reaching you.
There are different rules under different laws and trade agreements that spell out the specific requirements for determining country of origin (minimum percentage of component parts, degree of modification, and so on). If you’re unsure, check the details of the trade agreement you’re using or speak to an industry specialist such as a customs broker who’s well-versed in all this.
Country of origin is not…
Country of origin is not the country the goods were most recently shipped from, and does not change if an item undergoes minor modifications such as repackaging, painting or assembly after leaving its country of origin.
Check and double-check
Canadian importers should ensure their vendors – especially U.S. ones – are declaring the correct country of origin on their documents. Confirming origin from foreign vendors, distributors and wholesalers can make the difference between paying or not paying significant surtaxes of 10-25% that now apply to many U.S.-sourced products.
Let us help you save by reviewing your imports for accurate country of origin.
Information provided by: Customs Brokerage Dept. - Cole International