Blog Posts

Free Trade Agreements: Rich with opportunities for those in the know

In today’s fast-paced and evolving global marketplace, countries are increasingly turning to free trade agreements (FTAs) to enrich their relationships with important trading partners.
Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, Canada has entered into new FTAs with more than two dozen countries, including the massive but not yet ratified Trans Pacific Partnership.
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Cole International Launches Another Industry First

Cole International now offering new Free Trade services.

See Press Release.  

List of FTA Countries.

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Part 2: U.S. Customs Non-Compliance. Penalties vary, but none of it is good for business.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) assesses penalties based on level of culpability (degree of fault), which has three different designations. In decreasing order of magnitude, these are: fraud, gross negligence and negligence.
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Part 1: U.S. Customs Compliance. It’s important. What’s involved?

Importing and exporting commercial goods across the Canada-U.S. border can be a complex endeavour. Doing it right requires a solid understanding of and strict adherence to a litany of government regulations overseen by government agencies on both sides of the border. On the American side, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the gate-keeper.
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The Dreaded Audit

So you’re being audited by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)… Now what?
Anyone who ships items across the Canada-U.S. border should be aware that at some point they are likely to be targeted for a CBSA audit.
“For every customs problem, there is a solution which is straightforward, uncomplicated and wrong.”
(Officially called a Trade Compliance Verification, we’ll continue to use the word “audit” in this blog since it’s a term that everyone is familiar with.)
Audits are serious business and need to be handled carefully.  It can take you significant time and money to wade through the process and navigate the tie-ups and potholes inherent in a complicated and highly technical process.
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NAFTA Certificates Are More Than Just a Document: The Impact of Non-Compliance

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been in place for over 20 years. It allows importers to benefit from duty free rates when goods are traded between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The agreement is somewhat convoluted though, and often companies do not fully understand the multi-layered complexities of Free Trade Agreements.
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The U.S. Congress recently passed the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016, which formalizes an administrative process for temporarily lowering duties on certain imported raw materials and finished goods. 
Under the revised Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), importers will be able to petition for duty suspension or reduction for products they import that are not manufactured in the U.S.
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What are these additional charges on my freight bill?

When moving goods by common carrier, shippers expect to pay based on factors such as mode of transport, weight, volume and distance traveled. But even after these variables are accounted for, sometimes the total freight charges can be substantially higher.
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How can I ensure my broker and carrier are working together?

If you want to have problem-free border crossing of your goods, then you will want to ensure there is good three-way communication between you - the importer, your broker, and your carrier. As the importer, you can facilitate a working relationship that benefits you and your company.
By having a good working relationship and open communication with your broker and your carrier, you can avoid many issues with importing and exporting your goods.
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How can I ensure my entry is compliant?

Behind every customs compliant entry is a good customs compliance program or plan. Your broker has one, but do you?
Customs regulations are ever-changing, so it is important that you have a plan to keep current and compliant because you, as the importer, are solely responsible for the shipment. Not only will a compliance program reduce the likelihood of delays at the border and penalties from Customs, it will improve your bottom line.
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