Blanket certificates of origin under Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) are valid for a maximum of 12 months. Each FTA has different certificate of origin formats.

FTA’s include:

  • NAFTA – North American Free Trade Agreement
  • CIFTA – Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement
  • CCFTA – Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement
  • CCRFTA – Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement
  • CEFTA – Canada-European Free Trade Association

Importers are obliged to pay full duty when goods arrive without a valid certificate of origin covering all qualifying products imported; it is an offence subject to penalties under the Customs Act to claim preferential tariff treatment without proof of origin.

Customs auditors are very thorough in the verification of origin. Importers taking advantage of FTA’s must ensure their suppliers understand what they are signing, and that they keep records to back-up the claims made on their certificates of origin. Failure to prove that goods qualify results in penalties and assessments to ‘innocent’ importers.

Expert consulting and comprehensive trade advisory services can be critical to the success and overall profitability of import activities. The Omnitrans professional and knowledgeable consulting team provides leading customs and trade consulting services ranging from full-scale audits to verifications of specific target activities such as FTA’s, depending on the client’s needs.

Omnitrans Consulting Services include:

  • Assess compliance with CBSA and Departmental regulations related to imports.
  • Assess the integrity of trade data received and transmitted to Customs.
  • Educate staff with regards to Customs compliance measures.
  • Assess Financial exposure with regards to necessary amending entries and potential penalties.
  • Identify refund and special program opportunities related to your business.
  • Reduce exposure to the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS)

Please contact our technical consulting team for additional information concerning this and other recent developments.