Brokerage and customs questions

I will be interviewing a prominent Canadian customs brokering firm this coming week. It would be great if you could post the questions you’d like to have answered in the comments section; otherwise you’ll be stuck with whatever I happen to come up with on my own.

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  1. Mike C says:

    1. Is there any way to reliably send small retail packages (1. Is there any way to reliably send small retail packages (<$200 US value) to Canada without having to incur large brokerage fees (with a shipper) or sometimes crazy delays with the USPS? 2. How does one send product samples to Canada without incurring major customs hassles? For example, this week I sent some sample items, a bit of fabric and some patterns to a Canadian manufacturer. They got stopped at the border becaus e the invoice value was $0 and demanded that I tell them the true value. 3. If I need to send fabric that originated in Asia to Canada via a California warehouse owner by a distributor, what fees should I expect to pay? Am I going to have to pay duties on it? Will the recipient have to pay GST/PST on it? The fabric would then be manufactured into finished goods in Canada and then shipped to our warehouse in the United States. Can I get duties and taxes back at that point?

  2. Phyllis says:

    Kathleen, this may not even really apply in this instance, but here goes anyway: do harmonized codes still factor into import/export?

    Years ago in a former job my company had some headaches with nations that wouldn’t recgonize certain codes, and our customers had to pay unreasonable (and very high) duty fees.

    I’m just wondering if those barriers still exist.


  3. David says:

    I certainly hope your customs broker source can actually convey to those, that producing in Canada can be pretty simple. I wouldn’t rely on the “guy’s in brown ” to give a clear, simple picture. It is in their best interest to make it complicated and fee driven, as I’m sure many have experienced. A dedicated customs broker in the apparel/sewn products sector can save you alot of money, hassle, and time by specializing in this area. Maybe this source can actually shed some light on the proximity to many US destinations too. Some Canadian customs brokers have freight divisions also that offer competitive rates to augment their services as well. Quick note to Mike. If you had a package stopped at the Canadian border, it most likely never made it into the hands of Canada Customs. This delay is a ploy used by “couriers” to get them to act as your broker(for a fee)and had you put a $2.00 value, “goods not for resale”, on the waybill,this most likely would not have occured. Firstime shippers to Canada are especially singled out and targeted. I find Fedex the most reliable for small package delivery, anywhere in the world. And they are upfront. Want a laugh? Try calling UPS Canada for billing information or customs explanation . I don’t bother anymore.

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