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Sweeping Changes to Canada’s Food Regulations

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017

It is fair to say that Canada’s food safety programs strive to keep pace with the global food environment, with a view to protect the health of Canadians. For years the federal government has been working on improving standards in food safety while keeping an eye on harmonizing the Canadian system as much as possible with those of its key trading partners. Well, the long-awaited modernization of Canada’s food regulatory landscape is finally coming to a close: indeed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) – one of many Canadian food regulators – published proposed new regulations in the Canada Gazette Part I publication issued January 21, 2016. You may access this publication by following this link: The CFIA notice begins at page 258 by providing a very instructive backgrounder on this colossal food modernization undertaking. Then from page 338 to 540 the proposed text of the new regulations is reproduced in its entirety; it is aptly called Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. The proposed regulations aim to combine various disparate food requirements found in numerous regulations under a common regulatory umbrella. It deals with food standards of course, but also with food packaging, labeling, registrations, licensing, inspections, to name but a few. One noteworthy provision deals with the mandatory requirement to possess a fixed place of business in Canada in order to import food. Failing that, non-resident importers can only bring food from a foreign state that has a food safety system equivalent to Canada, or make the appropriate arrangements with a Canadian-based importer. Minor exceptions apply in specific circumstances. It is worth noting that the new regulations are at the proposal stage at the moment. CFIA invites views from stakeholders to be communicated to them in the next 90-days, or until April 21, 2017 to be precise. Food is one of the most complex commercial sectors to manage when ensuring compliance with import and export trade requirements. Hard to imagine but food is perhaps more heavily regulated than, say, arms and munitions. Health and safety of consumers is of course at the top of the regulators’ mind, with trade facilitation a distant second. Those involved in food trade...

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CETA Will Increase US Exports to Canada: That Should Make A President-Elect Happy

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016

Free trade is complicated business, as will soon find out US president-elect Donald Trump. NAFTA may very well be up for a major grooming, but CETA (crossing fingers now) will increase US exports to Canada and advance the balance of trade in favor of the Americans. And a healthy trade balance is a principle very dear to Mr. Trump who’s looking to restore fairness in trade deals. On the flip side, are more imports bad for the Canadian economy? Imports typically get a bad rap and are usually seen as the culprit in international trade. Well the answer is no, considering that those imports will create jobs and provide Canadian export opportunities with the EU. And Canada is well positioned to attract those US manufacturers and investors who will be looking north to get their goods into the EU market. One of the least talked about repercussion of CETA is the impact it will have on US manufacturing moving to Canada. Perhaps not the entire US plant will be moving here, but some part of the manufacturing process will certainly migrate north. Most CETA analysis reported in Canadian media focuses on threats to certain Canadian industries; attention hasn’t yet shifted south concerning our trade with the USA. No doubt US manufacturers will have a serious look at Canada to produce goods that are primarily aimed for EU clients, in addition to serving their Canadian market. Some serious planning will be going in meeting rooms across the fifty states: How to manufacture enough in the US to ship NAFTA qualifying inputs/components duty free across the Canadian border, and then sufficiently transform or add value to those inputs/components in Canada to make a qualifying CETA good entering the EU with preferential treatment? That will be the question. Increasingly US exports to the EU will shift to Canada. Semi-manufactured US goods will come to Canada first, where sufficient Canadian content can be added to qualify for CETA. Although not an agreement that should concern American manufacturers at first glance, they will soon be learning CETA rules of origin that matter most to them. Perhaps getting better at it then most Canadian manufacturers...

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CBSA looks into furniture imports for tariff classification accuracy

Posted by on Nov 28, 2015

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is still very actively examining imports of furniture for tariff classification accuracy. Why? Because there is possibly 8% to 10% in additional tariff revenue to collect. Those familiar with the Canadian Tariff Schedule structure will know that a distinction is made between furniture used in a domestic dwelling as opposed to furniture used in public buildings and outdoor spaces. If your business imported furniture in Canada in the past, now would be a good time to examine those customs filings very closely. Many forget that said filings stay alive for a period of 4 years, and so yes, those furniture shipments from 2012 are still at risk of a retroactive customs duty assessment. Because tariff classification accuracy of furniture requires more than just knowledge of the furniture business, and because it has been the substance of many court decisions, those concerned with the potential risk raised in this post would be well advised to get some external advice from counsel familiar with this...

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