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    11th Annual Food Forum

    Join us at I.E.Canada’s 11th Annual Food Forum on June 14 in Ottawa! This year is I.E.Canada’s 85th Anniversary, and we’re making the celebration a big one! This year’s Food Forum is being held in conjunction with I.E.Canada’s… Read More

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    85th Annual National Conference and CATIE Awards Gala

    Come and celebrate our 85th Anniversary in Ottawa on June 13 & 14! In honour of our 85th, we’re moving the party to Ottawa! Because it’s such a big year, we’re holding our Annual Conference & CATIEs together with the… Read More

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    The CATIE Awards were created to recognize Canadian companies and individuals who have demonstrated international excellence and made a difference in trade and compliance. NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!

I.E. Canada News

Canada Needs Simpler, More Consistent Customs Procedures

 Posted on March 1, 2016

Guest post by Stephen Tapp, Research Director at IRPP, summarizes Joy Nott’s recent commentary, published as part of IRPP’s forthcoming publication, Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities.

redesigning_canadian_tradepolicyToday, the IRPP released a new commentary, written by Joy Nott (President of the Canadian Importers and Exporters Association — I.E.Canada), as part of our forthcoming research volume, Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities.

Joy Nott argues that Canada should implement policies and procedures that make it easier for companies to do business in, and with, Canada. As Jacques Roy shows in his chapter on transportation, Canadian businesses generally are not as concerned with clearance times at border crossings, ports and airports as they are with what happens “behind the border.”

Canadian traders want policymakers to pay more attention to the potentially negative impact that import procedures can have after goods have cleared customs. Nott describes this as the “supply chain echo” — whereby imports can be affected by trade policies, procedures and penalties long after goods have cleared customs and crossed borders.

This matters because Canadian firms are increasingly importing in order to export. In Canada’s manufacturing sector, for instance, about one-third of firms are two-way traders — due to the fact that the technologically-advanced goods that we export often require imported inputs.

Much of the thinking in Canadian trade policy, Nott says, mistakenly presumes that the supply chain ends with customs clearance. In reality, the red tape that occurs after firms import is a tangled web of regulations that can feel overwhelming for many Canadian businesses that trade internationally.

Changes to Canada’s policy thinking could significantly improve the global competitiveness of Canadian firms. Policymakers need to be aware of the unintended supply chain echo, and to take steps to mitigate its negative effects on businesses. Nott recommends that Canada’s import and export portfolios be merged under one ministry. And in our approach to designing regulations and reducing red tape, we should not necessarily seek fewer rules, but work toward simpler ones with more consistent outcomes. With these changes, she says that Canadian trade policy would better support our international traders — both exporters and importers — for the highly competitive global business environment of the twenty-first century.

You can read the full commentary here.


Canadian Business is United: It’s Time for TPP

 Posted on October 1, 2015

Download the full Press Release word_icon

Ottawa, October 1, 2015 — The undersigned organizations, representing leading companies, farmers and hundreds of thousands of small businesses from sectors and regions across Canada, call on governments to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Canadian companies depend on trade to expand their markets, create jobs and bring consumers more choice and better prices, which is why Canada has always been at the forefront of global trade cooperation. The TPP is the most important agreement of its kind in over 20 years and would position Canadian companies to compete on a level playing field in the world’s fastest growing region for generations to come.

We strongly believe that a high standard and comprehensive TPP covering 800 million people and 40% of the world economy will open new opportunities for Canadians. It will also build on the hard-fought advantages Canada has secured in past trade agreements with the United States, Mexico and Europe.

Failure to reach a deal in Atlanta would be a major disappointment for Canada. Even more damaging, however, would be for Canada to walk away while others complete a deal without us. The time for an agreement is now.

This is a joint statement from the following associations:

Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Canadian Services Coalition
Canadian Intellectual Property Council
I.E. Canada
Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada
Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
CAFTA (Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance):

Canola Council of Canada
Canadian Meat Council
Canadian Sugar Institute
Canadian Pork Council
Grain Growers of Canada
National Cattle Feeders’ Association
Canadian Canola Growers Association
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
Barley Council of Canada
Cereals Canada
Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association


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G. Will Dubreuil
Director, Public Affairs and Media Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

I.E.Canada to Have Seat on Newly Formed CITT Advisory Committee

 Posted on August 15, 2015

There has been an exciting new development at the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT). The CITT has created an Advisory Committee to assist the CITT by seeking recommendations related to the Tribunal’s accessibility, transparency and fairness. Even more exciting is the fact that I.E.Canada, along with other associations, has been asked to sit on the committee. This allows industry, for the first time, to have a seat at the table. And it allows you, our members, to have a say on how international trade law, regulation and policy is interpreted in Canada.

The new CITT Advisory Committee will be replacing the Bench and Bar Committee. The new committee will be made up of a broad range of stakeholders including industry associations, legal associations and government departments. If necessary, the Advisory Committee will strike subcommittees to address specific issues as they arise.

The CITT says that it is specifically looking for “…recommendations about the degree to which its rules and procedures are practical and reflective of the commercial realities in which its stakeholders operate.” The committee will not be discussing specific cases, nor will its members advocate. Rather, the committee is a way for the CITT to better engage with trade and to ensure that CITT has a pipeline to the issues most relevant to trade.

I.E.Canada is very encouraged by this move and is optimistic that the Advisory Committee will serve as an important conduit through which both CITT and industry can communicate with each other. CITT has opened a direct communications channel with trade, and this is a tremendous opportunity for I.E.Canada. Expect us to be coming to you over the next few months for input on the issues and opportunities that we can bring to the attention of this new committee.


I.E. Canada Blog

Low Canadian Dollar Is a Tax Windfall for the Canadian Government

 Posted on February 1, 2016

In my role with I.E.Canada, I am often asked what my thoughts are on the state of the Canadian dollar versus other international currencies.

When our Canadian dollar was above par, I was asked what the impact of our high dollar was on our exporters. The assumption was that a high Canadian dollar (against the US dollar) would make Canadian exports non-price competitive on the world market, unless there was something special or specific about the product. There was great concern at that time that having a very high Canadian dollar was going to negatively impact our economy and that Canadians would lose jobs because of it.

While it was not very long ago that I was talking about an at par dollar, more recently I’ve been asked what impact the rapidly tumbling Canadian dollar will have on our exporters (BNN – January 20). On the flip side to the thought that exporters are hurt by a high dollar, it is assumed that exporters would benefit from a low Canadian dollar. It is true that when our Canadian dollar is below par (compared to the US dollar) it gives Canadian exporters a price advantage when selling their goods on the world stage, but it’s a double-edged sword.

Most Canadian exporters and manufacturers must import parts and components in order to produce a product for export. With the Canadian dollar falling as rapidly as it has recently, a Canadian exporter’s purchasing ability using Canadian dollars on the world market to buy the required parts and components is hurt. The fact that they have to use more Canadian dollars to buy the parts and components does not automatically mean that they can increase their selling price on their exports. Often, export sales are based on long-standing contracts, with pricing set long before the dollar started its downward slide. That means that as the cost of materials goes up, and the selling price remains the same, profit margins are squeezed, which is not a good news story for exporters.

The other thing that you often don’t hear mentioned is the fact that as the Canadian dollar falls relative to other international currencies, it becomes a tax windfall for the Canadian government on dutiable imports. Most Canadian importers buy in global markets using US dollars. While not mandatory, the US dollar is the de facto currency of choice for most global purchases.

As any Canadian importer knows, at time of entry into Canada the value of the imported goods must be converted from whatever currency they were purchased in into Canadian dollars in order to calculate any duties and taxes owing. As the dollar falls, the values declared to CBSA on imported goods rises and, if goods are dutiable, that results in more duty being paid to the Canadian government, along with a higher amount of GST also being paid. That extra duty is a permanent gain for the Canadian government and a permanent hard cost that cannot be recovered by the Canadian importer.

As far as I know, no one has asked how that additional duty will be spent by the government. I don’t actually know how much additional duty we are talking about, but in passing somebody mentioned the number $1 billion to me – but I believe that’s just speculation.

While the value of international currencies are cyclical and we’ve all seen the Canadian dollar rise and fall before, what is unique about recent events is how fast the dollar fell from parity down to where it is today, at approximately $.70 US. Canadian supply chains, whether they be import or export supply chains, have a hard time adapting to such volatile change in such a short period of time. That’s what’s different about what’s happening right now compared to past decades when the Canadian dollar would slowly sink into the $.70 US range.

What Canadians need is stability – boring, monotonous stability. We need our dollar to sit comfortably below the US dollar and to fluctuate only mildly over sustained periods of time in order to give Canadian business leaders and foreign investors looking at Canada the confidence that they need in order to grow their businesses in Canada.

I don’t know if I’m an eternal optimist or just biased when it comes to international trade, but I do think that there are cracks of blue skies that are potentially on the horizon for Canadian importers and exporters. If agreements such as CETA and the TPP actually become ratified over the next couple of years, I believe those agreements will give Canadian importers and exporters alike opportunities to grow, and diversify, and with that will come Canadian jobs and a stable Canadian dollar.

My fingers are crossed that politicians, whether American, European or Canadian, don’t blow the above opportunities for Canada’s economy.

Canadian Importers Travel “Back to the Future”

 Posted on November 4, 2015

Canadian Importers Travel “Back to the Future” and Gain Fair, Transparent and Free Trade

If you are a fan of the movie trilogy “Back to the Future” you know that the dates October 25th, 26th and 27th, 2015 are the three days in time in which each of the centres on. The premise of the trilogy is that wrongs from the past can be fixed by simply traveling backwards and forwards in time, with the goal being to build a better future.

For years now, importing into Canada from countries where free trade agreements have been negotiated has become more CBSA created fiction rather than the transparent application of the Customs Act to help international traders build a better future for Canada. It seems to all have started when corn chips were imported more than eight years ago. That seemingly innocent series of import transactions set forth a chain reaction in the fabric of the international trade/time continuum that only Marty McFly and Doc Brown could understand.

Last week, the CITT released its decisions on BRI-CHEM SUPPLY LTD.(AP-2014-017), EVER GREEN ECOLOGICAL SERVICES INC.  (AP-2014-027) and SOUTHERN PACIFIC RESOURCE CORP. (AP-2014-028), each of which was an appeal in the same vein as the now infamous FRITO-LAY CANADA, INC. V.PRESIDENT OF THE CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY (AP-2010-002).

While the story is too complicated to explain in this brief blog, it’s important to understand that one of the biggest issues Canadian importers have had with CBSA’s logic, and the issue at the heart of all of the above cases, was the fact that CBSA applied what seems akin to science fiction from the movie screen to Canadian ports of entry. The concept of “zero refund position” is not written or defined anywhere in the Customs Act or any free trade agreement (FTA) legislation, yet CBSA argued that if an import entry originally declared as MFN and duty-free became dutiable due to a change in tariff classification at some point in the future, and more than a year had passed since time of entry, the importer had no right to claim duty free treatment under a FTA by filing a revenue neutral correction on that shipment.

Instead of the entry in question transitioning seamlessly in a revenue neutral correction from one duty-free transaction (duty free under MFN tariff treatment and tariff classification “a”) to another duty-free transaction (duty free under a FTA tariff treatment and corrected  tariff classification “b”), the CBSA argument was based on the false assumption that the import entry would have to go through a Nano second of time where the goods were dutiable (MFN tariff treatment and tariff “b”) – in other words, a rip in the fabric of the international trade/time continuum!

If that Nano second of time (where goods were dutiable) took place after the period where refund claims could be filed under a FTA, the importer was stuck in a time warp. In a “Back to the Future” style scenario, they were trapped in the future with goods that qualified for a FTA (in the past, the present and the future!), but no way to file the corrected entries in the present without having to pay nonrefundable duties. The CBSA argument contradicted everything importers thought to be true about correcting revenue neutral entries that qualified for FTA benefits.  For many years into FTAs such as NAFTA, revenue neutral adjustments were allowed, but suddenly, there was a rip in the fabric of time and what was true in the past was not true in the present nor the future!

It is somewhat fitting that the CITT released these decisions on October 26, 2015, one of the key dates in the movie “Back to the Future”, where  Marty McFly and Doc Brown go back to the past to fix what’s wrong with the future.  This entire “zero position refund” debacle has left Canadian importers stuck in a similar type of time warp for years now. We can only hope that the recent ruling of the CITT in favour of importers yet again ends this whole sad story.

Traditionally, when CBSA has been asked to defend their Nano second logic, they have responded that “NAFTA trumps a CITT decision”, making CITT rulings seem irrelevant and undermines the very foundation of the Tribunal. Through their actions, CBSA seemed to imply that the CITT did not understand NAFTA and had ruled incorrectly, but rather than right the wrong and challenge the decision at Federal Court level of appeal, CBSA simply ignored the ruling as being applicable only to the specific importer named in the case. If you take time to read the above rulings, CITT has taken a clear stand on the issue and has clearly stated how they believe CBSA should administer future transactions for any and all importers with the same fact patterns as the original Frito Lay Canada case. The CITT views are the polar opposite of those of the CBSA and it is obvious CITT members are not impressed with CBSA’s positioning on this issue.

The CITT should be applauded for drafting a plain language ruling that contains words that seem stronger and crisper than those originally used in the Frito-Lay Canada case. In Bri-Chem Supply Ltd., the CITT clearly reprimands the CBSA for “abuse of process” and points out that their argument of “zero position refund” is as much a work of science fiction as the hover board ridden by Marty McFly.

I think it is fair to state that Canadian importers are not looking forward to any sequels, prequels or reruns of this Frito-Lay “series” of arguments with the CBSA. Enough is enough. Let’s get “back to the future” of building Canadian prosperity through fair, transparent and free trade.



I.E.Canada’s Annual National Conference & Trade Show

June 13 & 14th in Ottawa, Ontario
In honour of our 85th, we’re moving the party to Ottawa! Because it’s such a big year, we’re holding our Annual Conference & CATIEs together with the Food Forum at the Westin in Ottawa.

For more information or to register click here.


I.E.Canada’s 11th Annual Food Forum

We’re bringing together the decision and policy makers, suppliers, retailers, importers and exporters who control Canada’s food industry, and we’ll have speakers including Dr. Bruce Archibald, president, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Martha Hall Findlay and many others.
Find our more…

Nominations are now open for the CATIE awards.



There are no upcoming Bootcamps at this time



NAFTA Webinar Series

It’s crucial that every importer/exporter understands the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); as the most commonly used free trade agreement, it can save you hundreds of millions in duty costs. This online seminar series consisting of two sessions will provide you with an introduction to NAFTA.

1) NAFTA : Starting at the Beginning
April 26, 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST: Register Session 1

2) NAFTA: A More In-depth Review
May 11, 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST: Register Session 2

More Info

Customs Valuation & Transfer Pricing Webinar Series

Do you wish you better understood how transfer pricing and customs valuation overlap? Have you always wondered why one price cannot be used at the border that satisfies both customs agents and the tax man?
1) CUSTOMS VALUATION & TRANSFER PRICING: Starting at the Very Beginning
May 2nd , 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST: Register Session 1

2) CUSTOMS VALUATION & TRANSFER PRICING: Review of the Methodologies
May 17th , 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
Register Session 2

3) CUSTOMS VALUATION & TRANSFER PRICING: Comparing Canadian and U.S. Interpretations
June 2nd , 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
Register Session 3

More Info