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Blog Posts

CBSA’s new accounting system: Let’s understand this a little better


The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)’s Assessment and Revenue Management project (CARM) is a large, multi-year project focused on transforming how the CBSA assesses, collects, manages and reports on import revenue and trade information. Among its goals is the simplification of accounting systems with the agency’s commercial trade partners.

By streamlining and automating key business processes, this project should allow CBSA and importers to more efficiently and effectively meet their respective trade compliance responsibilities.

CBSA new accoARL

The Accounts Receivable Ledger (ARL) is an integrated, centralized accounting system for Canadian importers and is the first phase of CARM.

As of last summer – following an introductory period to provide clients with time to adapt to the new system – ARL now allows for the offsetting of importers’ account credits (refunds) against debits (amounts payable). This system also offers more comprehensive accounting statements in addition to electronic payment options.

Some important features to know about

Understanding all the ins and outs of ARL has been a challenge for both importers and customs brokers. Let’s take a look at some of the new features of this system.

  • CBSA will no longer issue regular monthly refunds (disbursements) to importers. Rather, credits owing to the importer will be applied to the importer’s account at month-end to offset any duties and GST the importer owes CBSA.

  • Credits of less than $1000 will carry over until the next month. For credits of $1000 or more – and those not offset after two consecutive months – CBSA will issue a disbursement to the importer.

  • Electronic statements – Daily Notices and monthly Statements of Account – will be sent to EDI-enabled importers and/or their broker(s).

  • If an importer does not have an EDI connection, they can have their DNs and SOAs sent either to a broker or to a third-party service provider.

  • Importers or their brokers can make account payments electronically via EDI or online banking.

How to stay in the know

  1. For more information from the source, see CBSA’s FAQ page on CARM:

  2. A lot of additional information can be found on CBSA’s main CARM site:  

We can help

Our Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Consulting Departments can assist importers understand and make the most of CBSA’s accounting changes. Contact us today!

Has the new 2017 Customs Tariff impacted you?

HS system

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) is the internationally recognized system for coding and describing products for trade. The HS was developed and is maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Importers and exporters of goods are required to ensure HS compliance when declaring goods to customs agencies in order to ensure the correct tariffs are assigned and paid – this includes updating their product classifications as needed to match the HS codes when these are changed.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)’s Customs Tariff is based on the HS and is updated regularly to keep pace with changes made to the HS. New 2017 Customs Tariff

What changed?

On January 1, 2017, CBSA introduced the latest Customs Tariff, involving over 200 amendments. The amendments go beyond just changes to the classification numbers, also affecting Chapter and Subheading Notes.

The following sectors saw the greatest number of amendments:

  • Agriculture (85)

  • Chemical (45)

  • Machinery (25)

  • Wood (22)

  • Transport (18)

  • Textile (15)

The 2017 Customs Tariff also introduced a new heading (9620) for Monopods, Bipods and Tripods. Subheadings of this category have been added in order to maintain the existing customs duty rates.

Your responsibilities

It is critically important to get your HS classifications correct, and to update these when amendments have been made. Staying compliant will reduce your chances of the overpayment of duties and penalties and generally make your business run smoother.

In this spirit, we recommend having a methodology in place that encompasses the following steps:

  • Analyse all affected products to see what information is required to classify your goods; update your import and export databases as needed according to the Customs Tariff 2017 Concordance Table.

  • Review all corresponding rules of origin under the various free trade agreements to ensure continued eligibility.

  • Contact CBSA to request a new Advance Tariff Ruling on goods affected by a change in classification.

  • Consider a review of the published CBSA link to Other Government Departments (OGD), which identifies the classification numbers where a change in effective date or expiry date has been amended such as, the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) departments.

  • Apply any changes to all documentation throughout your supply chain.

  • Use a qualified customs consultant to help navigate the complex world of tariff classification and ensure you get it right the first time.

Don’t let the improper use of an obsolete or revised tariff classification delay your shipments and cause unnecessary compliance risks. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to find out how we can facilitate your customs classification and help keep your classification database up to date.

Information provided by: Canadian Customs Consulting Dept. - Cole International

Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

Canadian importers and exporters can now count Ukraine among the nations with which they can engage in duty-free trade.

As announced this week, the Canada–Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) will be implemented on August 1, 2017. Under this agreement, a new preferential tariff treatment, the “Ukraine Tariff”, will be applicable to nearly all imports from the Ukraine - with the exception of a few agricultural goods.CUFTA

The Ukrainian goods that will enjoy preferential customs treatment in Canada are those described in Chapters 1 through 97 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). This includes a variety of goods such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, chocolate and sweets, ceramics, clothes, toys, and copper items.

Canadian goods that will now be afforded duty-free import status into the Ukraine include meat, fish, butter and cheese, vegetables, tobacco products and medications, among others.

The legislation that advances the Canada–Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA) to the implementation phase, Bill C-31, received Royal Assent in Ottawa on June 1, 2017. This week’s announcement was expected and is the final formality before CUFTA comes into force on August 1.

In order to claim the Ukraine Tariff, importers must have in their possession a specific origin statement properly completed by the exporter in Ukraine.

For more information on making the most of this and other free trade agreements now in place with our trading partners, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Information provided by: NAFTA & Free Trade Dept. - Cole International

CETA finally has an implementation date.

The Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) finally has an implementation date. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker made a joint statement on the weekend [July 8] announcing that the provisional application of the massive deal will come into effect on September 21. Trudeau and Juncker were among dozens of world leaders gathered for the G20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany last week.
CETA update
Speaking to reporters before leaving Germany, Trudeau said 98 per cent of the deal will come into effect on September 21st. This is welcome news after importers and exporters were left wondering after the previous target date of July 1st  came and went. Implementation was pushed back due largely to a dairy dispute between member countries.  Most of CETA was supposed to be provisionally applied by July 1, but it was snagged on a dairy dispute.

This announcement comes five weeks after CETA received royal assent by the Governor General.

This massive free trade agreement promises to reduce or eliminate trade barriers in virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-EU trade. Prior to CETA, 25 percent of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods were duty-free. Upon CETA’s entry into force, the EU will remove tariffs on 98 percent of its tariff lines. And, once CETA is fully implemented, the EU will have eliminated tariffs on 99 percent of its tariff lines.

Want to know how this agreement can benefit your business? Cole’s Free Trade Agreement specialists can help you make sense of – and make the most of – this and other FTAs that are in place now.  

Contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today!

For more information on CETA, visit this link

Information provided by: Canadian Customs Consulting Dept. - Cole International

Get with the times! Boost supply chain efficiency through best use of technology

Businesses large and small depend on digital information transfer to facilitate commercial transactions all along the supply chain – from handling inquiries to placing orders to electronic payment and shipping.

The internet has become an enabler of commercial global enterprise – organizations can now move information faster than products because doing so can give them a competitive edge.

Get with the time technologyMaking the most of the latest technology can mean improvements to the flow of information at all stages of the supply chain. Technology also allows for the collection of information that was previously unusable. And incorporating more data into decision-making can improve operating efficiencies and improve data management.

So, what’s holding us back?

One of the main challenges for importers and exporters is collecting the information they need from the various stakeholders along a global supply chain in a way that works. Because often, even when the data is collected successfully, it can’t be used effectively.

Different types of information coming from different stakeholders using different software can cause glitches in the flow of data if all that information isn’t easily understood across different users and platforms.

Think of the various points at which information is generated in an international commercial transaction:

  • It may begin with an electronic purchase order between a buyer and seller.

  • The seller will generate data using their own information system (possibly in a different language than the buyer uses) to produce order documents and shipping and customs documents.

  • Once the order is complete, it may be shipped using a freight forwarder who also issues shipping documents such as a bills of lading, shipping manifests and insurance documents – which may or may not be in a language and format compatible  with the original documents.

Does your supply chain need greater consistency? We can help!

What’s needed is a method of converting these various formats into consistently usable digital data so that users on different systems can receive, manipulate and forward information seamlessly to multiple stakeholders.

Our freight forwarding team has just that ability. We are familiar with the systems and data formats used by most major import/export and shipping companies along the supply chain, and our professionals can help make sure the various stakeholders in your supply chain can talk to one another so your products get where they need to go with the least amount of hassle to you.

Find out how we can embrace the technology available to help make your supply chain run efficiently. For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss your shipping needs.

Information provided by: Supply Chain Consultant. - Cole International