Please supply a valid email address
Please fill in your first name.
Please fill in your last name.
Please fill in your company.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input
An eye on everything.


Please supply a valid email address
Please fill in your first name.
Please fill in your last name.
Please fill in your company.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input

Blog Posts

Do you import food into the U.S.? New food safety requirements for importers

Do You Import FoodOn May 30, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) rule will come into effect, and will apply to most importers of food into the U.S.

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 mandates the creation of a food safety system that focusses on preventing contamination to the food supply. Included under that act are rules for the safe manufacturing and handling of human and animal foods.

One such rule, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) rule, requires importers to verify that the food they import from outside the U.S. meets U.S. safety standards. Specifically, it requires that importers develop, maintain, and follow a food supplier verification program for each food imported (unless an exemption applies).

This rule aims to ensure that each food is produced in a manner that ensures protection of public health and that the food is appropriately labelled with respect to food allergens.

Noncompliant importers risk supply chain disruptions, delays in entry processing, and possibly the exclusion of their products from the U.S. marketplace.

Does the FSVP rule affect you?

For the purposes of FSVP, an importer is the U.S. owner or consignee of a food offered for import into the United States. A more detailed explanation, including exceptions and exemptions, can be found in this document published by the FDA:

What does the FSVP rule require you to do?

Importers are responsible for actions that include

  • Determining known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food

  • Evaluating the risk posed by a food, based on the hazard analysis and the foreign supplier’s performance

  • Using that evaluation of the risk posed by an imported food and the supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities

  • Conducting supplier verification activities

  • Conducting corrective actions

More information

FSVP Fact Sheet:

Related FDA website:

Need help?

If the ins and outs of this rule seem a little confusing, don’t go it alone. Our Customs specialists are available to help you make sense of your responsibilities and Customs requirements on either side of the border. Contact us today!

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

What’s the auditor cooking?

Auditor cookingThe Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) undertakes trade compliance verifications (audits) to ensure their requirements are being met and the correct duty collected. Audits are conducted both randomly and by identifying goods of interest through targeted verifications.

About twice a year, the CBSA publishes its trade verification (audit) priorities. The latest list came out in January and can be found in its entirety on the CBSA website.

The most recent items added to this list are:

  • olive oil

  • photographic film

  • stone blocks and slabs

  • railway equipment and

  • sausages and similar products.

If you’re importing any of the targeted items, pay extra attention to your import practices and customs paperwork because they’ll be subject to special scrutiny. Any mistakes or omissions

can result in duty assessments and penalties, disruptions in your supply chain and border delays – and possibly losing your “good importer” status with CBSA.

Knowledge and preparation are key

To be fully compliant and prepared to respond to an audit, you should:

  • Keep your product database up to date, paying special attention to the items included in the updated audit priorities list (see above) and the HS Classification Numbers (see the Concordance Customs Tariff Table).

  • Take immediate corrective action as needed if your goods do appear on the priority list.

  • Consider preparing a compliance manual to standardize internal control measures – using in-house knowledge if available, or in cooperation with a customs professional.

  • Consult your customs broker or compliance specialist to help with any logistical concerns or uncertainties.

Our Consulting Department and Audit Response Unit have extensive knowledge and expertise in these areas. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to get in contact with one of our customs professionals with any questions about your import business.

Information provided by: Canadian Consulting Dept. - Cole International

Shipping container industry update – uncertainties persist

Shipping ContainerChallenging times continue for the container shipping industry, seven months after it was rocked by the sudden bankruptcy of South Korean shipping giant Hanjin.

Following Hanjin’s collapse last summer, shippers and forwarders have been increasingly concerned about the reliability of the carriers they use.

The latest carrier facing obvious troubles is Taiwanese container company Yang Ming, the world's ninth largest. The company suspended trading of its shares for two weeks at the end of April. According to the company, “the suspension [was] simply a standard procedure that is routinely carried out in the Taiwan Stock Exchange when a company implements a recapitalization.”

Private investors and the Taiwanese government have bought into the company as part of its recapitalization. However, despite the resumption of share trading, recapitalization and recent company restructuring, the carrier’s debt levels and financial performance have caused many forwarders to look elsewhere for shipping services.

The support of the Taiwanese government may offer enough protection for Yang Ming to avoid the same fate as Hanjin, however, forwarders can’t be blamed for having lingering wariness around the state of the industry.

Do you have questions or concerns about the container shipping industry and the best way to ship goods in the current climate? Our industry professionals are ready to answer your questions. For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss your shipping needs.

Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International

Freight-forwarder or online booking? Weigh your options carefully.

Shipping industry crunch Freight ecommerce

Times are tough for the container shipping industry: companies are facing their worst ever downturn as a result of an oversupply of ships and weakened global demand. As a result, firms are looking for more and more ways to cut costs.

(We reported on the state of the shipping industry in blog posts last fall. Read up for some background on how things got where they are.)

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Recently, some of the big ocean carriers have turned to online e-commerce companies such as Alibaba to provide booking services for container shipping. Following Maersk’s lead in December, carriers CMA CGM and Zim have also signed on with Alibaba’s “One Touch” platform that provides direct shipping services to vendors in China.

Collectively, these three ocean container lines hold approximately 28% of global container capacity, signalling a trend to deal direct with technology-enabled vendors in an attempt to cut costs.

Online shipping services can be effective, but international trade is complex and can be subject to numerous complicating factors including capacity fluctuations, international legislation, handling/documentation requirements, cargo security regulations, and customs compliance requirements.

Dig deeper for the full story on the “savings”

Traditionally, freight forwarders have provided expertise and specialized services to help small to medium sized shippers utilize the services of large ocean carriers. E-commerce platforms make it easy for shippers to buy transportation services, but that convenience is not a substitute for the value-added expertise provided by freight forwarders.

Sellers using online e-commerce vendors for shipping services are missing out on the expertise offered by a freight forwarder. These industry experts provide a great deal of up-to-date knowledge when it comes to navigating the complexities – and potential liabilities – of international trade.

Without a freight forwarder, a company takes on a lot of work itself: consolidating small shipments, coordinating shipping schedules with the ocean carriers, ensuring documentation is correct, and providing on-forwarding services in the country of destination.

Shippers who elect to take advantage of online shipping services should carefully consider both the up-front costs and the value of the guidance and expertise that they get with a freight forwarder. Shippers who go the online route will not have easy access to advice on issues such as completing bills of lading, valuation, cargo insurance, packaging and handling services, ancillary charges, and options for handling shipping delays.

We can help

Our freight department can provide advice on the costs and service options available to shippers today. Make the most of your time and make the best choice for your shipping needs 

For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss the best way to ensure the safe shipment of your goods.

Information provided by: Supply Chain Consultant. - Cole International

Increased possibility of high duties: How SIMA can affect your import costs


One of the functions of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is to help protect Canadian producers from unfair foreign competition. In this spirit, the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) helps protect Canadian industry from the unfair subsidizing and dumping of imported goods. CBSA and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) are jointly responsible for administering SIMA.

Knowing about SIMA can help you avoid high duties of up to 350%.

What’s new?

We are hearing an increasing number of complaints from domestic manufacturers of unfair trade practices by foreign producers. These practices include dumping and unfair subsidies provided by a foreign country, and both can lead to a loss of sales and revenue by Canadian companies. Both concepts are elaborated upon in our blog on Countervailing and Antidumping Duties.  New investigations and preliminary cases have been initiated to respond to these activities.

The process in a nutshell

Upon receiving a complaint of unfair practices, CBSA initiates an investigation to determine if actual injury to Canadian industry is occurring. If it is, an appropriate level of anti-dumping duties will be applied to the imported product(s). These duties can range from 50% to 350% of the value of the goods, depending on various factors such as the type of product and the country of origin.

The process is elaborated upon on the CBSA website.

Beware of added costs after import

The extra cost of these duties is borne by the importer! You do not want to have goods arrive and get cleared only to find out the SIMA duties make the product highly unprofitable.

When ordering products from foreign vendors, you need to know the full cost of the product to know the final price: the cost of the actual item, freight, duties, taxes and any SIMA charges. High SIMA charges can render the final cost unacceptable.

Be prepared

Review the types of products on the SIMA list prior to ordering.

SIMA measures in force is a list of goods currently subject to anti-dumping or countervailing measures pursuant to SIMA. It is updated as necessary to reflect the current status of duty liability.

The CBSA website provides details on all new and ongoing SIMA investigations on their website.

If you are unsure if your imported item could be subject to SIMA duties, contact your customs broker.

Our experienced customs professionals can help you determine if a specific item is subject to SIMA duties and can help with any other concerns or questions regarding your import business. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today!

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