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Customs Brokerage FAQ

What is a customs broker?

A customs broker is licensed by Revenue Canada to act as an agent for commercial businesses who are importing products into Canada.   They provide the release requests to Canada Customs, as well as to other government bodies to allow the flow of goods into Canada.   Customs brokers classify each product being imported based on their respective HS Tariff classification number which is used to calculate the rate of duties and taxes owing to Canada Revenue Agency.  Since the rules and regulations are always changing, enlisting the assistance of a customs broker makes good business sense.


How are customs brokers fees calculated?

Charges are based on different factors involved in the clearance of a shipment.  Most often, customs brokers charge their fees based on the commercial value of the shipment they are clearing.  Fees can be charged based on other factors too, such as the number of products on the invoices or disbursements that are made on a client’s behalf.   A customs broker and a client may sometimes come to an agreement on a flat fee based on the minimum or maximum amounts.


Can a US or other foreign exporter take care of the Customs clearance in Canada?

Yes.   This is very common and they are referred to as Non-Resident Importers (NRI).  This means the exporter, who has no physical presence in Canada, becomes the Importer of Record for goods cleared into Canada.   They then take responsibility with Canada Revenue Agency for all entry issues.    This includes all fees, declarations and penalties.   Because of the complexity involved in the rules and regulations of importing goods into Canada, having a customs broker to assist you is a smart business choice.


Do I need a broker at each port of entry for my goods coming into Canada?

Living in an electronic age has made the need for local agents nearly obsolete.   We can provide customs clearance at any Canada/US port of entry across Canada with the press of a button.


Are there restrictions on what I can bring into Canada?

Canada Customs enforces all of the regulations required by nearly 60 other government agencies.  Many items can be prohibited by legislation or other trade rules.  It is important to know what restrictions you might be faced with and how to overcome the obstacles.  This is where appointing a customs broker can assist.


What are Customs penalties, and when do they apply?

Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPS) puts the responsibility of 100% compliance on the shoulders of the importers, exporters and transportation companies.   The CBSA may impose monetary penalties based on the type, frequency, and severity of the infraction. Most penalties are graduated and will take the compliance history of the client into consideration.  The areas that importers should pay special attention are origin, tariff classification, valuation and cargo quantities differing from what was declared on the commercial invoice.


 What paperwork is required for customs clearance?

For importations into Canada a commercial invoice can be used.  Information that must be provided on the invoice is:  total value of goods, currency of purchase, country of manufacture (origin), shipper and consignee’s full name and address, as well as the piece count and detailed description of the goods.  A North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin (NAFTA) or Form A Certificate of Orgin is required to take advantage of preferential duty rates when applicable.    Please go to our ‘Forms’ page to see examples of a Canada Customs Invoice or NAFTA Certificate of Origin.


How do I pay Duties & Taxes?

Once credit has been established, an account is created for your company.   ACGI Cargo Logistics can pay Canada Border Services Agency any monies relating to duties and taxes once each shipment is processed.  All invoices are required to be paid within 15 days of customs clearance.


Can ACGI Cargo Logistics provide assistance with the exportation of cargo?

ACGI Cargo Logistics has the experience and staff to assist with the documentation and transportation of any type of freight movement.   We are a full service customs broker and freight forwarder and are here to work for you.


For more information please contact our customs brokerage department at:





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