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The Duties Relief Program

Importing without paying duties

The Duties Relief Program enables qualified companies to import goods without paying duties, as long as they eventually export the goods. Before export, companies can further manufacture or use the goods in a limited manner without having to pay duties.

The Duties Relief Program can help give your business a competitive advantage by lowering your costs since you won't have to pay duties on the goods when they are imported. You are not restricted to a specific geographic site to participate in the Program. You choose the place that best suits your business needs to set up your facility. As well, with the Duties Relief Program, you do not have to post a bond to financially secure your liability.

Qualifying for duties relief

If you are the importer, exporter, processor, owner or producer of the goods, you can apply for duties relief if one of the following applies:

  • you are directly or indirectly involved in importing goods that are later exported in the same condition you imported them; or
  • you use imported goods to produce other goods for export. You can perform a wide range of processing functions, from minor adjustments to repair, to full-fledged manufacturing. You do not have to separate your domestic and export production, and you can use imported and domestic raw materials interchangeably. Even goods that are consumed or expended in a manufacturing process are eligible under the Program.

Example: Your company imports television parts from Thailand and delivers them to your factory in Canada. Under the Duties Relief Program, you are relieved from paying duties on the imported components. Your employees can assemble the components into functioning televisions and you can then export them, all without paying duties.

Keep in mind that if goods that are exported to the United States or Mexico are further processed, you may be subject to restrictions under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). See Memorandum D7-4-3, NAFTA Requirements for Drawback and Duty Deferral, for more information.

Applying for duties relief

To apply, complete Form K90, Duties Relief Application, and send it to your local Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office.

Your application will be reviewed and an officer will arrange to visit your premises. During this visit, the officer will confirm that you qualify for the Program and that you are aware of your obligations. When your application is approved, you will be issued a unique licence number identifying you as a Duties Relief Program participant.

Time limits

In most cases, the goods you import under the Duties Relief Program have to be exported no later than four years after you import them. This gives you time to identify your export markets.


From time to time, the CBSA will verify whether the imported goods have been exported. The Agency will adapt procedures to your usual record-keeping system, enabling you to spend less time on paperwork and more time on business. However, it is your responsibility to properly account for all goods and immediately pay any duties owing on goods that no longer qualify for the Program or that are not exported.

Selling or transferring imported goods

You can sell or transfer imported goods before they are exported without paying duties, as long as the receiving company is also an authorized Program participant. When you sell or transfer goods to another participant, you also transfer all liability, such as paying duties and reporting non-compliance.

More information

For more information on the Duties Relief Program or for information regarding other relief programs such as the Exporters of Processing Services Program or the Export Distribution Centre Program, please visit the CBSA Web site or the Canada Revenue Agency Web site, or contact your local CBSA office.

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