The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement: What importers need to know
Overview of key changes affecting imports
This page summarizes the main changes of interest to importers contained within the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). This agreement entered into force on , replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
All amounts listed on this page are in Canadian dollars and refer to the value for duty, which is the dollar amount used to calculate duty owed for goods being imported into Canada.
On this page
Proof of origin to claim preferential tariff treatment
Any claims for preferential tariff treatment must satisfy the rules of origin requirements of the CUSMA. For many goods, however, there are no differences between the NAFTA and the CUSMA rules of origin.
The importer may claim the preferential tariff treatment under the CUSMA for goods released on or after . It is not possible to claim the preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA for goods released after .
The CBSA does not require a certification of origin to claim preferential tariff treatment where the value for duty does not exceed $3,300. Certain conditions apply, please refer to Customs Notice 20-15: Increase to the Low Value Shipment (LVS) Threshold and Simplification to the Proof of Origin Requirements for Goods Imported into Canada, for details.
The certification of origin under the CUSMA has no prescribed format, and only requires a set of minimum data elements that indicates that the good is an originating good. These elements include:
- identification and address of the certifier
- description of the good
- rule of origin
The certification of origin may be completed by either the exporter, producer or importer of the goods and may be placed on an invoice or any other document. Furthermore, the certification of origin may be completed, signed and submitted electronically.
To claim the preferential tariff treatment under the CUSMA, importers must have in their possession the CUSMA certification of origin completed by either the exporter, the producer or the importer at the time of importation.
Goods imported prior to for which the NAFTA preferential tariff treatment was claimed could be subject to a compliance verification or be eligible for a refund in line with the provisions of the NAFTA after . For goods that claimed NAFTA preferential tariff treatment, the CUSMA provides that the NAFTA Chapter Five Customs Procedures remain applicable, including NAFTA Article 505 for the record keeping period of the country of import. For Canada, records must be kept for a period of 6 years from the date of importation.
- Annex 5-A in Chapter 5 of the CUSMA: Information regarding the certification of origin data elements
- Rules of origin
Submitting proof of origin
The importer must provide the certification of origin for which the claim for preferential tariff treatment to the CBSA upon request.
The certification of origin can be completed on an invoice or any other document, and be transmitted, including with an electronic or digital signature, and stored electronically. If the CBSA requests the importer to submit the certification of origin, it may be provided by electronic means, including by email or as a scanned document.
- Customs Notice 20-14: Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement: Information on CUSMA certification of origin
- Example of a valid certification of origin
When CUSMA came into force, the period of one year to submit a claim for a refund of duties that were overpaid was extended by the CBSA to provide importers with a period of four years from the date the goods were accounted for, in which to claim the CUSMA preferential tariff treatment.
Shipping requirements to import goods
Goods may be shipped directly to Canada or transit via a third country other than US or Mexico.
When goods destined for Canada transit outside the US or Mexico before reaching Canada, a good retains its originating status if it remains under customs control in the territory of a non-Party to CUSMA and does not undergo an operation outside the territories of the Parties to CUSMA other than:
- separation from a bulk shipment
- labeling or marking required by the importing party
- or any other operation necessary to preserve it in good condition or to transport the good to the territory of the importing party
The CBSA may request the importer to provide transportation documents, such as bills of lading, that indicate the shipping route of the good and customs documents that demonstrate the good remained under customs control while outside of the CUSMA territory of Canada, US or Mexico. This procedure, provided for in Article 5.4, paragraph 3 of Chapter 5: Origin Procedures, is required to demonstrate that the good was shipped in accordance with the rule of origin of Article 4.18 of Chapter 4 (Transit and Transshipment). This rule requires that if a good is transported outside of the CUSMA territory, that it remains under customs control and not undergo operations other than those identified.
Textile and apparel
The chapter on textiles and apparel preserves the existing market access to goods traded amongst the CUSMA countries, including access to tariff preference levels that many producers use. Import permits issued by Global Affairs Canada are required for clothing and textile goods that are eligible for tariff preference level treatment under the CUSMA upon entry into Canada, similar to the process under the NAFTA. Information regarding import permits can be found in departmental memorandum D11-4-22: Tariff Preference Levels.
CUSMA also expands on the existing NAFTA provision, implemented in Canada through tariff item no. 9938.00.00, by providing that certain hand-crafted items (including folklore, cottage industry or Indigenous goods) are eligible for duty-free tariff treatment when traded amongst the CUSMA countries, provided any requirements mutually agreed by the importing and exporting Parties are met. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certificates of Eligibility (COE) are required for exports of clothing and textile goods that are eligible for tariff preference level treatment under the CUSMA upon entry into the US or Mexico. A shipment-specific Certificate of Eligibility is required for each shipment. To obtain a COE, the exporter in Canada must first apply for an Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) file number with Global Affairs Canada.
- Apply for an Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) file number
- Applying for an export permit
- Questions? Contact Global Affairs Canada helpdesk:
- Telephone: 1-877-808-8838
- Email: email@example.com
Self-assessment for preferential tariff treatments
The preferential tariff treatments, abbreviations and codes for the CUSMA are the: United States Tariff: UST – TT code: 10 and the Mexico Tariff: MXT – TT code: 11.
For goods that are released on or after , the MUST preferential tariff treatment no longer exists and there is no replacement. The CUSMA provides for two preferential tariff treatments – either the United States Tariff (UST) or the Mexico Tariff (MXT). The preferential tariff treatment that applies (UST or MXT) is dependent upon the country of last production other than a minimal operation, as per chapter 2 of the CUSMA, National treatment and market access for goods, Annex 2-B, Tariff Schedule of Canada, paragraph 8.
NAFTA origin advance rulings only remain valid for goods imported under the NAFTA preferential tariff treatment. Therefore, an applicant wishing to obtain a CUSMA origin advance ruling must submit a new application to the CBSA.
Advance rulings can be requested under the CUSMA. For more information regarding the application for advance rulings, please refer to the following departmental memoranda:
- D11-4-16 Advance Rulings for Origin under Free Trade Agreements
- D11-11-1 National Customs Rulings (NCR)
- D11-11-3 Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification
Trade facilitation: De minimis for duties and taxes
For Canada, CUSMA Article 7.8(1)(f) sets de minimis threshold for courier shipments from the US or Mexico of at least $150 for customs duties, and $40 for taxes. The higher thresholds apply to goods of any origin that have entered the commerce of the US or Mexico. Canada's commitment only applies to imports from the US or Mexico and only by courier.
The shipment must be transported by courier, that is, a commercial carrier that is engaged in scheduled international transportation of shipments of goods other than goods imported by mail.
There is no change to the de minimis framework for either postal shipments from the US or Mexico, or for any courier or postal shipments from any other country. Goods imported to Canada from countries other than the Unites States and Mexico continue to have a duty and tax remission threshold value of up to $20.
Goods do not need to originate from a CUSMA party to benefit from de minimis, but rather be shipped from the US or Mexico, where they must have entered into commerce prior to being shipped to Canada. If the country into which the goods last entered commerce is neither the US nor Mexico, these shipments would not be entitled to the de minimis benefits of the CUSMA.
This means that goods ordered from a US website would not be eligible under the de minimis framework if imported to Canada from a country other than the US or Mexico.
There is no impact on travellers, and Canada's travellers' exemption limits are unchanged as a result of the CUSMA.
For more information, refer to the Courier Import Remission Order and CBSA's Customs Notice: 20-18: Implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) De Minimis Threshold with Respect to Customs Duties and Taxes for Courier Imports.
Low-value shipment threshold
A shipment value must not exceed $3,300 to meet the low-value shipment (LVS) threshold.
LVS allows goods to benefit from simplified report, release, accounting and documentation requirements and these benefits apply regardless of the origin of manufacture or country of export.
Since CUSMA came into effect, the CBSA applies the LVS threshold consistently across all commercial programs, regardless of the mode, stream of importation, or free trade agreement under which a preferential tariff treatment is claimed. It is not limited to the Courier Low Value Shipment Program.
For information on the accounting benefits of the LVS threshold please refer to CBSA's Customs Notice: 20-15: Increase to the Low Value Shipment (LVS) Threshold for Goods Imported into Canada.
CUSMA does not introduce changes to the Duties Relief and the Drawback Programs.
Where the goods are CUSMA originating, the framework for the temporary duty-free importation of specified goods under tariff item 9993.00.00 a security deposit is not required. Refer to the Temporary Importation (Tariff Item No. 9993.00.00) Regulations and departmental memorandum D-8-1-1: Administration of Temporary Importation (Tariff Item No. 9993.00.00) Regulations for more details.
For information on the application of the “same condition” processes or “lesser of the two duties,” refer to D-Memorandum D7-4-3: NAFTA Requirements for the Duty Drawback and the Duties Relief Programs.
Information on the CBSA's relief of customs duties under Tariff Item Nos. 9971.00.00 and 9992.00.00 can be found in the following departmental memoranda:
- D8-2-26: Goods Returned After Repair or Alteration in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Israel or Another CIFTA Beneficiary, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Jordan or Panama
- D8-2-10: Goods Returning to Canada Having Been Repaired Outside of Canada
Canada's trade remedy system continues to provide robust protection to its domestic industries and workers against the impacts of unfairly traded imports.
CUSMA also provides for greater sharing of customs information with other CUSMA countries, subject to Canadian law, where potential duty evasion may be taking place.
CUSMA coming into effect does not impact the application of existing anti-dumping or countervailing measures in force for goods originating or imported from Mexico or the US.
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