Increased communication and sharing of information is a necessary part of the relationship between importer/exporters and their Customs service provider. It is an important element which is often overlooked and which if not attended to can lead to incorrect declarations, incorrect duty assessments, and delays in the effective clearance of your shipments.

Thompson, Ahern & Co. Ltd. must be kept in the loop by its clients, who on a regular basis should be providing up to date information on all matters involving their suppliers and the goods they purchase from them. Whenever a new supplier or product is contemplated, one of the first contacts should be with the customs broker to establish if any special requirements must be met, what the duty and tax implications are, and what if any, special documentation may be required. Shipments are not always made during regular hours, when any questions concerning a new supplier or goods may easily be resolved. However, a night clearance does not have this advantage and the lack of this information may be critical to its Customs release and could unduly delay its clearance, or at the very least cause the shipment to be incorrectly entered.

Whenever there is a change in legal entity, we must also be informed of the name change, as the name of the importer of record must correspond with the name under which the company is registered for its RM Account (Import/Export Account) number. Such changes may also necessitate the completion of a new General Agency Agreement (GAA) which is the power of attorney necessary for a customs broker to act on behalf of an importer or exporter and without which, that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) could refuse to transact business.

To quote from the physicist, William G. Pollard, “Information is a source of learning, but unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” Let Thompson, Ahern & Co, Ltd. unburden you of the information that will ultimately be of benefit to each of us.

FDA Removed Thousands of Expired Food Facility Registrations from its Database

On February 1, 2017, U.S. FDA removed all food facility registrations that were not properly renewed for 2017 from its registration database.  If a facility's registration was removed, it must re-register with FDA and obtain a new registration number before continuing to manufacture, process, pack, or store food that may be consumed in the United States. 

This year, many facilities that believed they had renewed still found their registrations cancelled. This is likely due to a new verification step.  Unlike in previous years, individuals or entities listed as U.S. Agents in 2016 were required to confirm with FDA acceptance of their designation and corresponding responsibility.

The agency did not consider a facility's 2016 renewal confirmed unless the designated U.S. Agent affirmatively agreed when the facility submitted its registration renewal.

For more info and to verify your registration, please contact Registrar Corp: www.registrarcorp.com/fda-verify 

Tho read this article in its entirety, click here


Data analysis for effective border management: the Canadian experience



EFFECTIVE BORDER MANAGEMENT requires the identification of people and goods, and the collection and analysis of relevant information at the earliest possible point in the travel and trade continuum. The “business” of modern border management organizations has evolved, and is now driven by the active use of advanced data.

 Customs organizations collect and hold vast amounts of data on travellers and goods. As a result, we must embrace an organizational culture that is equally driven by sound principles of information management so that we may truly take advantage of the large amounts of data in our care. By adopting progressive approaches, such as data analytics, to collect and successfully exploit data to drive decision-making, we can strengthen our capacity to protect our citizenry, improve border services, and generate revenue for our governments.

Turning our “raw data” into information enables evidence-based decision making, and allows border management organizations to invest resources in a way that supports high priority services. In the case of Customs organizations, this can include advanced risk assessment techniques, better resource utilization, and more complete reporting on overall performance to the public.

In order to take advantage of the information under its stewardship, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has developed a strategy for data analytics, including establishing a centralized governance structure, to drive investments in three key areas: data governance; business intelligence; and advanced analytics. The framework is designed to allow the Agency to derive increased value from its data. At the core of this strategy is the recognition that the CBSA respects the privacy and security of the data in its care, and that the data enables effective border management.

What is data analytics?

The term “data analytics” refers to the use of information technology to harness statistics, algorithms, and other tools of mathematics to improve decision-making. It includes traditional analytics that is often referred to as business intelligence (e.g. “what happened?”) and predictive analytics (e.g. “what will or could happen?”). The CBSA recognized that it could not fulfil its core mandate without data to drive our priority‐setting, decision making, performance measurement, budget planning, and operations. Key to this was a shift in culture.

Our traditional methods saw us accepting information through “stove pipes” that were in turn analysed in siloes aligned to our various business lines. However, as today’s world is increasingly interconnected, it became clear that we needed to link our diverse data sets and take an enterprise approach to information management. By connecting our data holdings, we could position ourselves to better contribute to global security, and facilitate the free flow of persons and goods. An internal culture shift is underway at the CBSA to see data as a corporate resource that can be used across all of the Agency’s business lines.


February 2017|n 82|www.wcoomg.org|WCO  news

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

CETA: “We together believe in Trade for All”

On February 23-rd the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada (EUCCAN) 
in partnership with Global Affairs Canada gathered the business community in Toronto for an informative seminar on “New Business Opportunities with CETA”. 

The guest of honour Pierre Pettigrew CETA Envoy and former Minister for International Trade,  was accompanied by a speakers panel of Rory McAlpine Sr. VP, Government & Industry Relations Maple Leaf Foods, Brian Martin VP, Sales & Marketing Kuehne + Nagel, moderated by Jason Langrish Executive Director of Canada Europe Roundtable for Business (CERT). The well anticipated event attracted a large enthusiastic crowd of business executives and dignitaries from many EU Member Consulates.

Pierre Pettigrew opened the discussion with the EU slogan “We together believe in Trade for All” and added that “CETA creates a bridge and eliminates trade barriers”.

Professional Services

The former Minister for International Trade outlined the many advantages for skilled professionals CETA brings. “The double testing will be eliminated for architects, engineers, consulting “, there will also be mutual recognition of professional qualifications and will also allow for temporary work on the territories of EU members.

“CETA is a living agreement” added Jason Langrish and explained that unlike NAFTA where there is a positive list only, “there will only be a negative list of not covered services. Newly created services are automatically covered. ”

Government Assistance

Mr. Pettigrew recommended to exporters the CanExport Program developed by Global Affairs Canada as a great resource. The program provides financial support for small or medium-sized firm’s development of new export opportunities. More information is available here.

Suggested Resources:

  • CETA website see here
  • 5 regional offices in CA
  • 27 trade commissioners in EU

Food Exporter’s Point of View

Mr. Rory McAlpine Sr. VP, Government & Industry Relations of Maple Leaf Foods is cautiously optimistic. Over six years, Canada's annual quota for beef shipped to Europe will rise gradually from 15,000 tonnes to 65,000 tonnes annually. For pork, the quota rises from 6,000 to 75,000 tonnes, again with a six-year phase-in period. “There are many outstanding unresolved issues like different standards, labeling requirements (ECO, GMO free labeling etc). “ he added.

Mr. McAlpine pointed out as a challenge the country specific regulations that Canadian exporters have to comply with, in particular the new pilot in France that introduced a decree forcing companies to label the origin of dairy and meat. Products that contain 8 percent or more meat or 50 percent or more milk must have the origins of those ingredients disclosed on their labels. The packaging must indicate the country of birth, raising, and slaughter of animals for meat products or the country of collection for dairy products, as well as the place of packaging and processing for milk. When all of these steps occurred in one single country, the label “Origin (name of country)” can be used. This labeling system was introduced on January 1st , 2017 and  will be mandatory for a trial period of two years.

The best approach to access EU markets is by using distributors. Canadian exporters will have hard time competing with EU’ producers due to the farm level subsidizing.

Freight Forwarder’s Point of View

Brian Martin, VP of Marketing & Sales at K + N shared with the audience that their container volume between Canada and the EU in 2016 was 500,000 containers import and 220,000 export in 2016. K+N are expecting a 20 percent increase in both imports and export. They are seeing a slowdown in both imports and exports at this time due to shippers waiting for the agreement to get provisionally implemented and benefit from duty free importation later this spring.

CETA a New Model of FTA

On Jason Langrish’s question is CETA a new model of FTA and whether or not he thinks that it will serve as a resource for future multinational trade agreements Mr. Pettigrew said “I believe that it is applicable to other countries as well”

What if a country decides not to ratify CETA?

“It will be ratified in every jurisdiction!” said Mr. Pettigrew and added “If a country decides not to ratify CETA, the agreement will be sent back to the EU Parliament, which is a long process, while the provisional implementation will remain active and won't be suspended until final decision.  A country cannot undo the provisional application if they don`t ratify it.” The actual ratification of the agreement could take a few years.

Here at Thompson Ahern, we are looking forward to answer all your CETA questions. Please call us to discuss your CETA implementation plan and the steps you have to take to allow for smooth duty free EU imports and exports.


Demi Todorov, CCLP, CTCS, CCS (CA/US), LCB                                                                                                                                                 Thompson Ahern International


Amazon to invest $1.5bn in US air cargo hub

Online retailer AMAZON is to build a centralised US air cargo hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (CVG) Airport to support the growing fleet of Prime Air aircraft as past of a reported $1.5bn investment creating 2,000 jobs.

Last year the company agreed to lease 40 cargo aircraft for to support Prime members with fast free delivery, with 16 of those jets reportedly already in service.

The Cincinnati air hub will support Amazon’s dedicated fleet of Prime Air aircraft loading, unloading and sorting packages.

The construction of this hub is just one part of Amazon’s plans to expand its services as a provider of freight.The retailer’s long-term goal is to deliver its packages by itself without relying on third-party delivery services like USPS, FedEx, and UPS. While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said the company isn't trying to directly compete with the likes of UPS, all of these investments in transportation and shipping operations suggest otherwise. If nothing else, they signal Amazon's desire to control more of the shipping process in general, which would lead to lower shipping costs for the company overall. 

Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations, Dave Clark says: “As we considered placecs for the long-term home for our air-hub operations: “As we considered places fir the long-term home for our air hub operations, Hebron quickly rose to the top of the list with a large, skilled workforce, centralised location with great connectivity to our nearby fulfillment locations, and an excellent quality of living for employees.”

He adds: “We couldn’t be more excited to add 2,000- plus Amazon employees to join the more than 10,000 who work with us today across our robust operations in Kentucky.”

CVG Airport chief executive officer, Candace McGraw explains: “We’ve worked hard to ensure CVG is a great place to do business and we couldn’t be more pleased that Amazon recognized those efforts with plans to build a top-in-class air cargo hub at our airport.”

The Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin says: “Kentucky’s ideal location, proven workforce and an already extensive shipping and logistics industry have been the backbone of our relationship with Amazon for nearly 20 years. This new project will pay dividends to both the company and our state and we are truly grateful for the jobs and economic impact it will bring.”

Amazon employs more than 10,000 people in full time jobs across 11 fulfilment centers in Kentucky, and plans to create 100,000 jobs across the US over the next 18 months.

It is also launching initiatives to improve delivery speeds and supply chain capacity for customers, including Amazon Flex to allow individuals to sign-up and begin delivering for Amazon, 4, 000 trailers to increase trucking capacity and a network of cargo aircraft. Amazon has also been trialing drone deliveries in the UK.


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Canada keen to boost ties, seal trade pact with India

Canada is keen to boost its business ties with India and is moving forward with attempts to seal a trade pact with the South Asian country, Canada's minister of infrastructure and communities told Reuters.

"There is an emphasis on signing a trade agreement with India," Amarjeet Sohi said in an interview on Tuesday. "The process was begun in 2014 and we are putting great emphasis on moving the discussions forward."

This has been excerpted from the 11 January 2017 edition of Reuters Canada and is available in its entirety at:


U.S. trade deficit climbs 6.8% in November

The U.S. trade deficit rose almost 7% in November as imports hit the highest level in nearly a year and a half, largely because of a gush of foreign oil.

The nation’s trade gap climbed to $45.2 billion from a revised $42.4 billion in October, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a $45.9 billion deficit.

Imports increased 1.1% to $231.1 billion in November, marking the highest level since August 2015.

Oil imports surged by more than $1 billion to $14.3 billion, reflecting an increase in prices as well as more supply. Imports from Canada, one of the biggest suppliers of oil to the U.S., crested to a 15-month high.

U.S. exports slipped 0.2% to $185.8 billion, mainly owing to a big drop in shipments of large commercial aircraft produced by Boeing BA, +0.34% 

The size of the trade deficit from September to November averaged $41.3 billion a month, virtually unchanged from the same three-month period in 2015.

Uberization’ of freight services set to explode

Freight as a Service (FaaS) will represent 30 percent of total goods transportation revenues by 2030, estimates sayABI Research forecasts Freight as a Service (FaaS) will represent 30 percent of total goods transportation revenues by 2030. Its benefits, similar to Mobility as a Service (MaaS), include cost reductions, resource utilization improvements, and convergence of market landscapes through adoption of a sharing economy business model.

FaaS streamlines freight and parcel delivery services through new advancements in cargo market places, on-demand transportation, freight brokerage, and ridesharing. With IoT applications fueling its current growth rate, FaaS revenues are on track to exceed $900 billion by 2030.

“With an average global air cargo Freight Load Factor of as low as 44 percent and a structural 20 percent long-haul truck cargo capacity utilization deficit in the US, the freight industry needs to act,” said Dominique Bonte, managing director and VP at ABI Research.

“The last-mile freight delivery segment will experience the largest upheaval due to the rapid adoption of e-commerce and the need for faster, cheaper, on-demand delivery through new transportation modes and technologies.

Uber already offers the UberRUSH and UberEATS delivery services and recently invested in truck platooning startup Otto. The industry is also testing drone-based delivery with companies like Amazon, FedEx, Flirtey, Google, and UPS all on board. Audi and Daimler, both partnering with Amazon and DHL, are using telematics to test direct-to-car delivery, and Volvo launched its commercial in-car delivery service just one year ago.

Daimler and Workhorse, meanwhile, are considering hybrid models, integrating autonomous vehicles, drones, and/or robots with smart home technologies. The aim is to provide end-to-end delivery of parcels inside homes and commercial sites by using indoor navigation and remote electronic door unlock technologies.

However, transportation efficiency improvements can be taken to yet another level by leveraging synergies between FaaS and MaaS. Repurposing excess MaaS capacity of driverless vehicles or shuttles during off-peak hours for freight transport and delivery will allow ultra-high utilization rates and very low costs per mile.

“Both FaaS and MaaS are seen by governments as strong engines for economic growth,” concluded Bonte. “Governments need to move forward with new legislation to allow for the deployment of delivery technologies like UAVs and create frameworks for the underlying business models.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s report “Freight as a Service"