CETA: Bill C-30 Status Update

Bill C-30  “An Act to implement the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and its Member States and to provide for certain other measures”  is in the Committee Stage as of March 7, 2017.

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee held meetings on March 30, April 5th and April 6th. The Witnesses to today's Committee meeting were representatives of different industry associations Michael Broad, President of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Kirk Jones, Acting President of Canadian Shipowners Association,  Frank Schiller, Advisor of Nunavut/Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc. to name a few.

What is next for Bill C-30?

Committee Stage (Current Stage): The committee studies the bill and reports it back to the Senate.

Report Stage: The Senate only considers a bill at report stage if the committee either recommends amendments or that the bill not be further studied. Committee reports on bills that do not propose amendments are deemed adopted by the Senate without a motion.

Third Reading: The bill, as amended by the Senate or not, is debated a third time. Debate focuses on the final form of the bill, although amendments to clauses of the bill can also be moved at this stage without the need to return it to committee.

Passage and Royal Assent: If the bill originated in the Senate and is passed, it is then sent to the House of Commons where it follows the process described above. If the bill originated in the House of Commons and has been passed by both chambers in the same form, it is presented for Royal Assent.

What is Royal Assent?

When the Senate and the House of Commons have both passed a bill in identical form, the Governor General, or one of his deputies, gives the bill Royal Assent on behalf of the Queen, and it becomes an Act of Parliament, one of the statutes of Canada. Royal Assent can be granted either at a ceremony in the Senate chamber held in the presence of both Houses, or by written declaration that is announced in both Houses.

Coming into force:

Once the bill proceeds in the Senate through committee and report stages, third reading, receives Royal Assent, it will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

According to the provisions of CETA, the agreement can enter into force “provisionally” on the first day after the month following the date on which the Parties have notified each other that their respective internal requirements and procedures necessary for the provisional application of the Agreement have been completed. For example, if the Parties notify each other that they have taken the necessary steps for provisional application of the agreement in May 2017, CETA can take provisional effect on June 1, 2017.

For more info and/or to be included in a mailing list for regular semi weekly CETA Updates please e-mail dtodorov@taco.ca.


Demi Todorov, CCLP, CTCS, CCS (CA/US)| Manager Client Services and Solutions 

Thompson Ahern International 



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.

Not just your average Customs Broker

Did you know Thompson Ahern International also offers North American and International freight services?

Let us handle all of your shipping requirements from start to finish QQQWorldwide - in all modes of transport.

Our single source transportation services include:

  • Cross border & domestic truck transport LTL & T/L\
  • Air – courier
  • Ocean LCL & FCL
  • Offshore
  • Import / Export
  • Project work, including combined modes of transport
  • Special services, documentation, Carnet, letters of credit, Smart Border
  • Freight consolidation and distribution
  • Members of NTBA (National Transportation Brokers Association), OTA (Ontario Trucking Association), WCA (World Cargo Association), SCN (Security Cargo Network)


Our experienced and knowledgeable freight team listens and identifies your transportation needs. 

We are there to solve any transportation challenges – for rates or further information on our services please contact

North American freight – dispatch@taco.ca

International Freight – intlfreight@taco.ca



Budget 2017 proposes changes to the rules of origin under Canada’s tariff regime for least developed countries (LDCs) in order for more apparel products imported from the world’s poorest countries to qualify for duty-free treatment when imported into Canada.    

Specifically, it is proposed that the General Preferential Tariff and Least Developed Country Tariff Rules of Origin Regulations be amended to allow LDCs to use manufacturing inputs sourced and processed in an expanded list of countries in the production of T-shirts and pants that qualify for duty-free importation
into Canada.    

These proposed changes will ensure that origin rules more accurately reflect the sourcing patterns and manufacturing capabilities of certain LDCs for these products. In particular, it is expected that the amendments will help support economic development, jobs and investment in Haiti, the only LDC in the 
Americas region.  

The necessary regulatory amendments will be put forward for approval in the coming weeks. 


Further to public consultations undertaken in 2016, Budget 2017 proposes a number of amendments to the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA) and related trade remedy regulations. These amendments will ensure that Canada’s trade remedy system is strengthened and keeps accounting for the views of all
stakeholders, while remaining aligned with international trade rules. 

Anti-Circumvention Investigations 
The SIMA will be amended to allow domestic producers to file a complaint regarding trade and business practices specifically intended to avoid trade remedy duties. With these amendments, duties may be extended to goods found to circumvent a trade remedy measure, following a formal investigation by the
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in which all interested parties will be able to participate.   

Scope Rulings 
The transparency of Canada’s trade remedy system will be enhanced by allowing interested parties to request that the CBSA conduct a formal review to determine whether a specific product falls within the scope of a trade remedy measure. In addition, amendments will be made to enhance the ability of interested parties to monitor and appeal ongoing enforcement decisions.    

Union Participation 
Recognizing that labour unions have an important perspective to bring to trade remedy investigations, and in line with the Government’s progressive approach to trade, regulatory amendments will be made to ensure that unions have the right to participate as interested parties in trade remedy proceedings. 

Addressing Particular Market Situations 
When determining whether dumping is occurring, it is important to ensure that a proper comparison can be made between prices of the goods in the exporting country and prices of the goods when exported to Canada. The SIMA will be amended to provide greater discretion to the CBSA when assessing the reliability of prices in the exporting country in anti-dumping investigations. Where CBSA investigators find that prices are distorted due to the presence of a “particular market situation”, it will now be possible to use alternative approaches to ensure a proper comparison.    

Ensuring Canada’s Trade Remedy System is Consistent with International Obligations 
In December 2016, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that aspects of Canadian trade remedy law were inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under the WTO rules. Canada takes its international trade obligations seriously.

Accordingly, amendments will be made to SIMA in respect of exporters found to be dumping at de minimis levels, in order to ensure Canada brings itself into compliance.    

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


NAFTA Compliance Made Easy

Here at Thompson Ahern we are looking forward to assist you with your NAFTA Compliance inquires. Whether you call us or e-mail us a NAFTA Certificate for opinion, we are prepared to answer your questions.

We have it all covered in our NAFTA Maintenance Program:

2017 NAFTA Blanket Certificates:  NAFTA Maintenance Participants are encouraged to send their 2017 Blanket NAFTA Certificates at mkirby@taco.ca. Under this popular NAFTA option Thompson Ahern goes directly to the importer for any NAFTA Certificates required for the time period in question.

2017 NAFTA Certificates Prima Facie Audit: Upon receipt of the NAFTA we will perform a cursory review for validity and for obvious errors, such as incorrect Blanket dates, no signature, blank fields, and will contact the client for follow up as required.

Thompson Ahern's NAFTA Compliance Tool: Received Compliant NAFTA Certificates are uploaded or entered into our operations system, and applied to the part level. Blanket Certificates are kept on file for recording keeping purposes 7+1 years.

Customs Clearance of NAFTA qualifying goods: We apply NAFTA preferential treatment to each qualifying product and shipment as specified in NAFTA Certificate.

NAFTA Compliance through the year: NAFTA Certificates are welcome at anytime throughout the year. For your convenience, we recommend to obtain Blanket NAFTA Certificate at the beginning of the year to cover for the calendar year.


How do Your Tariff Classifications Measure Up?

Are the tariff classifications that you are using being correctly applied? Have they been determined in accordance with the General Interpretive Rules and Canadian Rules as set out in the Tariff Schedule and for legal purposes has the classification been determined according to the terms of the Heading and any relative Section or Chapter Notes? These are the questions that must be answered in order to establish that you have correctly applied the correct classification number and the corresponding duty rate.

There are many situations where the tariff classification of a product due to its composition and features and overall complexity may appear to fall under more than one tariff classification with varying duty rates. These should be carefully evaluated to ensure that you are not paying more than you should be and equally important that there is not the possibility that another classification with a higher duty rate exists which may be discovered during a subsequent customs verification audit.

Wherever there are questionable classifications these should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure that the classification applied is correct, consistent and legally defensible to maintain your compliance responsibilities and to avoid unnecessary customs reviews. If the classification of the product being considered cannot be clearly determined by reference to the relative Headings, Section and Chapter Notes, or the Explanatory Notes, then you should consider obtaining an Advance Ruling from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This will afford you the protection against a potential audit and avoid the possibility of future reassessments for duty.

Even when an Advance Ruling is obtained there may still be differing opinions as to the correct classification of the article due to different interpretations of the relevant authorities. Advance Rulings may be appealed but generally such appeals are affirmed in favour of the original CBSA determination unless compelling reasons are presented that would overturn that decision. This leaves only one further avenue of appeal open to you which is an appeal to the Canadian Import Trade Tribunal (CITT).

If you have goods being imported under questionable classifications, you may wish to contact our Consulting Department at Thompson Ahern International to further discuss the merits of those classifications with a view to possibly obtaining an Advance Ruling from CBSA where warranted.


Ron Stefaniuk, CCS

Senior Consultant

Thompson Ahern International

Direct: 905-678-5489