CUSMA/USMCA a.k.a. NAFTA2 is Now in Effect

The new Canada, U.S., Mexico Free Trade Agreement known as CUSMA in Canada and USMCA in the United States came into effect as of July 1, 2020. This agreement replaces NAFTA.

The Certification Form is available in fillable PDF format. This form may be used for both Canadian and U.S. imports. Instructions can be found here. The certifier must indicate if they are the importer/exporter or producer. The form may be used for individual shipments or blanket dates of up to 12 months.

There is an excel format for larger databases available by emailing consulting@taco.ca

The Canada Border Services link to the overview of the agreement and background information is available at:


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection link to the overview of the agreement is available at:



CBSA Trade Compliance Verification Priorities January 2017

The CBSA manages trade compliance with the Tariff Classification, Valuation, and Origin programs using the following two post-release verification processes:

- Random verifications

- Verification priorities.

Random verifications

Random verifications are designed to measure compliance rates and revenue loss and the results may be used for many purposes, including:

Risk assessment;

Revenue assessment; and

Promoting voluntary compliance.

Verification priorities

Targeted verification priorities are determined through a risk-based, evergreen process, meaning that new targets are added throughout the year. Verification priorities may also be carried over from previous years.

The information on the various Trade Compliance Verifications in progress are available at:


The following are SOME of the items listed.  For the complete list, visit the website above.

Tariff Classification:

Current Verification priorities are available at the website above. 

What follows is a list of New Priorities established in October 2016  for the following items:

Olive Oil: HS Headings:15.09 and 15.10

Photographic Film: HS Heading 37.02

Stone Blocks and Slabs: HS Headings 25.14, 24.15 and 25.16

Railway Equipment: HS Heading 86.08

Sausages and Similar Products: HS Heading 16.01.2017

Sacks and Bags under Tariff Item 9903.00.00 HS Headings 39.23 and 36.05:

Please note that 9903 falls under Conditional Relief Items described as “for use in”.  CBSA requires importers maintain the records and “(a) a certificate or other record signed by the user of the commercial goods that shows the user’s name, address and occupation and indicates the actual use made of the commercial goods;”-(From the Imported Goods Records Records Regulations SOR/86-1011 website: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-86-1011/page-1.html#h-2)

Valuation Priorities continue for:

Apparel:  Apparel continues to be a priority and covers Various Goods of Chapters 61 and 62.

Preparations and Pastrycooks’ Products : Various Goods of Chapter 19

Origin Priorities continue for:

T-Shirts HS Heading 61.09-Results from the first round show that some goods classified do NOT qualify under NAFTA.

Jewelry: HS numbers 7113.11.90, 7113.19.90 and 7113.20.90. The risk identified is that jewelry classified here may not meet specific rule of origin and therefore not qualify under NAFTA.


Martha Kirby, M.Ed. CCS,

Mgr-Consulting & Compliance

Thompson Ahern International


NAFTA's Demise Would Cost U.S. Auto Industry 30,000 Jobs, U.S. Think Tank Says

Pulling out of NAFTA could cost the U.S. economy more than 30,000 jobs in the auto sector alone, and lead to higher prices and less choice for American customers, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research (CAR) says.

A recent report by CAR concludes that President-elect Donald Trump's oft-repeated plan to tear up or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and slap punitive tariffs of as much as 35 per cent on U.S. companies offshoring their production, would do little to spur U.S. jobs production and, in fact, would likely lead to a sharp loss.

Rail and Truck Updates

Derailment Near Spokane, Wash. Causing Service Interruption

CP reported in a January 13 customer advisory that a Union Pacific train derailment south of Spokane, Washington on January 10 is affecting its interchange traffic at Eastport. At that time, CN said that customers should expect a minimum delay of four days on shipments scheduled to move through the affected area.

The East Oregonian reported that the train was carrying containers of hazardous materials, though none spilled and no one has been hurt.

UP said the cause of the derailment is still under investigation. Cold and snowy weather is a possibility.

Ocean Updates

Failure of Alliances to Lift Rates Could Hurt Shippers Long Term

If the global mega-shipping alliances launching in April don't drive compensatory freight rates, shippers will likely see more bankruptcies and mergers in the industry.

 If the alliances do not succeed in returning the liner shipping industry to profitability and more bankruptcies and mergers occur, the liners that remain will be very powerful and able to set freight rates at will, according to an article on JOC.com (subscription required).

Thompson Ahern Active Participant in SWI Testing with the CBSA

It is with great pleasure Thompson Ahern would like to announce that we are now an active participant in the Single Window Initiative (SWI) testing with the CBSA.

As one of two brokers currently approved for testing, we are very excited to have been approved as a leading participant in this new initiative set out by CBSA in conjunction with Other Government Departments. 

This positions us to be one of the first ready for the transition when this program is officially launched by CBSA for mainstream use.  In addition to our testing we are examining our client base and determining their requirements to ensure our staff are well trained and ready prior to implementation, which ensures no disruption in the high level of service provided.

Thompson Ahern strives to be at the cutting edge of innovations and we hope by being one of the first custom brokers in Canada to test this new system that we will  remain at the forefront as leader in the industry.


About the CBSA Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative, will facilitate the information flow from traders to CBSA, and will allow for traders to provide all required import information electronically to customs. In turn, the CBSA will share the information with the appropriate department or agency regulating the goods.

The SWI participating Canadian departments and agencies along with the CBSA are: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Trade and Development Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada and Foreign Affairs.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Signed

Ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The signing is "an important step" but the agreement "is still just a piece of paper, or ratherover 16,000 pieces of paper until it actually comes into force," said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key at the ceremony in Auckland.

The TPP has already taken five years of negotiations to the signing stage and will now undergo two- year ratification period.

In order for the deal to be implemented, six countries, that account for 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic production must approve the final text of the agreement.

The massive trade pact will still require years of tough negotiations before it becomes a reality.

More info you can also see @ http://www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-tpp-idUSKCN0VD08S

eManifest Highway Carrier - What you Need to Know

Here's what you need to know about highway carrier reporting requirements at the First Point of Arrival (FPOA) in Canada:

• As of January 11, 2016, if the carrier arrives at the border without having successfully provided the CBSA with pre-arrival eManifest data, the carrier will experience processing delays and may be subject to monetary penalties, but will not be required to return to the U.S

• Customs Self Assessment (CSA) / Free and Secure Trade (FAST) carriers and non- CSA/FAST carriers who are not transporting any goods (empty conveyance) are not required to submit pre-arrival eManifest conveyance data to the CBSA, but are encouraged to do so.

• There are three options available to carriers and their drivers when presenting documents to the CBSA officer upon arrival at FPOA, each of which requires that a document with a machine-readable bar code be presented to the CBSA officer:

1.(preferred option) Present a lead sheet that contains, at minimum, a bar coded Conveyance Reference Number (CRN);

2.Present a lead sheet that contains, at minimum, a bar-coded Cargo Control Number (CCN) with a handwritten CRN; or

3.Present a lead sheet that contains, at minimum, a handwritten CRN and also present Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) documents with a bar-coded PARS number. For more information see D-Memorandum 3-4-2 and eManifest Requirements for Highway Carriers.

CITT'S Game Changing Decision in Bri- Chem

In September the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) released its decision in three concurrent cases referred to as the Bri-Chem trilogy. Through these decisions, the CITT has made it clear that the CITT's interpretations of the Customs Act are binding on the CBSA unless it can successfully appeal such interpretations to the Federal Court of Appeal or to the Supreme Court of Canada. Moving forward, the binding nature of the legal precedent will apply to the case before the CITT, but also to all cases considered by the CBSA unless distinguishable on the facts. Up until this point, it was the CBSA's erroneous belief that decisions by the CITT were specific to the appeals before it and those decisions did not bind the CBSA in disputes with other importers that raised the same questions of law and mixed law and fact. After the release of the Bri-Chem trilogy, the CBSA will be forced to change its previous approach and will have to appeal decisions of the CITT that it does not agree with, as opposed to simply ignoring their precedential value.