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What do I need to know about importing from overseas?

Overseas Importing info:

Prior to importing, please be advised of the following so you may be customs compliant:

Shipments will be subject to Taxes (GST); and most often they will also be subject to Duties as they would not qualify for NAFTA.

NAFTA only covers goods manufactured in USA, Canada, or Mexico. Goods manufactured overseas may or may not be dutiable based on the Customs HS Tariff Classification of the goods.

Certain countries have trade agreements with Canada that may allow dutiable goods to be imported at a lowered rate of duty when accompanied by supporting documents such as a Form A or Exporters Statement of Origin (Form A – )

Exporter’s Statement of Origin – ) Please note that not all goods would qualify for a lower rate of duty; this will be based on the Customs HS Tariff Classification & the specific Trade Agreements with each country.

The following link may contain information you find helpful:

Marking requirements:

It is also important that any goods coming from overseas are properly marked for the Canadian market – marking requirements vary from commodity to commodity i.e: marking requirements for clothing will be different then the marking requirements for food products etc… Following is a link regarding CBSA’s marking requirements:

Wood Packaging:

Another point to keep in mind is regarding any wood packaging material used… Please do read and review the information in the following links to CBSA & CFIA requirements regarding the requirements for Fumigation etc…: CBSA:


In order to begin processing Customs Clearance of your shipment from overseas, the documents needed to begin, are:

  • A copy of the commercial invoice (bill of sale),
  • A copy of the ocean bill of lading (OBL) – or Air Waybill (AWB) if shipped via Air Cargo,
  • A copy of the packing list,
  • A copy of any other supporting documents (such as Form A mentioned above, and/or the Fumigation Certificate also mentioned above)

For the OBL – we recommend you work with your Overseas Vendor to have this document “Telex Released”; this will help to save time and avoid delays upon shipment arrival in Canada.

in Customs Documentation

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NOTE: All details pertaining to CARM R2 processes are based on the current information available at the time of writing. As this is subject to change, it’s recommended you periodically check in with the CBSA or your customs broker.