In normal times, the Canada Border Services Agency ("CBSA") conducts verifications (audits) of importers to ensure that they are in compliance with Canadian customs laws (e.g., origin, tariff classification, valuation, etc.). On March 26, 2020, we received the following notification from a CBSA Trade Compliance Officer with whom we are engaged on a file:
"Due to the impact that COVID-19 is having on individuals and businesses, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will temporarily suspend trade compliance activity interaction with importers/exporters and representatives until April 20, 2020. Effective immediately, all deadlines imposed in connection with the verification are automatically extended by a period of time equivalent to the period of suspension. Given the circumstances, the length of this suspension period may be re-evaluated at a later date. For greater clarity, the CBSA is continuing to process drawback claims, applications for the Duties Relief Program, and B2 requests for adjustments, and these are unaffected by this temporary suspension."
What this means is that current trade compliance verification activities are temporarily suspended – but this is just a delay. Importers still must comply with Canada's import and customs laws. Trade compliance activities actions will start again. Any tariff classification, origin, valuation or other errors made during the COVID-19 temporary shutdown period may be the subject of a future verification nd enforcement action.
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