Customs and Compliance

Caspian Group takes care of your customs clearance requirements across Canada, no matter the type of transport: ground, sea, rail or air.

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Who is responsible?

Our services:

  • Assistance in obtaining a business number (BN), an importer/exporter account
  • Assistance regarding the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA)
  • Preparation of release documents (bill of sight) for clearing customs
  • Detailed preparation of declaration documents
  • Quality control of products
  • Consultation and customs compliance

Widely regarded as a necessary inconvenience in business, customs can sometimes remain an abstract topic for import and export companies. Since 2000, the onus to comply with customs procedures has been put on the importer. It is important to note that, for customs authorities, everything is in compliance until the moment it is checked.

If your imports or exports are deemed to be non-compliant, penalties are levied in accordance with the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS). These financial penalties have become so severe that a company’s finance and accounting department should be responsible for applying the law. However, it is the shipping and receiving department that normally takes responsibility for customs compliance, despite its minimal authority over and influence on other departments, which are often too overwhelmed to be aware of the numerous activities carried out by the shipping and receiving department.

As an importer, you must comply with customs procedures under threat of sanction. The consistency of your transactional activities with respect to compliance enhances your reputation with customs authorities.

Customs consultancy

Caspian Group’s customs experts team advises and assists you during your export and import activities in Canada or abroad, so that nothing is overlooked due to a lack of awareness of complex administrative details.

We can help you

  • prepare a customs compliance plan and a full or partial audit, by using a sample of your customs transactions to identify potential issues and correct them in an efficient manner;
  • prepare for a customs audit if one is required by customs services;
  • plan your import and export activities for more complex items;
  • classify your products by harmonized code. If you have a large number of products to export or import into Canada or internationally, you might have to code your products so that there are no surprises and that customs clearance goes smoothly;
  • claim your customs duties (B2 Form and Drawbacks Program). It is possible to claim a reimbursement of customs duties if an order is changed, products are missing or damaged, or merchandise is re-exported;
  • clarify various possible tax consequences for declared values and taxation;
  • apply regulations with regard to manufactured products, customs laws and tariffs under the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). As a manufacturer, you are responsible for documenting and coding your products, validating regulations and proving that the product meets the standard in terms of regional value;
  • conduct research about different government departments, such as Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Transport Canada, Global Affairs Canada;
  • obtain expert legal representation before trade tribunals and Canadian and American customs authorities. We can assist you in mitigated cases involving, for example, products that are subject to dumping or various eligible goods.

In order to deliver customs brokerage services that meet your expectations, our team stays on top of changes in legislation and international regulations, as well as new practices in the customs sector

Import Compliance Consulting
Prevent unnecessary import expenses—our experts will assess your import compliance program to uncover potential penalties, help mitigate duty exposure, and determine if duty drawbacks can lead to duty recovery.

CARM Guidance
Prepare for the transition to CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM), Canada’s new import system. Get individualized support and personal guidance from people you can rely on.

Export Filing Services
Avoid costly fines and penalties—trust our skilled experts to accurately process your filings. Our due diligence includes auditing your exports and filing export transactions consistently, timely, and accurately.

Do you qualify for potential duty refunds?
Use our U.S. Tariff Search Tool to instantly search by Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and estimate your retroactive refund amount as Section 301 exclusions pass into law.

Navigating tariffs under the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA)
The United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) aims to counter China’s growing influence through investments in domestic manufacturing.

What USICA means for businesses
Under USICA, you may be eligible to collect refunds on duties you’ve previously paid to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and potentially benefit going forward from Section 301 duty exclusions being reinstated until January 1, 2027.

Certain Section 301 duty exclusions reinstated
On March 23, 2022, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced it would reinstate 352 product exclusions, retroactive to October 12, 2021, and extended through December 31, 2022.

Uncover potential duty refunds
Use the U.S. Tariff Search Tool below to instantly search by Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and estimate your potential retroactive duty refund amount today.


Breaking down the barriers to a seamless supply chain

In a global economy, customs clearance is a complex and ever-changing landscape of rules and regulations. Efficient customs brokerage and full compliance with freight safety and security requirements are the keys to fluid supply chain management.

Our customs expertise contributes significantly to the seamless flow of goods

Caspian Group constantly monitors local and international customs regulations in order to update its systems accordingly. With this knowledge, we can process your custom clearances with accuracy and efficiency. Local experts in offices around the globe help manage your freight and ensure any problems are resolved in real-time.

A full range of customs & regulatory compliance services

  • Customized advice: analysis of customs flows and expert assistance in a range of fields (regulations, procedures, customs regimes)
  • Centralized customs clearance
  • Agreements and conventions with various customs administrations (simplified and/or pre-paid clearance procedures)
  • Bonded warehouse management


Incoterms 2020 Changes

The  International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)  has released the Incoterms 2020 update of their international trade terms for the sale of goods. The new version of Incoterms 2020 takes effect as of January 1, 2020.

The Incoterms rules define the division of responsibilities between a seller and a buyer for the tasks, costs and risks involved in delivering merchandise. First introduced in 1936, they have been revised on a regular basis to reflect changes in international trade; since 1980 they’ve been updated every 10 years. The Incoterms revisions are changed in style and substance, improve certain aspects of the Incoterms and includes a detailed explanation of how to choose the most appropriate Incoterms rule for a sale contract.

The Incoterms 2020 consider of the growth of the economy, increasing attention to security in the transportation of goods, insurance coverage flexibility and on-board bill of lading under Free Carrier (FCA) rule.

Some of the new issues and changes in the new edition of the Incoterms 2020 are:

DAT is changing to DPU

DAT means Delivered-At-Terminal, will be replaced by DPU – Delivery-At-Place Unloaded. DPU mean that the seller delivers the goods and transfers risk to the buyer once the goods unloaded at place of destination agreed. The import customs clearance and related costs remain for the account of the buyer. DPU is basically a DAP Delivered at Place, with unloading. The reference to terminal has been removed to make it more general.

Change of insurance in CIP/CIF

Cost of Insurance and Freight (CIF) means the seller delivers to the carrier and pays the carriage and insurance to named destination in any mode of transport. For 2020, the same insurance requirements apply but Carriage and Insurance Paid (CIP) has increased the insurance required under this term. The reason is CIF is generally used with bulk goods (waterways only) and CIP (multimodal)I s often used for manufactured goods. This is revised for the need of flexibility depending on the type and transport of goods.

Costs clarification

Cost of Insurance and Freight (CIF) means the seller delivers to the carrier and pays the carriage and insurance to named destination in any mode of transport. For 2020, the same insurance requirements apply but Carriage and Insurance Paid (CIP) has increased the insurance required under this term. The reason is CIF is generally used with bulk goods (waterways only) and CIP (multimodal)I s often used for manufactured goods. This is revised for the need of flexibility depending on the type and transport of goods.

Security requirements

Transportation security has become the new norm (example: mandatory screening of containers).  Incoterms 2020 brings security related obligations to the forefront in each Incoterm at A4 and A7 of each rule and the costs are featured under A9/B9 of each rule.


FOB term is generally used for container shipments, for this the seller takes risks as seller loses control of container on arrival at port and still liable until container is loaded which exposes the seller to cost and risk. FCA has been changed to allow the parties to agree for the buyer to direct the carrier to issue the onboard bill of lading to the seller.

In 2020, the buyer can instruct the carried to issue an on-board bill of lading after loading to the seller. The seller will be obliged to tender the bill of lading to the buyer. When this option is used the seller does not take on an obligation to the buyer in respect of the terms of contract of carriage.

In Incoterms 2020 the explanatory notes for each incoterm has been modified to provide more details and with useful pictures. It is important to use the appropriate Incoterm per contract.

The Guidance Notes that were previously at the start of each individual Incoterms have now been amended to Explanatory Notes for Users section in the new Incoterms 2020 publication.

Obtain your copy of the Incoterms 2020 through the ICC website.


Why are documents required?

Documents are an integral part of all modes of transport. They reflect our instructions and specify the terms and conditions of our contracts. They protect you and your client, as well as all stakeholders, represents you when dealing with the authorities concerned and identify your merchandise.

They are used throughout the transport process, whether during pick-up or delivery, at customs, when finalizing your payments. They must comply with international regulations, your INCOTERM and, above all, serve as official declaration for all concerned parties.

It is therefore very important to take the time to properly complete your documentation.

We can help you

Caspian Group has the necessary experience and training to draw up each of the following documents:

  • commercial invoice
  • packing list
  • certificate of origin
  • export declaration
  • VGM
  • any document related to the letter of credit or documentary letter of credit
  • any document specifying the nature of your product or country of destination (FDA Prior Notice, BSC/ECTN and FCC forms, textile declaration, ATA carnet)

We will inform you of the documents required to ensure that your shipment arrives smoothly and verify that your documentation is accurate.

As we are responsible for issuing some of these forms, we will be happy to help you submit, finalize or verify your own.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on the documents required to ensure problem-free shipping of your merchandise.