Questions to ask your Canadian customs broker

Businesses engaged in international trade often have to handle multiple complications. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is in charge of border control and customs in Canada. Importers are expected to keep up with the basic rules, regulations, and compliance needs, as mandated by the CBSA. Instead of trying to understand international trade laws and compliance requirements, it makes sense to work with a reliable Canadian customs broker. From Clearit ITN number, to getting pets into Canada, a known service can help with almost every aspect of importing. In this post, we are sharing some of the questions you must ask your customs broker. 

  1. What are your hours of operation? Are you available for clients during weekends?
  2. How much do you know about NAFTA?
  3. Will you help my business with maintaining records?
  4. How would you ensure compliance with customs regulations?
  5. Do you work with clients for both importing and exporting?
  6. Do you deal in all kinds of importing routes – air, sea, ground, and courier?
  7. Can you help clients with transportation of shipments on request?
  8. Do you have an in-house team of helpdesk experts?
  9. What extent of your work as a customs broker is done online?
  10. Do you offer consulting services?

Beyond the basics

While the role of a Canadian customs broker is to clear your goods at the port of arrival, they actually do much more than that. Many customs brokers are engaged in consulting, where they advise and work with regular importers, to ease importing and international trade. From duty drawbacks, applicable taxes, and GST, to factors that can impact an importer’s business, a good customs broker may advise on all aspects. Also, the expertise of Canadian customs brokers can help in avoiding delays and mistakes, especially for regular importers, who cannot afford to have goods waiting for clearance. Brokers do not merely help with mitigating risks, but can also offer insight on profitability. 

Are Canadian customs brokers expensive?

That depends on the nature and type of import. For High Value shipments, you may have to pay a tad more, and there is the EDI processing fee. Keep in mind that hiring a customs broker is more about expertise and being regular at importing. For importers, the fee is just an addition to the cost of procuring goods. 

If you are hiring a customs broker for the first time, check for reviews. Also, you may want to contact the concerned customs brokerage service to find more about their response.