Canada: Sustainable solutions to resolve import rejections
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This article originally appeared in Food in Canada and is republished with permission from the publisher.
When a shipment is rejected at the border, time is of the essence as storage costs add up and delays can disrupt carefully planned logistics. Finding the right solution often involves coordinating with multiple vendors and regulators to determine the root cause and resolve the issue.
When food is imported into Canada, the CFIA receives commercial import data electronically from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) through the CBSA’s Single Window Initiative (SWI) – Declaration of integrated import (IID). SWI streamlines the sharing of commercial import data between the importing community and the Government of Canada. Participating government departments and agencies rely on data from the IID to validate import information and ensure requirements are met.
The information transmitted through SWI is intended to satisfy a variety of legislative regimes. As such, service options must adapt to complex and, at times, disparate regulatory requirements.
Two recent issues demonstrate the importance of coordination between regulators and the importing community.
SFC Declaring Importer and Importer
As food distribution becomes increasingly global, so do the legal entities involved in delivering food to Canadians. Whether due to tax, business or residency requirements, there are many legal reasons why the importer of record declared for customs purposes may be a different legal entity from the SFC Authorized Importer. However, the current IID data fields do not provide a method to specifically declare an SFC Authorized Importer. This lack of functionality presents a problem, as the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) require importers to declare the name and address of the authorized SFC importer as well as the license number. In cases where the Importer of Record and the SFC Authorized Importer are different entities, there is no way to communicate this information through IID. Additionally, the CFIA noted the deviation as a possible non-compliance (i.e. incorrectly suggesting that the wrong SFC license number had been reported).
The CFIA has taken steps to address this issue and is reviewing the IID data fields to determine the best way to enter the name and address of the SFC Authorized Importer. In the meantime, the CFIA has confirmed that the declaration of the SFC license number will be sufficient to allow the CFIA to access the associated name and address of the authorized SFC importer for the purposes of the SFCR.
Solution for HS codes shared by foods and NHPs
Last December, our colleague Dr. Jon-Paul Powers wrote in this column about the confusion and delays experienced by importers of natural health products (NHPs) whose shipments were automatically rejected at the border for failure to enter. an SFC license. The import issues arose due to the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) linking some HS codes to the requirement of an SFC license. In fact, the system has not been implemented in a way that recognizes that in some cases the same HS code may apply to a food or an NHP. Specifically, where there is an overlap of regulatory jurisdiction over an HS code, the SWI system requires that import requirements be met for all applicable programs. For NHPs, this meant forcing the declaration of an SFC license, even though importing an NHP, a subset of drugs, must be done through a site license, not a food license.
Resolving this issue required coordination with Health Canada and the CFIA. Requests were made to add the relevant HS codes to Health Canada’s Regulated Product Data Element Matching Criteria for NHPs, and the CFIA updated AIRS to include an “Other End Use” exemption. So that the other government department regulating the products can be identified.
Going forward, Health Canada intends to coordinate with the CBSA and the CFIA to ensure that exemption codes are available for any new HS codes that may overlap and be added to the linkage tables. data. Industry is encouraged to reach out and bring affected HS codes to the attention of Health Canada.
Rejected shipments cause delays and costs. This increases the pressure on companies to implement a âquick fixâ rather than investigating and resolving the root cause. However, some actions can trigger unintended legal consequences.
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