As an importer, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the various rules and regulations surrounding customs and government agencies in the countries you work with. One of the most recent developments in the Canadian import-export sphere is the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project.
This is a new plan from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that has already started being implemented. It aims to streamline the importation process. Canadian importers and non resident importers to Canada will be the ones most impacted by CARM.
Whether you’ve been importing to Canada for decades or you’re considering starting your first import-export business, you are likely to be affected by CARM. How can you prepare your business for success in this changing climate of international trade?
What is CARM?
CARM is essentially the CBSA’s effort to revamp the importation process and make it easier for everyone. That doesn’t mean that it will be an easy transition, however. Change always involves an adjustment period.
The main goals of CARM are as follows:
- Offer a modern interface for importing to Canada
- Provide importers with more convenient access to information
- Make trade rule compliance more consistent
- Streamline the overall importation process
- Lower the cost of importing into Canada
Watch this video from the CBSA to learn more about CARM.
Because CARM has such a multifaceted agenda, its rollout consists of multiple stages. The first release has already occurred, which means savvy importers are already experimenting with the new system.
Released on May 25, 2021, the first phase of development opened the CARM Client Portal (CCP). As an importer, you have the ability to register for the CCP and start taking advantage of its features.
Here are the things you can use the CCP for:
- Delegate authority to your customs broker
- Manage and pay your monthly statement of accounts
- Access the CBSA Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) for goods classification and estimating duties and taxes
- Apply for and keep track of customs rulings and other key information
The second phase of development is scheduled to be released in spring 2022. At that time, all trade chain partners will have access to the CCP. With the first release, only importers, customs brokers, and trade consultants can register for the CCP.
These are the new features of the CCP that will be available with the second phase:
- Maintain Release Prior to Payment (RPP) privilege by posting your own financial security (surety bond or cash deposit)
- Complete the Commercial Accounting Declaration (CAD), a digital document that replaces form B3 (customs coding form)
- Submit entry corrections and adjustments electronically
- Make use of additional payment options and new billing cycles
- Register for a business number (BN) and other CBSA programs
What CARM means for importers
On the whole, CARM represents a shift in Canadian trade dynamics. Importers rather than customs brokers will be the ones held liable for the importation process. For example, while in the past customs brokers were able to post an RPP security on behalf of the importer, now importers will be required to post their own RPP security.
This doesn’t mean that customs brokers have become unnecessary, however. Rather, customs brokers will be involved in a different capacity but still able to assist importers with calculating taxes and duties, completing paperwork, and following rules and regulations.
The shift to a direct portal allows importers to become more innovative in the way they handle the importation process. It should virtually eliminate the need for hands-on attention from the CBSA.
As a Canadian importer or non-resident importer to Canada, you’ll need to change the way you conduct your import-export business due to CARM. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to get ahead of the game by registering for the CCP before the second release.
The most crucial thing you can do to prepare your business for CARM is to register early so you have plenty of time to get ready for the big launch. Those who fail to register before the second release of CARM will be unable to import into Canada.
You’ll need to designate a Business Account Manager (BAM) as the primary contact of your organization. This person will register your company for the CCP and provide portal access to other staff members. The BAM will oversee all interactions with the CBSA via the portal. It’s advisable to have a second BAM added to your account in case an employee leaves.
Start thinking about which key members of your organization will be responsible for abiding by CARM requirements and involved in using the portal. Remember, your accounting staff and other personnel will need to have access to the portal.
You can find more information and helpful resources on the CBSA website.
Need help maneuvering the various aspects of CARM? Since 2008, BorderBuddy has been navigating the changing rules and regulations surrounding importing to Canada. We have the experience and the expertise required to help your company adapt to CARM. Give us a call today.