Know Before You Go

By: Jim Pettinger, President & CEO of UCanTrade, Inc.
The “Know Before You Go” slogan is familiar to most Canadians (and some Americans). Along with “I declare” (Je déclare), it reminds us to make sure we know our obligations at the border when traveling. However, when planning to expand your Canadian business into the USA, it’s important to understand two more specific initial obligations relating to both persons and goods. (Dealing with certain other obligations can usually be deferred until your USA business venture gains a foothold.)
First, make sure you know your (or your employee’s) status as a “temporary business visitor”. The last thing you want is to have your (or your employee’s) name and/or license plate entered into the DHS database (or worse, to be instantly and arbitrarily banned from ever entering the U.S. again!). And second, make sure you have a 100% understanding of U.S. Customs (and related agencies) “release” requirements for any goods (and packing materials) you intend to import into the USA from either Canada or offshore (e.g., products, samples, marketing materials, trade show booths, etc.).
U.S. Customs penalties can be enormous and, worse, you don’t want to lose all those precious initial orders because you can’t deliver your first container/pallet/carton of product.

TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.
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UCanTrade Staff