CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

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Mandatory use of Single Window Initiative begins April 1

  Single Window Initiative (SWI)

The Single Window Initiative (SWI), introduced by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in March 2017, will become mandatory as of April 1, 2020, the date which CBSA plans to decommission existing OGD PARS and RMD service options.

The CBSA created the SWI in order to electronically communicate with Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) to better identify goods with import requirements, and exchange that information with the PGA at time of release.

This single integrated solution is shared with the applicable PGA via an Integrated Import Declaration (IID).  The IID will streamline the importing process while eliminating redundancies in an effort to reduce clearance times.

In simple terms, SWI means import data forwarded to the CBSA will be automatically shared with nine Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) (see list below), and will bring 38 government programs under one roof.  This is expected to be a significant improvement on the old process, which required many importers to make separate submissions of import data to the CBSA and applicable government agencies and departments.

Importers are responsible for providing the required PGA data elements to their customs broker – the broker then transmits the data and, where required, submits documents electronically to the CBSA and PGAs via the Integrated Import Declaration (IID).

Although SWI reduces the manual handling of paper documents and streamlines the CBSA process once the entry is submitted, the initiative also significantly increases the amount of pre-arrival electronic data required for many commodities.

To meet deadlines, ensure readiness for the new data requirements and ensure compliance with the program overall, Canadian customs brokers needed to make significant system and process changes.  Importers will also need to adjust their own internal processes to account for the added data requirements.

Effective April 1, 2020, new service fees will be applicable to customs entries requiring PGA release under the SWI/IID initiative.

Following is a list of the 9 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) and their data requirements under SWI:

Please see below for Data Element Matching Criteria Tables by Participating Government Departments and Agencies, complete with HS Tariff Classification cross-reference:

In order to avoid customs clearance delays post full implementation, Canadian customs clients of Universal Logistics will receive a commodity listing with required PGA data elements to be completed and returned to our office, in advance of the April SWI implementation.

Key questions and answers:

What are the key goals of SWI? 

  • Give the trade community the ability to electronically submit all information required to eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and processes.
  • Reduce the paper burden on the business community and government.
  • Align to the greatest extent possible with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) data model.

When does SWI become effective?

April 1, 2020:  Deadline for importers/brokers to file release requests to CBSA using Single Window for applicable PGA shipments – current OGD PARS and OGD RMD options will be sunset.

How does the submission of import data change under SWI? 

Through Single Window, importers will provide all required documentation to the CBSA electronically, including information required by PGAs with a request for release.  The CBSA then transmits all applicable data elements directly to the respective PGA(s).  Upon receipt, the PGA reviews the transmitted information and provides the release decision back to CBSA which, in turn, transmits this information back to the applicable customs broker.

Will I have to supply more information?

Yes, you will need to report more product information to satisfy the data needs of the applicable PGA(s).  Clients of Universal Logistics may provide this information to us to be kept on file.

Is there any change in the timing of reporting?

Yes, information previously provided to PGAs after (in some cases) the goods are imported into Canada will now be required before the carrier’s arrival at the border.

For more information, contact Brian Rowe, Director – Customs Compliance & Regulatory Affairs.

Quick Tip #8
Why accurate shipping documentation is so important

Did you know that the decision to call a freight shipment for exam is made by Other Government Departments (OGDs), such as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and is often triggered by a problem with the documentation?

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