Canada’s foreign-trade zone (FTZ) program has received little love from manufacturers and retailers that seem unaware of the potential benefits.  Due to this, Canada is shifting their focus to gaining more participation.

Over the next five years, the Canadian government will award $5 million in funding to local economic development agencies, in the hopes of getting shippers interested in the FTZ program.

Yvon Pellerin, a customs and trade advisor at Calgary-based customs broker, Dilas International, estimates that Canada’s FTZs have about 500 users nationwide.  That would be a great selling point, except for the fact that, unlike the US, the Canadian government can’t release the names of program participants to pique interest.

Canadian FTZs are a bit different from US FTZs – FTZs don’t require users to be in an actual physical zone.  Also, Canadian FTZs focus more on tax savings rather than tariff savings, since Canada has already eliminated tariffs on parts and components used for the assembly of final products.. “We don’t have as many savings here (in Canada) because we don’t have as many expenses here,” states Pellerin.

However, the Journal of Commerce states that Canadian manufacturers can improve their cash flow by not paying the 5 percent tax on goods and services until the products enter the manufacturing process. Retailers will also be able to delay VAT payments until the product leaves the warehouse or distribution center, or, if they use a broker, up to 30 days in many cases.

The promise of funding isn’t the Canadian government’s first effort to stimulate interest in its FTZ program. Last year, the Harper Administration eliminated the annual registration fee for the Customs Bonded Warehouse program. The fees, ranging from $100 to up to $5,000 per company, will not only save money for these companies; it will also cut down on the amount of paperwork required. The administration also cut back on the amount of paperwork required to apply for an FTZ as well as appointing a single point of contact and service for the program.

With Calgary’s population growing, the FTZ program predicts an increased demand for distribution centers. The Canadian government’s marketing efforts seem to be paying off; according to Tom Dixon, CED Business Development Manager, some of the largest shippers in Calgary have expressed interest in the FTZ program.

With the help of some marketing efforts and $5 million, Canada hopes to see a growing interest in its FTZ program. Read more about their efforts and all changes here.

The Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations of Customs and Border Protection (COAC) will hold its next public meeting on February 20, 2014. The meeting will begin at 1:00 pm EST and is expected to run until 5:00 pm EST.

The COAC will hear from the following subcommittees on current topics and issues:

-          The Trusted Trader Subcommittee

-          The Export Subcommittee

-          The One US Government at the Border Subcommittee

-          The Trade Enforcement and Revenue Collection Subcommittee

-          The Trade Modernization Subcommittee

-          The Global Supply Chain Subcommittee

Pre-Registration is required for those who wish to attend either in person or via webinar.

For members of the public who plan to participate via webinar, please register online here by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 18, 2014.

For members of the public who plan to attend the meeting in person, please register by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by fax to 202-325-4290 by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 18, 2014. The meeting will be held at the US Customs and Border Protection, Office of Training and Development Conference Space, at 1717 H Street, NW, Conference Room 7300 A-C, Washington, DC 20006.

For the full agenda, as well as information on submitting comments during the session, click here.

On January 26, the World Customs Organization (WCO) recognized International Customs Day (ICD). On ICD, Customs administrations of 179 Member States of the WCO commemorate the first session of the Customs Co-Operation Council, later renamed the WCO, which took place on January 26, 1953. The day also recognizes the importance of the roles that customs officials and agencies play in maintaining border security.

Each year, a different theme is chosen to highlight the significance of the business partnership approach. The chosen theme for 2014 is “Communication.” 2014, heralded as the “Year of Communication,” focuses on the WCO’s efforts to increase and improve communication strategies and worldwide outreach programs.

The WCO states, “Under the slogan ‘Communication: sharing information for better cooperation,’ we are signaling our aspiration to do more at the national, regional and international level to raise awareness of the vital role Customs plays in international trade, economic prosperity and social development.”

The WCO commends its efforts to better communicate, which it says includes, “national Customs websites, specialized magazines, media outreach and social networks.”

Special focus is also placed on expanding communication with WCO stakeholders and partners and effectively listening and responding to feedback.

Click here to view the official ICD Message from the WCO.