Canadian Customs Information, Terminology, and More

Defining Shipping to, from and within Canada

The shipping and supply chain industry is full of terms and acronyms related to shipping domestic or international freight and Canadian customs regulations. Scroll down to see all terms and acronyms or select from the menu below:



Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS): CBSA-administered process that streamlines the way goods are imported into Canada. ACROSS allows importers and brokers to exchange information electronically with CBSA, thereby eliminating the requirement to present hard copies of all release packages. A CBSA inspector reviews the data and makes a determination to either release the shipment, or hold it for further review.

Accessorial Charges: Costs assessed by a freight provider for services that go beyond routine pickup and delivery functions. Common accessorial charges include fuel surcharges, waiting time, loading and unloading, and storage time.

Accounts Payable: An accounting term that refers to obligations that a business owes to its suppliers and creditors for goods or services.

Accounts Receivable: An accounting term that refers to the amount owed to a business by its customers.

Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS): CBSA-administered process that evaluates all customs-related complaints and, if warranted, imposes penalties. Penalties are generally assessed based on the type, frequency and severity of the compliance failure.

Advance Commercial Information (ACI): CBSA-administered risk assessment program that requires advance notification about all Canada-bound shipments. Pre-notification allows CBSA agents to conduct a risk assessment of incoming shipments, so that necessary security protocols can be in place when a “questionable” shipment arrives at the border. The U.S. counterpart to ACI is the Automated Export System (AES).

Aftermarket: Secondary market that deals in the sale of used goods, replacement parts, accessories and repaired/refurbished products. Aftermarket materials are not manufactured by original manufacturers, but meet the size and performance requirements of the original manufacturer. In the United States, the automotive aftermarket employs approximately 4.3 million people and generates more than $280 billion in annual sales.

Ambassador Bridge: Suspension bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario. The bridge is North America’s busiest international border crossing, with roughly 6.4 million cars and trucks crossing annually.

Antidumping and Countervailing Duties: Additional duties that are assessed on imported goods that are intended for sale in the United States at abnormally low prices.

Automated Broker Interface (ABI): CBP-administered program that allows qualified participants to file import data electronically. ABI is a voluntary program available to approved brokers, importers, carriers, port authorities and independent service centers. ABI is an integral part of the Automated Commercial System (ACS)

Automated Commercial System (ACS): Comprehensive system used by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to track, control, and process all commercial goods imported into the United States. ACS is administered by the CBP.

Automated Manifest System (AMS): U.S. CBP -administered, multi-modular inventory control and release notification system that automates the customs clearance process for rail carriers, air carriers, port authorities, service bureaus, freight forwarders and container freight stations.

Automated Export System (AES): U.S.-administered system through which export shipment information is electronically transmitted to the CBP. As of 2008, all filings are required to be submitted electronically. The Canadian counterpart to AES is the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program.

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Back Haul: Return leg of a distribution cycle, whereby a vehicle travels back to its point of origin. Often a source of cost-efficient service for non-time sensitive shipments.

Beyond the Border Working Group: Joint U.S.-Canada initiative announced in February 2011 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When in place, BBWG will consist of representatives from each country and be charged with finding ways to streamline border security while creating a “security perimeter” around the two countries.

Bill of Lading: A legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper acknowledging receipt of specified goods. A bill of lading also indicates the vehicle on which goods will travel, their intended destination and the terms for transporting goods to their final destination.

Business Number: A 15-digit number that the Canada Revenue Agency assigns to a business for tax matters related to doing business in Canada.

Bonded Carrier: Transporter licensed by customs to carry goods on which duty has yet to be paid.

Bonded Warehouse: A warehouse that has been authorized by customs authorities for storage of goods on which payment of duties is deferred until the goods are removed.

Bureau of Census Foreign Trade Division: Responsible for collecting data about trade statistics. To do this, there are very specific reporting requirements that exporters must follow. Exporters who don’t report, or report late face fines of up to $10,000 per transaction.

Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): Agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce charged with advancing U.S. national security, foreign policy and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system.

Business-to-Business (B2B): Commercial transactions that occur between businesses, such as a manufacturer selling to a wholesaler, or a wholesaler selling to a retailer.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C): Commercial transactions that occur when a business sells directly to a consumer. Internet transactions are generally B2C transactions.

Business-to Government (B2G): Commercial transactions that occur between government entities and a private business.

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Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA): The agency responsible for ensuring the security and prosperity of Canada by managing the access of people and goods to and from that country.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency: Government agency created in 1999 when the Department of National Revenue was merged with Canada Customs. Agency was subsequently dismantled, with all customs functions transferred to the CBSA in 2003, and the remaining revenue functions falling to the renamed Canada Revenue Agency.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA): Agency charged with administering all tax laws for the Government of Canada and most provinces and territories, as well as with implementing various social and economic programs.

Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED): Free and secure software provided by Statistics Canada through which registered exporters and agents report goods electronically. Eliminates paper-based reporting methods.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA): Government agency charged with safeguarding that country’s food supply, protecting the environment and strengthening security at the border.

Cargo Control Document (CCD): Documentation required by CBSA, acts as the initial record of a shipment’s arrival in Canada.

Carnet: International customs document that simplifies the entry process for temporary shipments. A carnet serves as a guarantee against the payment of customs duties that may become due on goods temporarily imported and not reexported.

Carriage and Insurance Paid To (CIP): An Incoterm which means that a seller delivers the goods to a pre-determined carrier, but the seller must pay the costs associated with bringing the goods to the carrier.

Carriage Paid To (CPT): An Incoterm that refers to instances in which a seller pays the freight costs for transportation of goods to a pre-determined destination.

Carrier: A company engaged in the business of transporting goods.

Carrier Certificate: A document issued by a shipping company that certifies ownership of a shipment, and denotes to customs which parties may make a customs claim on that shipment.

Census Bureau: U.S. government agency charged with collecting statistics and data about the U.S. population, demographics and economy. The Census Bureau is also responsible for collecting data about international trade.

Certificate of Origin: NAFTA-mandated document that details the country in which a shipment of goods was manufactured. Certificate of Origin must be completed by an exporter when claiming a preferential tariff treatment for a particular shipment.

Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF): A business or transportation provider that is authorized by the TSA to screen cargo at a non-airport location. Cargo screened by a CCSF is subsequently transported to an airport, ready for loading. The CCSF function was authorized by the TSA as part of its 100 percent screening mandate for cargo travelling aboard U.S. passenger planes.

Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP): Program developed by the TSA to facilitate implementation of 100 percent screening mandate for cargo travelling aboard U.S. passenger planes. CCSP allows qualified businesses and logistics and transportation providers to screen cargo off-site, thereby allowing shipments to arrive at the airport pre-cleared and ready for boarding.

Commercial Cash Entry Processing System (CCEPS): CBSA-maintained free, self-service terminals that help clients prepare documentation needed to clear low-value commercial and personal goods into Canada. CCEPS generates completed forms that are ready for CBSA inspection.

Commercial Invoice: An itemized listing of goods contained in a shipment – prepared by the person or corporation that is exporting the goods.

Commingling: Situation in which goods that are subject to different duty rates are packed together or combined in such a way that a customs officer cannot easily determine the quantity or value of each class of article. Commingled shipments are subject to the highest rate of duty applicable to any part of the shipment.

Compliance Safety Accountability: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety, in an effort to reduce accidents involving commercial vehicles.

Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010): U.S. Department of Transportation initiative designed to improve highway safety through enhanced inspection and safety requirements among large motor vehicle carriers and drivers.

Consignee: The individual or company to whom a seller or shipper sends merchandise.

Consignor: The individual or company who sends a shipment via ship, by land or by air.

Consolidation: Process in which smaller shipments are combined, for purposes of expedited border clearance, or cost efficiency.

Container: Storage unit used to transport freight via highway, rail or ship. International shipping containers are 20 or 40 feet long, conform to International Standards Organization (ISO) standards and will fit in a ship’s hold.

Container Security Initiative (CSI): U.S. Customs program intended to provide enhanced screening and security for all containerized cargo shipped to the U.S. from around the world.

Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF): An Incoterm which refers to the requirement that a seller arrange for the delivery of goods by sea to a pre-determined port, and further that the buyer be provided with documents necessary to obtain the goods from the carrier.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP): International association of individuals involved in supply chain management.

Country of Origin: The legal determined country in which goods have been substantially manufactured, grown or produced.

Cost and Freight (CFR): An Incoterm that refers to the point at which a seller fulfills an obligation to the buyer, when goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment.

Courier: A person or business that delivers messages, packages and/or mail. Courier service is considered premium level, since deliveries are generally expedited and involve specialized services including tracking and signature-verification.

Courier Imports Remission Order (CIRO): CBSA-administered program through which goods valued at less than $20 CAD are granted duty exemptions.

Courier Low Value Shipment Program (LVS): CBSA-administered program that allows international couriers to facilitate the processing and release of low value shipments (valued at $1,600 CAD or less).

Critical Freight: Shipments that are extremely time sensitive.

Customs Automated Data Exchange (CADEX): CBSA program that provides importers and brokers with the ability to electronically transmit accounting documents to CBSA for already-released goods. CADEX removes the need to present hard-copy versions of documents.

Customs Bond: A guarantee between three parties: (a) an insurance/surety company; (b) a principal; and (c) Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The customs bond guarantees CBP that if the principal defaults on obligations, remedy can be sought from the insurance/surety company.

Customs Border Protection (CBP): The U.S. agency charged with securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing all U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws. CBP is a division of the Department of Homeland Security.

Customs Broker: A business that is licensed as an agent, on behalf of an importer/exporter of goods, to move those goods through the customs/border clearance process, and to ensure compliance with all paperwork/filing mandates, taxes/fees and security protocols.

Customs Declaration System (CUSDEC): CBSA process, similar to CADEX, through which importers and brokers transmit electronically accounting documents. However, with CUSDEC, data are transmitted using the international programming language known as UN/EDIFACT.

Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program: Program administered by CBSA to facilitate the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved carriers.

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT): Voluntary program administered by CBP through which businesses and shippers agree to take steps to ensure the safety of their supply chains, in exchange for expedited clearance upon arrival at the border. Similar to Canada’s Partners in Protection (PIP) program.

Customs Valuation: Monetary value placed by a customs agency on a good or service destined for export or import.

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Dangerous Goods: Materials capable of causing damage to persons, property or the environment when transported in quantity, and subject to regulatory protocols as outlined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Products regarded as “dangerous goods” include, but are not limited to, aerosol cans, perfumes, paints, ammunition, butane, car batteries, fireworks, dry ice, solvents and certain chemicals.

Deadhead Miles: Miles incurred by a driver to get from point of last drop-off to point of next pick up.

Delivered at Place (DAP): Incoterm adopted in 2011 that refers to instances in which the seller delivers goods to an agreed upon destination. The seller assumes all risk until the goods arrive at their destination, and takes care of customs requirements.

Delivered at Terminal (DAT): Incoterm adopted in 2011 that refers to instances in which a seller delivers goods to an agreed upon place of destination, and unloads them from the arriving method of transportation. The goods are placed at the buyer’s disposal at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination.

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP): An Incoterm that refers to instances in which a seller delivers goods to a buyer, cleared for import, and not unloaded from any arriving means of transport at the named place of destination.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): U.S. federal agency formed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that is charged with preventing terrorist attacks with the United States, reducing America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimizing damage from a terrorist attack.

Detroit-Windsor Bridge: Proposed bridge that would connect Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario. As proposed, bridge would help alleviate congestion on the nearby Ambassador Bridge. Proposal was tabled by the Michigan State Senate in December 2010.

Dimensionalized Weight (DIM Weight): Calculation used by shippers/freight carriers to determine shipping costs based on the density of a package, rather than by its actual weight. A package’s dimensional weight is calculated as follows: length X width X height, divided by 166.

Distribution Center Bypass (DC Bypass): Supply chain option through which a shipment travels directly from a manufacturing facility or warehouse to a retailer or other end destination, thereby skipping over a stop at a mid-route distribution center. DC Bypass generally is a more cost efficient and timely supply chain option.

Douglas Crossing: U.S./Canada border crossing located at Blaine, Washington and Douglas, British Columbia. Also known as the “Peace Arch Crossing,” because of the monument of that name located on that site. The Douglas/Peach Arch crossing is the main U.S./Vancouver entry point, but does not permit trucks or commercial vehicles.

Drawback: The refund of duties paid on imported materials that are subsequently exported.

Drop Shipping: Supply chain management option through which a retailer does not maintain inventories, but instead forwards customer orders to either a manufacturer or supplier, who fulfills the customer order directly.

Duty: A tax levied by a government on the import, export or use and consumption of goods.

Duty Deferral Program: Trade program through which businesses are permitted to defer payment of duties on goods to be exported. As applied to NAFTA-signatories, duty deferral generally means that a business is not taxed twice – on imported materials that are used in the manufacture of goods that are subsequently exported.

Duty Drawback program: Trade-enhancement program administered by CBP that allows U.S. businesses to be reimbursed for any duty collected on materials that are subsequently used in the manufacture of products intended for export. The duty drawback program prevents U.S. businesses from being taxed twice for the same product.

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Electronic Data Manifest (EDS): The computer-to-computer exchange of information.

eManifest: Third phase of CBSA’s Advance Commercial Information program, eManifest requires trade partners in all modes of transportation (air, marine, highway and rail) to electronically submit shipment documentation prior to the shipment’s arrival at the border.

Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Regulations implemented by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to oversee the export of “dual-use” items – products that have predominantly commercial use, but also have military applications.

Export: Transfer of goods to a foreign country.

Export Declaration: Customs form completed and submitted by an exporter at the point of export, which services two purposes: (1) to provide statistical information about the nature of a shipment and (2) to serve as an export control document.

Ex Works (EXW): An Incoterm that refers to the process whereby a seller fulfills an obligation to the buyer by making goods available at the seller’s premises.

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation charged with ensuring the safety of the nation’s highways through strong regulatory oversight of motor carrier operators and drivers.

First Point of Arrival (FPOA): The physical location at which a shipment crosses a border.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada: Canadian government agency charged with managing Canada’s diplomatic and consular relations and encouraging the country’s international trade.

Foreign Affairs/Customs Automated Permit System (EXCAPS): CBSA-administered program through which importers or brokers obtain a permit from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. The department electronically transmits the permit information to the ACROSS database, while the importer or broker transmits the release information. CBSA will only release the shipment if the data from both sources aligns.

Free Alongside Ship (FAS): An Incoterm which means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed alongside the vessel at the named port of shipment.

Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program: Joint U.S./Canadian security program designed to facilitate cross border trade by allowing qualified shippers expedited processing.

Free on Board (FOB): An Incoterm that refers to the point at which a seller fulfills its obligation to a buyer when a shipment has passed over the ship’s rail at the named point of entry.

Free Carrier (FCA): An Incoterm which refers to the requirement for a seller to transport a shipment of goods to a pre-determined airport, terminal, or some other location where a carrier operates. Responsibility for the shipment transfers to the buyer after delivery to the carrier.

Free Trade Zone: A geographic area in which normal trade requirements such as tariffs and quotas are waived in the interest of attracting foreign investment.

Freight Forwarder: An individual or business that assumes supply chain management for a third-party shipment of goods, using logistics and transportation services that may or may not be owned by the freight forwarder.

Frequent Importer Release System (FIRST): Discontinued in 2008, FIRST was a CBSA program through which known carriers could apply to obtain accelerated clearance for low-risk, low-revenue shipments that were imported on a regular basis.

Full Truckload (FTL): Term that refers to the freight transport of a full container of goods, usually from a single customer.

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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): Multi-party treaty intended to reduce trade barriers and promote trade among signatory nations. GATT was formed in 1949 and lasted until 1993, when it was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

General rate increase (GRI): Publicly announced price increases that set the non-contractual rate for basic LTL service.

Generalized System of Preference (GSP): Program that grants preferential trade and tariff treatment to developing countries. In the United States, this program is administered by the U.S. Trade Representative.

Gateway: Point of entry into a country or region.

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Goods and Services Tax (GST): A federal tax imposed on goods and services sold in Canada for domestic consumption.

Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): A combined federal and provincial tax that applies to goods destined for the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador. The HST is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, which after collection, disburses the appropriate amounts to each participating province.

Harmonized System Tariff Code: An international goods classification system developed by the World Customs Organization whereby nations agree to classify goods and commodities using the same coding standards. Each country then attaches its own supplemental code, which allows it to further categorize goods to meet its unique recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Hours-of-Service Regulations: Requirements imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that control when and for how long commercial motor vehicle drivers may operate a vehicle.

Hub: A central location to which cargo from many different locations is directed, sorted and then reloaded based on geographic destination.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV): A fuel efficient vehicle that derives its power from a combination of two or more energy sources.

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International Air Transport Association (IATA): International trade association charged with representing the interests of the passenger and cargo airlines industries.

Import: To bring (as merchandise) into a place or country from another country.

Import Bonds: A guarantee to CBP that all duties, taxes and fees will be paid on an arriving shipment, if not from the importer then from the insurance/surety company that issued the bond. CBP requires all importers to file an import bond, even if the goods are “duty free.”

Importer of Record: Person or business responsible for: (1) ensuring that a shipment of goods complies with all border clearance requirements; (2) filing required customs documents; and (3) paying the assessed import duties and other taxes and fees.

Importer Security Filing (ISF) or “10+ 2”: CBP mandate that requires that cargo information be transmitted to CBP at least 24 hours before goods are loaded onto an ocean vessel. Mandate further dictates that cargo information include 10 specific data elements to CBP, as well as 2 additional data elements from the carrier.

Indirect Air Carrier (IAC): Any person or entity within the United States not in possession of a Federal Aviation Administration air carrier operating certificate, that employs the services of a licensed air carrier to move cargo. IACs are regulated by the TSA through its Indirect Air Carrier Management System (IACMS).

Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBETs): Multi-agency law enforcement teams that target cross-border criminal activity. Participating agencies include the Canada Border Services Agency, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Intermodal Freight Transport: Movement of freight that relies on more than one method of transportation, i.e. truck, rail, air.

International Commerce Terms (Incoterms): Administered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Incoterms are the set of 11 official definitions and rules that dictate the obligations of buyers and sellers throughout the shipping process. Incoterms are almost globally accepted, and define the terms used in most (but not all) international shipping transactions.

International Standards Organization (ISO): International organization that develops standards to regulate a wide range of activities ranging from agriculture to medical devices to supply chain logistics to engineering. ISO standards are recognized and implemented by countries around the globe to ensure consistency and uniformity in business activities.

Inventory Carrying Costs: Costs associated with maintaining a stored inventory, including warehousing, transportation and insurance.


Just-inTime: An inventory management strategy that seeks to eliminate waste and maximize efficiency by manufacturing goods – and receiving delivery of necessary components -- as they are needed, rather than by maintaining higher inventory levels in anticipation of expected demand.

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Known Shipper: Term used by the TSA that refers to an entity or individual who has an established business relationship with an indirect air carrier, aircraft operator or an air carrier, based on items such as customer records, shipping contracts, business history or Dun and Bradstreet vetting.

Known Shipper Database: Web-based application developed by the TSA that was in use until October 2007. The database allowed IACs and air carriers to voluntarily input known shipper information, which could then be used to verify whether a shipper wishing to transport cargo on a passenger aircraft was an existing known shipper.

Known Shipper Management System (KSMS): Mandatory management system developed and operated by the TSA through which all regulated entities must submit their shipper lists to KSMS. KSMS took effect in October 2007. After that date, only shippers made known through KSMS are able to tender cargo for transport on a passenger aircraft. KSMS replaced the Known Shipper Database program.

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Landed Cost: The sum of all costs associated with making and delivering a product to its end destination. For cross border transactions, a landed cost would include all duties, fees, brokerage costs and other import-related costs.

Last Mile: Logistics services that cover delivery of shipment to final destination. Often refers to home deliveries, in which carriers must rely on local roads and non-urban transportation modes to ensure delivery.

Less-than-Truckload (LTL): Term that is used to describe transport of small-sized shipments – often from several different customers – on a single truck. In general, an LTL freight operator collects shipments from customers, and then consolidates those shipments based on geographic destination. LTL service is generally more cost-effective that Full Truckload (FTL) service.

Lewiston-Queenston Bridge: International border crossing that connects Lewiston, New York to the village of Queenston, Ontario. The arch bridge spans the Niagara River and, unlike the three international bridges in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area (Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge), the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge does not offer expedited clearance services for NEXUS or FAST program participants.

Load Board: Type of “bulletin board” used to match shipping needs with available carrier, driver and vehicle capacity.

Logistics: A coordinated plan of events that oversees delivery of a product from point of manufacture, through a warehousing and transportation cycle, to its ultimate destination.

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Manifest: A list of goods being transported by a carrier that identifies the shipper, consignee, weight and description of goods. Also referred to by CBSA as a Cargo Control Document (CCD). See also eManifest.

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NEXUS: Program administered jointly by the CBSA and CBP to allow expedited clearance to low-risk, pre-approved drivers and passengers.

Niagara Falls Bridge Commission: International public authority charged with maintaining the three bridges that connect New York State and Ontario Canada: the Lewiston-Queenstown Bridge, Whirlpool Rapids Bridge and the Rainbow Bridge.

Non-Resident Importer (NRI): CBSA-administered program that allows U.S. businesses to act as “importers of record,” thereby allowing pre-payment of all taxes, duties and fees before a shipment arrives at the border. Pre-payment of fees allows U.S. businesses to charge their Canadian customers for all costs at time of purchase, and it levels the playing field for U.S. businesses interested in competing in the Canadian market.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD): The bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace and maritime defense of the United States and Canada.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): 1994 trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada intended to promote free trade among the three countries. Among NAFTA’s many provisions is the elimination of most tariffs on domestically-manufactured goods traveling between the three nations.

Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC): Agency of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.

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Pacific Highway Crossing: Also known as the Truck Crossing, the Pacific Highway Crossing is the point at which trucks and commercial vehicles are allowed to cross the border between Blaine, Washington and Douglas, British Columbia.

Packaging: Materials used to store, protect and transport goods throughout the supply chain process.

Packing List: A document that itemizes in detail the contents of a particular package or shipment.

Pallet: A flat transport structure to which loose goods are secured while being transported.

Parcel: Packages that are generally sent through the postal system or via a courier delivery as a single shipment. Parcel shipments are often business-to-consumer.

Partners in Protection (PIP) program: CBSA-administered program through which businesses agree to voluntarily ensure the security of their supply chains. Similar to the U.S. government’s Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program.

Peace Arch: Monument that straddles the U.S./Canada border between Blaine, Washington, and Douglas, British Columbia. The Peach Arch border crossing, also known as the Douglas Crossing, is the main U.S./Vancouver entry point, but does not permit trucks or commercial vehicles.

Peace Bridge: International border crossing that connects Buffalo, New York with Fort Erie, Ontario.

Point Roberts/Boundary Bay: U.S./Canadian border crossing located at Point Roberts, Washington and Boundary Bay, British Columbia. The boundary cuts through the southern tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, and the U.S. portion is not directly connected to the lower 48 states.

Port of Entry: A government-approved location at which a person or shipment may legally enter a country. Usually the point at which customs-related procedures are performed, including cargo clearance, duty collection and passenger processing.

Postal Imports Remission Order (PIRO): CBSA-administered program that exempts from duties goods being transported by mail that are valued at $20 CAD or less.

Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS): CBP-administered program that utilizes barcode technology to allow carriers to submit clearance documentation as much as 30 days prior to a shipment’s expected arrival at the U.S. border. PAPS is the companion program to the CBSA’s PARS program, although the two programs are not interchangeable.

Pre-Arrival Screening program (PARS): CBSA-administered program that allows carriers to submit clearance documentation as much as 30 days prior to a shipment’s expected arrival at the Canadian border. PARS is the counterpart to the CBP’s PAPS program, although the two programs are not interchangeable.

Pro forma Invoice: An estimated invoice sent by a seller to a buyer in advance of a shipment of goods. The pro forma invoice notes the type of goods under consideration, as well as the quantity and value of the shipment. Pro forma invoices are generally used as a way to provide a quotation, in advance of a sale, or for customs purposes.

Provincial Sales Tax (PST): Provinces that do not participate in the HST revenue collection process impose their own taxes – they just collect them at the local level, rather than through the Canada Revenue Agency. Provincial sales taxes vary by province, but range from a low of five percent imposed by Saskatchewan to a high of 10.5 percent collected by Prince Edward Island.

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Quebec Sales Tax (QST): Provincial sales tax collected on goods and services purchased in Quebec. QST is a value-added tax, and is applied in addition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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Rainbow Bridge: International border crossing that connects Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Rainbow Bridge is located approximately one mile from the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge and is administered by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Receiver: Consignee, importer or buyer who is listed in a bill of lading as the intended receiver of a shipment.

Regulatory Cooperation Council: Bilateral commission announced in February 2011 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When implemented, the purpose of the council will be to find ways to coordinate and synchronize regulations as a way to reduce or eliminate red tape for companies that engage in cross border business.

Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD): CBSA-administered program that allows importers to obtain release of their goods by presenting data for interim accounting. Full accounting data and payment are not required at the time of release but they are required within a certain time frame.

Release Notification System (RNS): Process through which CBSA electronically notifies brokers, importers and warehouse operators when a transaction is released, and when a PARS transaction has been approved.

Returns Material Authorization (RMA): Returns management process whereby an individual wishing to return a product receives clearance – via an RMA number -- from the supplier or manufacturer before the item is sent back. RMA allows businesses to track volume and reasons for product returns, and provides consumers with greater visibility to track returns status.

Revenue Canada: Federal agency that administers tax laws and oversees revenue collection for the government of Canada and several provinces.

Reverse Logistics: The supply chain process through which a shipment travels from a customer or other end-user, back to the original manufacturer or retailer. Reverse logistics supply chain also take into account how customer returns are processed – i.e. issuance of credit, replacement, repair, refurbishment, resale on secondary market.

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Secure Freight Initiative (SFI): Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that expands the use of scanning and imaging equipment to include examination of additional U.S. bound containers, not just those determined to be high risk. SFI is sometimes referred to as an outgrowth of the Container Security Initiative (CSI).

Security Perimeter: Initiative announced in February 2011 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper that will attempt to reduce the risk of terrorism, while minimizing the effect of security protocols on economic activity between the countries. The plan calls for unprecedented information sharing, and for aligning customs and immigration policies.

Sell Rate: Average period of time that it takes a business to sell a specified amount of inventory.

Shipment: A load of goods.

Shipper: Consignor, exporter or seller named in a bill of lading as the party responsible for initiating a shipment.

Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED): Form required by the U.S. Census Bureau that must accompany any shipment that includes more than US$2,500 worth of a single commodity.

Simplified Network Application Process Redesign (SNAP-R): Electronic system administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which allows businesses to access documents, maintain an online account, and file for necessary licensing.

Statistics Canada: Canadian federal agency responsible for tracking economic, social and census data for that country.

Sufferance Warehouses: CBSA-licensed warehouses that are privately owned, and intended for short-term storage.

Surface Trade: Goods that are transported using surface transportation, generally referring to truck, rail and pipeline.

Supply Chain: A network of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, transporters, storage facilities and brokers that are involved in the production, sale and delivery of a product to its end user. The supply chain is typically made up of several different businesses and service providers, each fulfilling a specific role.

Surety: An individual or business that agrees to be liable for the performance of another party.

Surety Bond: A written agreement in which one party agrees to be liable to a second party, should a third party default on a commitment.

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Tare: The amount of weight that is deducted from a shipment to take into account the weight of the box, bag or other receptacle that contains the merchandise. This ensures that duties are not collected on packaging materials.

Tariff: Tax imposed by a government on goods being imported into that country – or in some cases on goods being exported from that country.

Tariff Classification: Determination of the appropriate customs tariff number for the assessment of duties. [See also Harmonized System Tariff Code]

Temporary Imports: Goods that are brought into a country for a temporary duration. Temporary goods may not be sold, leased, or used for further manufacturing or processing. Examples of temporary imports include items returning for repair, trade show booths and supplies, and samples used to solicit sales.

Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL): According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a 3PL is a “firm that provides multiple logistics services for customers. Preferably, these services are integrated, or ‘bundled’ together by the provider. Among the services 3PLs provide are transportation, warehousing, cross docking, inventory management, packaging and freight forwarding.”

Transaction Value: Value of an imported product based on the price actually paid for it at the time it was exported.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA): U.S. agency charged with overseeing the security of the nation’s transportation systems, while ensuring the uninterrupted flow of goods to, from and within the nation’s borders. The TSA was created in the aftermath of 9/11, and in March 2003 was transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security.

Trusted Shipper: Carrier that is a participant in a border security enhancement program (C-TPAT, FAST, PIP) that is authorized either individually or jointly by the CBSA or CBP, and through that participation, is entitled to accelerated clearance upon arrival at the border.

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Unentered Goods: A shipment that arrives at a border with no accompanying customs documentation.

UN/EDIFACT (United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport): Regulations and protocols established by the United Nations to ensure worldwide uniformity in processes for electronic data interchange.

U.S. Trade Representative: Executive branch agency responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and for overseeing negotiations with other countries. The head of USTR is the U.S. Trade Representative, a cabinet member who serves as the President’s principal trade advisor.

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Value for Duty: Term used by Canadian customs officials that refers to the price paid for goods, converted to Canadian funds, with certain additions or deductions, including commissions and royalties. Similar to the “transaction value” used by U.S. officials.

Vendor: A seller of goods.

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Waybill: Shipping document prepared by a carrier that provides detailed information about a shipment, including contents, weight, destination, consignor, consignee, charges and any special instructions.

Whirlpool Rapids Bridge: International crossing that connects Niagara Falls, New York with Niagara Falls, Ontario. The bridge is located approximately one mile from the Rainbow Bridge and is administered by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

World Customs Organization (WCO): Intergovernmental organization that focuses on Customs matters, including the development of global standards, the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures, and trade supply chain security.

World Trade Organization (WTO): International body formed in 1995 to oversee – and in some instances police – worldwide trading practices. WTO replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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Yield management: Management technique whereby a business attempts to maximize revenue by allocating limited inventory based on factors including anticipated consumer demand and acceptable price points.

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