CBSA announces new HS code requirements

by Canadian Shipper

Canada Customs has announced important changes to the Mandatory Harmonized System Code Requirements under Customs Notice N-553.

Effective May 3, 2004, carriers, brokers and freight forwarders are required to provide HS codes for all lines on release requests up to a maximum of five. They will no longer be able to provide a minimum of one HS code for each release request.

If more than five HS codes are applicable, a minimum of five is required. In such cases, one of the five 10-digit HS codes provided must be for either: 1) the highest value commodity of the shipment or; 2) the commodity that provides the most reasonable representation of the shipment.

It should be noted that shipments under CDN $1,600 and shipments for Customs Self Assessment (CSA) and Free And Secure Trade (FAST) importers will continue to be exempt from the mandatory HS requirements.

Customs Notice N-553 can be viewed on the Canada Customs and Border Services Agency’s Web site at

Should you have any questions or concerns about changes to the HS code requirements, please call the CBSA’s Advance Commercial Information Division at (613) 952-2644 or (613) 946-4270.

For other Customs related inquiries, contact the CBSA’s Regional Client Services Office at 1-800-461-9999.

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