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Verify Global Duty Free Access via Canada's Free Trade Agreements

New free trade agreements facilitate small business and online e-commerce transactions. Canada's many trade agreements is making it easier than ever to ship goods duty free to Canada and duty from Canada to most the world's major economies.


Most Favour Nation (MFN) tariff rates are generally applicable for goods trading between Canada and other countries. Goods that meet the rules of origin of a specific trade agreement can benefit from preferential duty free import.

Building an international logistics network is never more important. From e-commerce online retailers to businesses accessing suppliers and selling their products. The low value duty free thresholds to Europe, Australia, Mexico and Australia primarily benefit e-commerce direct sales direct to consumers.

Canada's many free trade agreements benefit businesses importing and exporting goods. With the exception of China and India (albeit large exceptions!), goods from all the worlds major economies can benefit from preferential duty free import. And claiming these benefits has been made easier by (in most cases) not requiring a separate certificate of origin.

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Take advantage of duty free import to Canada's trading partners

The goal of our team is to help your team understand the processes and possibilities. Contact our team to learn more.

Canadian Free Trade with the World's Largest Economies

Canada has free trade agreements with the USA and Mexico (USMCA CUSMA T-MEC), 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region (CPTPP), and 27 European countries and several stand alone agreements including with South Korea.

North American agreement between USA, Canada and Mexico. Also known as CUSMA and T-Mec.

Free Trade between Canada and the European Union.

Free Trade Agreement between Canada 10 other countries:

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Note: Shipments between Mexico and Canada can choose CUSMA or CPTPP.


The UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement is a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Canada. 

Canada's other major free trade agreements include:

  • Ukraine 
  • Chile
  • Colombia 
  • Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (EFTA)
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Korea

Canada's newest free trade agreements make it easier for companies to get the benefit of duty free entry for smaller orders. Many regular shippers are not aware that preferential duty free entry is available for the goods they sell internationally.

Advantages of Canada's Free Trade Agreements include:

  • Increases competitiveness: With preferential duty rates - including duty free access.
  • Provides access to new customers: Most Canadian's free trade agreements access to government procurement processes.
  • Makes trade with the EU more predictable, transparent and accessible:The biggest savings of free trade agreements can be from clarification of rules that promote fair business practices and a level playing field.
  • Improves access for service‑providing companies: Services company gain access to foreign markets as well.

Preferential Duty Free Import Even for small shipments

One of the key features of Canada's newest free trade agreements is how they facilitate international shipping for small businesses as well as small packages (i.e. E-Commerce).

  • For imports to Canada with a value under CA $3,300, the origin declaration process is simplifer (see below).
  • A separate certificate of origin is often not necessary. A simpler declaration of origin that can be on shipping document (most commonly the customs invoice). Contact Jet's team for shipping online orders duty free direct to Europe, UK, Japan and other major economies.

Disclaimer: The information in Jet Worldwide online content, including this post, is for general information only.

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Preferential Tariffs for Least Developed Countries (LDC's) 

(LDCs) can benefit from preferential duty rates. These programs cover different products and criteria:
  • General Preferential Tariff (GPT): Tariff reductions for the majority of imports from developing countries
  • Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT): Better tariff benefits over a broader array of goods
  • Commonwealth Caribbean Country Tariff (CCCT):Tailored to Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean with benefits similar to GPT.

Applicable Preferential Codes in Canadian Tariff

  • MFN: Most Favoured Nation
  • GPT: General Preferential Tariff
  • LDCT: Least Developed Country Tariff
  • CCCT: Commonwealth Caribbean Country Tariff Canada’s Major Free Trade Agreements

Canadian Major Trade Agreement codes in Canadian Tariff

  • MXT: CPTPT: Mexico - CUSMA and CPTPP
  • UKT: United Kingdom - CUKTCA
  • CEUT: European Union Countries - CETA
  • CPTPT: Asia Pacific Countries - CPTPP
  • KRT: Korea -KCFTA

duty free import to Canada tariff example-3

CETA Rules of Origin between Canada and the European Union

In order to qualify for lower tariffs under CETA, a product must be "originating" from either Canada or EU country. This means that the product must have undergone sufficient production or transformation in Canada or the EU to qualify as a domestic product of that country.

Just purchasing and shipping between Canada and European Union countries does not grant country of origin status for preferential duty free import.

There are two main methods for determining origin under CETA: The change of tariff classification method and the regional value content method.

  • The change of tariff classification method is the concept that a product undergoing a sufficient change in tariff classification. The change being the result of production or transformation in Canada or the EU.
  • The regional value content method is the concept that a product must have a certain percentage of its value add in Canada or the EU.

Read More: Useful information explaining import duty and calculation

There are also specific rules of origin for certain sectors, such as textiles and apparel, automotive, and chemicals, which may have different requirements for determining origin. It is important to verify compliance with the consignee/ importer and regulatory authorities prior to shipping.

How-to-Video: HS Codes and Tariff Classification !

Here are some general rules of origin concepts to consider
  • Wholly Obtain or Product of
  • Substantial Transformation
  • Change in Tariff Classification
  • Specific Processes or manufacturing steps
  • Cumulation (allowing value add from members of the free trade group)
  • De Minimis Rule allows some non-originating material in the product
  • Regional Value Content (RVC) within free trade group

Read More: Country from where goods ship versus country of origin

When is a certificate of origin necessary

The country of origin determines if preferential duty free import applies. The country of origin is also supports regulatory actions such as quarantine and import quotas.

Read more: Understanding a certificate of origin.

A certification of origin for online orders of Canadian origin goods sent to Europe.

sample COO global

Understanding Rules of Origin of Canada's Free Trade Agreements

Country of origin rules in Canadian Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are the primary determinate into whether the goods can benefit from duty free import (or other preferential treatment). While there can be exceptions, most qualifying goods benefit from the the elimination of import duty.

Some important aspects include:

  • Traceability requirements: Documentation requirements to show that a product meets the origin criteria and is eligible for preferential treatment.
  • Origin verification: Procedures for verifying the accuracy of origin declarations and ensuring compliance with the agreement.
  • Origin quotas: Limits on the amount of goods importing into a country via preferential treatment.

Canada free trade agreements graphic

Custom Import For Online Orders Shipping from Canada

Jet helps Canadian companies build durable, efficient import processes into the product listing.

  • Harmonize System Code (HS): It is not always necessary to include the HS Code. But it is absolutely necessary that the codes are understood. Visit our blog on HS codes: HS Codes for Cross Border Online Shipments.
  • Valuing your Item(s): The correct value declaration for import is most often the value of the sale or transaction. It is important to understand other methods of valuation. Visit our blog on valuation: Declaring a Value for international shipping.
  • Restrictions: It is necessary for online sellers to categorize shipments with restrictions .
  • Country of Origin: Useful information on a certificate of origin.
  • Value Add Tax: Even goods that qualify for duty free import are subject to value add tax. It is a requirement when shipping online orders to many countries. Most notably to the UK, European Union, Australia and New Zealand. Jet helps companies comply with these requirements.
Useful Video: Declaring a Value for Shipping


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Canada's FTA's help Canada to increase its exports, by providing better access to different markets around the world, making Canadian goods and services more competitive.

List of countries with Free Trade Agreements and access Preferential duty free import.


What to do if Canada has more than one Free Trade Agreement with a particular country

Canada has overlapping free trade agreements with some countries, most notably Mexico (CUSMA and CPTPP). Importers can freely choose which agreement they wish to use but can only choose and it must be done at time of import.

For shipments from Mexico, some experts prefer using CPTPP versus CUSMA due to more favourable origin rules.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is a trade agreement between 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The overlap of trade agreements mostly seem to occur with CPTPP countries and include;

  • Chile: CCFTA and CPTPP
  • Peru: CPFTA and CPTPP
  • Mexico: CUSMA/T-MEC and CPTPP


Country of Origin Rules

Each trade agreement has rules of origin to determine whether a product qualifies for duty-free import. These rules specify the minimum percentage of the product that must originate from one or more of the CUSMA countries in order to qualify for the preferential treatment.

The rules of origin have two main categories: general rules and sector-specific rules.

  • General rules of origin apply to all products not in sector-specific rules. The generally include wording such as "wholly obtain" , "production entirely" , or "regional value content (RVC)."
  • Sector Specific Rules: Category specific rules (CSROs) are more complex and can involve both product and process specific rules. Categories commonly subject to specific rules of origin include automotive, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and metals.

Simply purchasing a good from a country that has a free trade agreement with Canadas does not necessarily qualify them (as “wholly obtain or production entirely”) for preferential duty free import.

Canadian origin goods can gain a competitive advantage with duty free import to their customers in Europe, CPTPP countries, South Korea, USA and Mexico.

Most Favour Nation (MFN) tariff rates are generally applicable for goods between Canada and other countries.Goods that meet the rules of origin of a specific trade agreement can benefit from preferential duty free import. The MFN tariff rates apply to goods that do not meet the rules of origin (non-originating goods) even when there is a free trade agreement.

Useful "How to Ship" Videos

Ship from ≠ Country of Origin

As it is often cause for confusion, it is important to clarify that from where an order is "shipping from" does not automatically qualify the goods for preferential duty free status.

Country of origin refers to where the country of manufacture.

For example: An item made in China but shipping from Canada to a European Union country will not qualify as Canada origin / preferential duty free entry under CETA free trade provisions.

Read More About Shipping to the UK and the Canada UK Trade Continuity Act

Importer and Exporter Declarations

We strongly recommend that companies confirm regulatory compliance with authorities before shipping.Ultimately, the shipper/ exporter/ importer are the parties responsible for origin declarations and they should not depend solely on "googling".

As hard as we strive to be as informative as possible to assist shippers - including our industry leading blog - we always refer shippers to the actual regulations and regulators. The good news is that the Canadian and other government agencies generally happy to promote exports and assist both exporters and importers.

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Shipping Terms to Consider When Shipping Duty Free

The default option for shipping internationally from Canada is delivery duty unpaid. Common carriers use the term EXW. This assigns import costs to the receiver/ importer. Although goods may qualify for duty free entry, the CIF value are still subject to value add tax and other import fees.

Shippers from Canada can choose to pay the import fees on behalf of the receiver via a Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) options that many carriers offer. Incoterms and shipping terms for cross border transactions

The disadvantage of paying import fees on behalf of the receiver is that the bulk of the import fees are often from a value add tax that the importing business may otherwise be able to claim back.


Major Trade Deals

All of Canada's major trade deals, NAFTA (USMCA/ CUSMA/ T-MEC), CPTPP and CETA, include provisions to assist small companies to take advantage of free trade provisions. Most notable of the benefits is the easier process for country of origin declarations.

Canada's recent trade agreements allow for origin certifications directly on the shipping documents. Separate certificate of origins are generally no longer necessary.

Jet Worldwide works with Canadian artisans who sell local products internationally. Sell and ship goods for duty free import to major international markets.


CUSMA/USMCA Shipping between USA, Canada and Mexico

The grand daddy of all major trade agreements the new NAFTA keeps the same basic provisions but with additional benefits.

  • Duty free and tax free entry for courier consignments from the US and Mexico under CA$40
  • Duty free entry for most courier consignments from the US and Mexico under CA$150
  • Simpler "Certification of Origin" import for consignments with a value under CA$3,300


Here is a sample origin statement:

“I hereby certify that the goods in this shipment qualifies as an originating good for the purposes of preferential tariff treatment under USMCA/T-MEC/CUSMA.”

Different duty assessment for goods shipping via USPS or Correos Mexican Post versus Courier.

  • CA $20 (around US$14.75) and under: duty and tax free
  • Above CA $20 duties and taxes apply

Useful Information: Common Canadian Import Fees you must consider.

Canadian Trade Deals includes EFTA

A lesser known but important trade deal for Canada is with the European Free Trade Association or EFTA. The EFTA is an intergovernmental trading bloc that includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The EFTA-Canada free trade agreement facilitates trade and allows for preferential duty free clearance for qualifying goods between Canada and EFTA countries.


Proof of origin and Canada's free trade agreements

For imports not exceeding $3,300 to Canada, the requirement for proof of origin is not necessary at import. However, the requirement on the importer to maintain records remains.

Preferential Tariffs for Least Developed Countries (LDC's)

Imports from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) can benefit from preferential duty rates. These programs cover different products and criteria. These programs are:

  • General Preferential Tariff (GPT): Tariff reductions for the majority of imports from developing countries
  • Least Developed Country Tariff (LDCT): Better tariff benefits over a broader array of goods
  • Commonwealth Caribbean Country Tariff (CCCT):Tailored to Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean with benefits similar to GPT.
PDF list of countries with access to to preferential duty free import

Cross Border: More of a small bump than a big barrier

Generally, the world is moving towards updating processes to accommodate individual online orders. Jet Worldwide helps companies understand and take advantage of the opportunities for reaching new international markets AND finding new international suppliers.

CPTPP Free trade Agreement

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CETA European Canadian Free Trade Agreement



There are a few options for shipping international freight to and from Canada.

global Canada shipping options -1

Some options include:

  1. Air freight: This is the fastest option
  2. Sea freight: This is a slower option best for large commercial orders and containers
  3. Couriers including FedEx, UPS and DHL
  4. Trucking and rail across North America
  5. Postal options are best for individuals sending personal items

When choosing a shipping method, you will need to consider factors such as the size and weight of your freight, the time frame in which you need it to arrive, and your budget. It may be helpful to compare quotes from different carriers to find the best option for your needs.

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