Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CBSA Taking Phased Approach to Implementation of Mandatory EDI

Yesterday was the implementation date for mandatory EDI (electronic data interchange) by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). However, responding to concerns raised by members of I.E.Canada, the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers and others, CBSA issued a customs notice on Friday, October 12, 2007 announcing that they will take a phased approach to mandatory EDI by giving clients a six-month transition period to fully implement their EDI capabilities.

Clients already capable of transmitting EDI are expected to do so. However, CBSA has signaled that it will work with industry to address any issues arising from the EDI requirement, most notably the handling of multi-line invoices. According to CBSA officials, this means that even customs brokers and self-clearing importers that are currently EDI capable will be permitted to submit paper if they are experiencing particular challenges with EDI due, for example, to the time involved in capturing invoices that may have hundreds of lines. All paper entries will have to be accompanied by an exceptions lead sheet indicating why paper is being submitted. In this way, CBSA plans to monitor the problems that industry is experiencing with EDI and to work towards solutions.

The new lead sheet, on I.E.Canada website in English and French, has a new line item for “multiple invoice lines” and requires brokers and importers to indicate the number of lines. CBSA is expected to set a threshold soon for the number of lines at which electronic transmission of the release transaction will become mandatory and will increase the threshold over the transition period. Customs Notice 07-029 is available here. Further developments and details of the phase-in requirements will be communicated by CBSA as they become available.