imports

High Currency

Now that the Canadian dollar is stronger at around 80 cents against the greenback I’d say this is the time to take advantage of sales in the states, like those at Amazon.com, American Musical Supply, Arkiv Music, Guitar Center, Music & Arts, Musician’s Friend and Sheet Music Plus.

Please note that most shipments valued at less than CAD$20 are exempt from duties and taxes. Click here for details on this exemption.

Ebay Asks Canadian Users To Sign Petition

Ebay is asking Canadian users to support their petition to raise the de minimis threshold from $20 on postal importations for personal use.

Most postal shipments imported into Canada for personal use valued at less than $20 in Canadian funds are exempt from taxes and duties. And although this amount was acceptable when it was adopted in the 80’s, many nations have adopted higher de minimis thresholds since.

The current de minimis thresholds for American residents is US$800 and when European Union residents import merchandise for personal use their de minimis threshold is €150. Considerable amounts compared to the Canadian rate.

In late 2016, a petition had been submitted to the Parliament and the government responded by saying it is assessing their options :

“The Government is working to facilitate trade and streamline administrative burdens, and has undertaken concrete actions to facilitate low value shipments. In 2013, as part of the Beyond the Border Initiative, Canada and the U.S. harmonized processes to expedite the customs administration of low value shipments and waived the requirement for a certificate of origin for such shipments to benefit from preferential tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Furthermore, in 2011, three generic tariff classifications were introduced in the Customs Tariff to facilitate the processing of low value non-commercial imports arriving by post or by courier.”

Please consider signing this new petition by clicking here. Thank you.

Postal Update And More

It appears that we will be getting our mail delivered on Friday. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has refused arbitration and Canada Post had delayed the lockout until noon, Monday the 11th of July, 2016.

The other carriers have been reporting a boom in business so it is obvious that most of the e-commerce retailers have already taken preemptive action to keep their parcel deliveries flowing. And as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, most people will likely see no significant delays in their parcel deliveries.

I will update this blog with new information if the situation changes, of course. So don’t forget to pop on by over the next few days.

By the way, a new Parliamentary petition has been created to ask the federal government to raise their de minimis threshold on postal imports from $20 to $200 (in Canadian funds).

At the moment postal shipments valued at less than $20 in Canadian funds are exempt from duties and taxes. And this petition calls for shipments to be valued at less than $200 in Canadian funds to be free of duties and taxes, in response to a study commissioned by eBay that I had mentioned in a previous post.

I have signed the petition and hope that you will sign it too before the October 14th, 2016, when the petition closes.

eBay Wants Changes In Duties

A study published by the CD Howe Institute is the latest attempt by eBay to get the Canadian government to consider raising the duty free thresholds.

Most postal shipments valued at under $20 and gift shipments valued at under $60 (in Canadian funds) that are imported into Canada are not subject to duties and taxes. And this eBay commissioned report studies the possible effects of a hike of this threshold to $80, $100 and $200 (in Canadian funds).

Apparently the authors of this study have found “that an increase of the DMT in Canada will be fiscally neutral or even positive for the federal government” and that such an increase would “likely to yield a net economic benefit for Canada”.

The American threshold was raised from $200 to $800 (in American funds) last February so hopefully the government will consider a higher threshold, reducing a need for paperwork for eBay sellers and Amazon Marketplace merchants outside of Canada. But the study does not include information in regards to the impact of these changes to Canadian retailers so the government would likely need to commission a report on the issue as well.

For additional information on importing music by mail you can either click here to read my article on saving by importing films and music or click here for the official information issued by the Canadian Borders Services Agency.

Low Currency Blues

The Canadian dollar is currently hovering at around 75 cents U.S and some economists claim it might drop as low as 70 cents U.S so imports from the states will likely be a bit more expensive for a while. But deals can still be found, provided you shop around and avoid retailers with usually high shipping and handling rates.

Imports valued at less than $20 Canadian are still tax free and American retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble have some great deals that you can still take advantage of.

Another option would be to import from Europe, which can actually be faster and occasionally cheaper than ordering from the states.

In the past i’ve purchased books, CDs, CD singles and DVDs from Amazon France, Amazon UK, Fnac.com and the now defunct HMV U.k and Tower Records U.k.

Although it should be noted that most of their DVDs and Blu-rays are not compatible with North American Players, some of these are NTSC compatible or region free, so pay close attention to the information provided on the site. And yes, many European releases have yet to make it online or to iTunes so it doesn’t hurt to browse around.

Vinyl fans will also like AMAZON U.k’s selection and affordable shipping rates, for those LPs that can’t be found within Canada.

Basically you can save a few bucks by shopping around and keeping an eye on the exchange rates.

Budget Day Goodies ?

Today is Budget Day in Ottawa. And the current government has been promising to address some issues related to the higher prices Canadians pay for certain products.

Canadians pay significantly more for certain products than the Americans and although some of the price differences can be attributed to tariffs, labour and transportation costs, much of the purchase price is pre-determined by the manufacturer.

“Country Pricing” has become the standard and unfortunately Canada’s prices have not been adjusted to match our dollar’s strength.

Some online retailers have done their best to match prices but Canadians were still forced to either import products from the states or pay higher prices at their local retailers.

I suspect that tariffs will be reduced or eliminated on certain products in this budget, perhaps on books, clothing, electronics and home appliances.

Those are the most imported products, especially on Black Friday. But I’m also hoping they will follow the recommendations in the February 2013 Senate Committee report of the US/Canada Price Gap  and raise the de minimis threshold for postal shipments from $20.

When you import most products by mail you are exempt from duties, fees and taxes if the product or products shipped are valued at less than $20 Canadian.

I’ve managed to save some money using they exemption. But many countries like the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore had raised this minimum to US$100 in November 2011, enabling their citizens to avoid paying the hefty brokerage fees some couriers charge on parcels.

Brokerage fees have recently gone up in Canada so I’m hoping they will at least consider a CAN$50 threshold.

The other probabilities in the budget are reductions in credit card/banking fees, funding for an expansion of high speed internet into rural areas, and the unbundling of cable channels so I guess lots of Canadians will be watching this afternoon.

The budget broadcast will air on television and online on CPAC at 4PM Eastern. Details on the budget will also be made available on the Government’s Official Site after 4 PM Eastern.