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A.T.A. Carnet

The initials A.T.A. stand for “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission”. The carnet is an internationally recognized document for the temporary importation of goods and is accepted in over 76 countries. In Canada, carnets are issued by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Carnets are valid for one year from the date of issue. A carnet will not be accepted after its expiry date. If the goods are not exported before the expiry date, duty and taxes apply.

Abandon to the Crown

Abandoning goods to the Crown is the act of relinquishing ownership of goods to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for destruction or disposal. As per section 36(1) of the Customs Act, the owner of goods that have been imported but have not been released may, with the authorization of an officer and subject to the conditions set out in subsection (2), abandon the goods to Her Majesty in right of Canada. Any person who abandons goods to Her Majesty under subsection (1) is liable for all reasonable expenses incurred by Her Majesty in the disposal of the goods where they are disposed of otherwise than by sale.


Abstracts are when multiple cargo control documents are presented to divide a shipment that was originally reported on one cargo control document, into two or more parts because the total manifested quantity will be accounted for on more than one release or accounting document.

Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS)

The Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS) uses advanced electronic technology to streamline the way goods are imported into Canada. With ACROSS, importers and brokers exchange information electronically with the CBSA and other government departments (OGD) thereby eliminating the requirement to present paper release packages, subject to certain limitations.

By reducing the workload involved in the clearance of low-risk shipments, ACROSS enables goods to be released more efficiently and quickly. Importers spend less time dealing with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which gives them more time to focus on their businesses.

Account for

To “account for” is to provide a report of imported goods under section 32 of the Customs Act.

Account Identifiers

When a company registers for a business number with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), they also register for one or more account identifiers at the same time. The account identifier is a two-character program identifier followed by a four-digit reference number that identifies the account in each program. Companies can have one or more account numbers in each program.

  • RC = corporate income tax
  • RM = import/export
  • RP = payroll deductions
  • RT = GST/HST
  • RZ = information return
Account Security

Account security is an amount of money or a bond posted by an importer or a customs broker, in accordance with Memorandum D1-7-1, Posting Security for Transacting Bonded Operations, for the release prior to payment (RPP) privilege or for the acceptance of uncertified cheques, to secure the duties and taxes on imported goods.

Account Security Number (ASEC)

The account security number (ASEC) is a five digit number assigned by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) (Commercial Registration Unit) to an importer or licensed customs broker who has posted security with the CBSA for the release prior to payment privilege or for the acceptance of uncertified cheques. This number forms part of the transaction number on commercial releases.

Accounting Documents

Accounting documents are forms that are used to account for imported goods. Accounting documents must be properly coded before they can be accepted for either manual or automated data processing. The information used to prepare these documents is obtained from invoices, cargo control data, and other sources, and is coded and placed in a designated area on the coding form referred to as a field.

Accounts Receivable Ledger (ARL)

The Accounts Receivable Ledger (ARL) is the official system of record for commercial accounting and payment at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It is the first phase of the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project to modernize commercial payments.

ARL simplifies the assessment and collection of revenue by managing and reconciling all transactions of an importer or broker under a single account. It provides a single e-statement via electronic data interchange (EDI), and enables payments through online banking or via EDI.

Accredited Organization

An accredited organization is an organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada to certify that goods tested or examined by that organization meet the standards set by the Council in respect of those goods. The Standards Council of Canada is a member of a number of organizations that have mutual recognition agreements in place to assist with international acceptance of conformity assessment results. These agreements are part of greater efforts to form a global accreditation system, consistent with the goal of “one standard, one test - accepted everywhere.”

Ad Valorem Duty

Ad valorem duty is a fixed percentage of value used to determine the rate of duty.


An adjustment is a mechanism for importers or owners of goods to adjust their accounting record when they become aware of an error in the information they have provided. A completed B2 form, Canada Customs – Adjustment Request must be submitted.

Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) to issue monetary penalties to commercial clients for violating CBSA's trade and border legislation. Non-compliance with CBSA requirements may result in being assessed a monetary penalty under AMPS.

Advance Commercial Information (ACI)

This Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program provides Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers with electronic pre-arrival cargo information, transmitted within a prescribed timeframe, so that they are equipped with the right information at the right time to identify health, safety and security threats related to commercial goods before the goods arrive in Canada.

Advance Ruling

An Advance Ruling is a written statement issued by the Canda Border Services Agency (CBSA) pursuant to paragraphs 43.1(1)(a), (b) and (c) of the Customs Act. Advance rulings are requests to CBSA, asking that they determine the tariff classification, country of origin marking, or origin of an imported item.

Advance Ruling for Tariff Classification

A tariff classification advance ruling is a written statement on the tariff classification of a product, issued to a person by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) under paragraph 43.1(1)( c) of the Customs Act.

Agency Agreement

Any person who proposes to transact business with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as the agent of another person is responsible for ensuring that the proper authority has been granted. The written authority is often referred to as an agency agreement or a general agency agreement.

Alcohol Markup

An alcohol markup is an amount that is payable by an individual as a result of the legislation and assessment of the province on alcohol imports. Rates depend on the product type and alcohol percentage. Alcohol markups are set by the provincial liquor boards.


For the purpose of tariff items 9992.00.00 and 9971.00.00, alteration means an operation that does not destroy the essential characteristics (the important distinguishing features or qualities) of a good or does not create a new or commercially different good. An operation or process that is part of the production or assembly of an unfinished good into a finished good is not an alteration.

AMPS Master Penalty Document

The AMPS Master Penalty Documents lists contraventions resulting from failure to comply with requirements identified in the Customs Act, Customs Tariff and related regulations. Each contravention describes the failure to comply, the associated penalty amounts, legislative, regulatory and administrative references and guidelines for application of the contravention. Unless otherwise indicated, penalties are normally applied by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.

Anti-Dumping Duty

Anti-dumping duty is a duty levied under the Special Import Measures Act on goods that have been sold to importers in Canada at prices that are lower than the selling price in the country of export, or sold to Canada at unprofitable prices.


An appeal is a fair redress and dispute resolution process provided to clients of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on tariff classification, value for duty, origin, advance rulings, marking decisions and enforcement actions.

Applicable Monies

Applicable monies mean an amount equal to the security deposit.

Area Control List (ACL)

The Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) states:

The Governor in Council may establish a list of countries, to be called an Area Control List, including therein any country to which the Governor in Council deems it necessary to control the export or transfer of any goods or technology.

Ascertained Forfeiture

An ascertained forfeiture takes place when the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is unable to seize goods, perhaps because the goods have been destroyed or exported. Consider it a “seizure on paper”.

Australia Trade Agreement (CANATA)

Goods originate in Australia if not less than 50 per cent of the cost of production of the goods is incurred by the industry of Australia or Canada or both and the goods were finished in Australia in the form in which they are imported into Canada.

Goods are entitled to the Australia Tariff (AUT) only if the goods are shipped directly to Canada, with or without transhipment, from Australia.

Automated Broker Interface (ABI)

The Automated Commercial System (ACS) is used by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to track, control, and process all goods imported into the United States. A key component of ACS is the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). CBP is currently working to transition all cargo processing to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

Automated Clearinghouse (ACH)

The Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) is a private and secure network that enables the transfer of funds. Under the US Customs Border Patrol (CBP), the ACH is a part of the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). It enables participants to pay customs fees, duties and taxes and receive refunds electronically reducing the need for cashiers and paper payments.

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is the backbone of the US Customs Border Patrol (CBP) trade processing and risk management activities and the key to implementing many of the agency’s trade transformation initiatives. ACE is the primary system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and through which CBP determines admissibility. Using ACE as a single window, manual processes are streamlined and automated, paper is eliminated, and the trade community is able to comply more easily and efficiently with US laws and regulations.

Automated Commercial System (ACS)

The Automated Commercial System (ACS) is a computerized data system used by US Customs Border Patrol (CBP) to track, control and process all commercial shipments into the US. ACS electronically links CBP to the importing community as well as other government agencies.

Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)

The Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) provides detailed information on the specific documents required in order to import goods that are regulated by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It also advises the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) when goods should not be released. Goods that are regulated by CFIA must be approved for release by both CFIA and CBSA.

Automated Manifest System (AMS)

The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is a multi-modular cargo inventory control and release notification system used by the US Customs Border Patrol (CBP). AMS interfaces directly with other systems and allows faster identification and release of low risk shipments. AMS speeds the flow of cargo and entry processing and provides participants with electronic authorization to move cargo prior to arrival.

Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL)

The Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) is a list of countries to which the export of firearms requires an export permit. Certain prohibited firearms, weapons, devices, or components thereof that are included on the Export Control List may be exported only to destinations in the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) under the authority of an export permit issued by the Minister of Global Affairs under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act.

Average Method - Fungible Goods

Average Method is the method by which the origin of fungible materials withdrawn from inventory is based on the ratio of originating materials and non-originating materials in inventory. For example, if a specific percentage of inventory is originating, then the same percentage of goods is considered originating when removed from inventory.