On July 1, 2020, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced NAFTA as a free trade agreement between the three countries. Under the USMCA, qualified products exported to Mexico and Canada are exempt from tariffs and quotas. To qualify for this preferential rate, you must determine whether your products are eligible in accordance with the USMCA`s rules of origin. Please note that in Canada, this agreement is called the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). in Mexico, this agreement is referred to as Tratado between México, Estados Unidos y Canadé (T-MEC). All three names refer to the same trade agreement. Although no certificate of origin is required for the above product categories for the right to the USMCA/T-MEC/CUSMA, it is still the importer`s responsibility to maintain all valid evidence of origin in the use of free trade agreements. They must ensure that all products receiving preferential tariff treatment are effectively authorised – the applicability of origin can be requested/demanded by the relevant customs authorities during an inspection. Notification of preferential rates without valid proof of origin on the date of importation may suspend your company from significant retroactive customs duties, interest and penalties. If CUSMA declarations are made in error, importers are required to submit comments (corrections) after customs clearance.
The audit trail (records) of the evidence of the origin of trade agreements must be kept for seven years: the year of importation and customs clearance, plus an additional six years. There is currently no formal certification of the original USMCA, issued by the government or approved by the state. In accordance with the text of the agreement, all certifications must include a series of “minimum data elements.” The new agreement changes the original certification requirements. Here`s what you need to know. Once completed, you must send the importer a paper or electronic copy of the original certificate. The importer asserting the right and the party issuing the certificate are required to keep all documents relating to the USMCA`s claims at least five years after the transaction closes.