Country of Origin Declaration - Imported Product Exported From Canada

1 - "Product of Canada" designation is important for market access where certificates are required since certificates can only be issued on products of Canada.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) only products of Canada are eligible for reduced tariff privileges when exported to the United States or Mexico. The rules of origin in NAFTA state that an imported product is substantially transformed when it has changed tariff chapters in the Harmonized Tariff Schedules as a result of processing. Normally this would involve a shift of products classified under Chapter 3 when imported, to a product in Chapters 16 or 21 after processing. Mexico enforces the rules of origin without exception, but both Canada and the USA apply some special considerations.

2 - In Canada, in addition to processing that would result in changed tariff chapters, the following processes on imported fish will result in substantial transformation. A "Product of Canada" designation is allowed as long as the products are exported to countries other than Mexico or the United States. Special considerations for substantial transformation in Canada must involve more than repackaging, freezing of fresh products, culling, trimming, etc. The processes listed below are examples that can be considered substantial transformation based on the criteria that there is significant value added as a result of the processing and the processing changes the nature of the product:

  • the peeling and then freezing of fresh or frozen uncooked shrimp;
  • the filleting, mincing or steaking of whole or headless and gutted fish;
  • the salting and drying of whole or headless and gutted fish, or the drying of green-salted fish, and then conducting further actions such as salting, trimming, de-boning, grading for preparation of dried, salted fish meeting the requirements of the Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR); and
  • shucking molluscan shellfish.

3 - For fish exported to the United States, some products are considered substantially transformed as a result of changing Tariff Headings or Subheadings of the Harmonized Tariffs as opposed to changing of Chapters. For export to the USA, products imported into Canada and processed to affect a shift of tariff categories as listed in the table below may be designated as "Product of Canada".

Tariff-Shift Rules of Fish Imported for Substantial Transformation and Exported to the USA
CodesFootnote 1 Descriptions Tariff-Shift Rule
03.01-03.03 Live, fresh, or frozen
Whole or H&G
A change from any other chapter
03.04 Fresh and frozen fillets, fish meat A change to 03.04 from any other headings such as 03.01, 03.02, 03.03
03.05.10 Flours, meals, pellets of fish for human consumption A change to 03.05.10 from any other subheading
03.05.30 Fish fillets dried, salted, or in brine, but not smoked A change to 03.05.30 from any other subheading, except from fillets of heading 03.04
03.05.41-69
  • Smoked fish, including fillets;
  • Dried fish, whether or not salted but not smoked;
  • Salted but not dried or smoked; and
  • Fish in brine
A change from any other chapter
03.07 Molluscs A change from any other chapter or a change to edible meals and flours from within Chapter 3

Examples of imported fish processed in Canada that may be labelled as "Product of Canada" if exported to the United States:

  • whole or H&G fish that is filleted or minced (03.02 to 03.04) is considered substantially transformed;
  • whole or H&G fish which is filleted and then dried or salted (03.02 to 03.05) would be substantially transformed; or
  • green salted cod (with back bones attached) which are filleted and dried (03.05.61 to 03.05.30) would be substantially transformed.

Imported products which may not be labelled as "Product of Canada" if exported to the United States:

  • fish which is smoked (no change in chapters) is not substantially transformed;
  • whole or H&G imported fish that is split or steaked whether or not the fish is fresh or frozen is not considered substantially transformed;
  • molluscan shellfish which are shucked (03.07 to 03.07) are not considered substantially transformed;
  • shell-on shrimp which is peeled (03.06 to 03.06) is not considered substantially transformed; or
  • fillets in brine which are trimmed and dried (03.05.30 to 03.05.30) are not considered substantially transformed.

4 - For imported fish products exported to Mexico, the processing must change the classification of the product from one chapter to another before the product can be declared as a product of Canada. Examples of further transformation of fish products that would change the classification from one chapter to another include:

  • preparing breaded fish from frozen fillets (03.04 to 16.04);
  • preserving frozen fish fillets in a marinade (03.04 to 16.04);
  • cooking and peeling shell-on shrimp (03.06 to 16.05);
  • preparing clam juice from frozen clam meats (03.07 to 16.03); or
  • canning fresh H&G salmon (03.02 to 16.04).

The following examples of further processing of imported fish would not change the classification from one chapter to another:

  • packing smoked salmon in air tight containers (03.05 to 03.05);
  • cooking but not peeling raw shell-on shrimp (03.06 to 03.06); or
  • cooking and packing whole lobsters (03.06 to 03.06).
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