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U.S. and Canada adopt a common, increased threshold for informal entry of goods

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U.S. and Canadian customs have loosened import rules, allowing goods valued at up to $2,500 to qualify for “informal entry.”

By adopting a common threshold for expedited customs clearance, U.S. and Canadian officials say businesses on both sides of the border will be able to exchange goods faster with less hassle.

Previously, merchandise entering the U.S. valued more than $2,000 was subject to formal entry procedures that involve providing surety bonds, paying processing fees and filling out U.S. Customs and Border Protection import forms.

Canada’s expedited clearance limit was $1,600 before the new rules went into effect Monday.

Customs estimates that the changes would result in an annual benefit of $13 million for importers.

“This is another step towards simplifying the process for conducting business across the border,” Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said in a news release Wednesday. “With 13 border crossings in the district, this is incredibly important to New York. It means increased commerce between the United States and Canada and greater opportunity for communities along the border to grow and create jobs.”

As part of the binational Beyond the Border Action Plan introduced in 2011, Canada Border Services Agency also increased its “low-value shipment” threshold to $2,500 Canadian for exemption from North American Free Trade Agreement certificate of origin requirements, to align its limit with the U.S.

“Reducing the administrative and paperwork burden on Canadian businesses improves Canada’s competitiveness, especially for our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy,” Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, said in a Customs and Border Protection press release.

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