Customs and trade consulting

At their core, most customs and import issues fall into four primary and interrelated categories: valuation, classification, origin and special programs. Compliantly navigating any one of these is challenging; doing so globally and in tandem can be daunting. RSM’s experienced professionals have done it and can help your business to identify and develop strategies and manage the risks and opportunities in any one, or across all, of these areas.

How can we help?

Let our trade advisory professionals help you navigate your trade and duties questions


Properly appraising merchandise is a fundamental requirement of national customs laws, global trade agreements and even income tax transfer pricing regulations. It is also one of the most complex areas in international trade, encompassing royalties, licenses, patents, assists, research and development, and many other inter- and intra-company arrangements so common in today’s globalized economy. RSM can help to leverage the opportunities inherent in such complexity to help lower ad valorem customs and other transactional costs (e.g., GST, VAT, excise), while establishing and defending customs values and transfer prices.


Central to an effective, compliant and cost-focused global sourcing and trade operation is import duties and export control classification. Admissibility, duty rates, preferential market access and trade restrictions are all governed by classification codes. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand and appreciate the structure and subtleties of the nomenclature used to control the coding for goods, software and technologies (e.g., Harmonized System, Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Import Control List, Export Control List). RSM can help evaluate, determine and declare the proper code—for one or many items—as well as develop a robust import/export classification program characterized by transparency, agility and reliability.

Origin and free trade agreements

The old adage: “There is no such thing as free trade, only freer trade with more rules,” holds true, especially today. There are now approximately 400 different trade arrangements between countries, creating a complex web of preferences for some and barriers for many. RSM leverages its experience and knowledge of regional and bilateral free trade agreements in the Americas, Europe and Asia, diving deep into the details, interfacing with authorities, and developing practical solutions to maximize your global sourcing and procurement opportunities today and tomorrow.

Other government departments

When importing goods, companies face requirements that customs agencies administer on behalf of other government departments. The companies need to be aware of how these regulations affect the goods they import and ensure all applicable licenses and permits are obtained, and that the goods are permitted in Canada. Some departments’ legislation administered by the Canadian customs authority includes, but are not limited to the following:

  • Health Canada
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada

RSM can assist you in mapping out the requirements under these government departments and provide your company with the extensive knowledge needed to have all required permits, licenses and import clearances in order to be compliant at the border.