Can I get a refund or other relief from

Canada's surtax on imported U.S. goods?

Written By: Heather Innes

Date: May 13, 2019

The answer is possibly.  Some importers have successfully requested refunds and surtax relief from the Goverment of Canada.  There is no harm in asking for relief.

In response to U.S. tariffs applied to Canadian steel and aluminum, the Government of Canada introduced countermeasures on certain goods imported from the U.S.  On and after July 1, 2018 surtaxes of 25% and 10% apply respectively, to certain steel and aluminum products imported from the U.S. (United States Surtax Order (Steel and Aluminum)).  Canada has also imposed a 10% surtax on a number of other products imported from the U.S., including certain coffee, prepared meals, jams, ketchup, mayonnaise, bottled beverages, whiskies, tableware, bedding and several other consumer goods (United States Surtax Order (Other Goods)).

There is no end date for these countermeasures/surtaxes.  They will remain in place until the U.S. eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada (i.e. the U.S. tariffs applied to Canadian steel and aluminum).  This means that Canadian importers that bringing any of the affected goods into Canada from the U.S. will face increased costs of between 10% and 25%, depending on the good.

That said, the Government of Canada has recognized that there are certain circumstances under which targeted relief will be granted.  Under certain exceptional circumstances, it will allow relief from paying the surtax or may refund the surtax already paid.  Importers who face certain challenges such as short supply of the imported U.S. good, or other severe adverse impacts arising as a result of the surtax imposed on its imports may submit a request for this targeted relief.  The Government of Canada wants to know certain information before they will decide to grant relief.  You increase your chances of success by providing the information needed by the Government of Canada and communciating the inforamtion in a manner that is more likely to "get to yes".

To-date, the Government of Canada has issued remission orders providing relief in respect of certain steel and aluminum products and in respect of certain of the other consumer goods to which the 10% surtax applies.

If your organization is facing increased costs arising as a result of the surtax, you may wish to consider whether or not your circumstances warrant the issuance of an order for such relief.  Should you have questions or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Innes at or 416-350-1234.

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