Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/04/30

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Subject: [Leica] UK shipments to Canada
From: John Hudson <>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 09:01:02 -0700

Here's an update on my enquiries about courier company airfreight
shipments of camera gears, lenses in particular, from the UK to Canada. 

1. The shipper in the UK will need to quote the exact "duty class code
for Canada". This code number identifies the merchandise for customs
duty purposes. These code numbers are very specific to all kinds of

This search engine will help determine the class code.

If the shipper misquotes the code number on the shipping documentation
you can expect the merchandise to be held up at customs in Canada for as
long as it takes for someone to determine the correct number which might
not be a matter of priority for Canada Customs. This misquotation can be
the primary cause for hold ups at Canada Customs.

For example, the class code for "photographic lenses for cameras"
imported from the UK into Canada is 9002 . 11. 10 . 90. The code for
"lenses for cameras other than photographic" [whatever that means!] is
9002 . 11 . 90 . 90.

2. Canada Customs has a 1-800 number which gets you to a real live human
being in Hamilton, Ontario who can give you the exact duty class code
for whatever your little heart desires to know. I called this number
this morning and got the most courteous and prompt on-the-telephone
service I have ever experienced with an federal government department
EVER! The lady to whom I spoke gave me her name, her title and her
direct line phone number and what's even better advised me that the 9002
. 11 . 90 . 90 duty code classification does not attract any customs
duties when the goods arrive. Wow! The lady reiterated the necessity of
getting the duty class codes correct. If in any doubt, it makes sense
for the importee in Canada to determine the code number and then supply
it to the exporter in the UK. In my case, the exporter in the UK was
going to quote the wrong duty class code which in and of itself would
have rendered the shipment dutiable! By having provided the correct code
I have saved having to pay any duties.

As a bonus, the lady in Hamilton told me that if I experienced any
difficulties on the duty question I was to call her on her direct line.  

The toll free Canada Customs duty enquiry line is


3. The UPS tariff is detailed at

Brokerage fees are a function of the UPS service selected by the shipper
and also of the value for duty as assessed by Canada Customs. There does
not seem to be any scope for uncertainty on what you'll get charged. If
UPS has to ante up customs duties and taxes {GST and PST] on the
importee's behalf there is a disbursement fee. These are shown on the

4. The FEDEx brokerage fees are included in the shipping charges paid by
the shipper or so I have been told on two separate calls to FEDEx
Canada's 1-800 number.

5. If FEDEx has to ante up customs duties and taxes ahead of releasing
possession of the goods to the importee, FEDEx will charge the importee
2.5% of the amount they disbursed on the importee's behalf. I think
there is a $7 minimum

6. I cannot find the FEDEx tariff on their English language web site at

but FEDEx is mailing me a booklet outlining all the information.

CONCLUSION ........... I think the most important thing is to ensure
that the shipper does the paperwork correctly and quotes the correct
duty class code number, not one that is closely approximate but the
exactly correct number!!

Hope this might of interest and use to list members.

John Hudson
Vancouver, BC, Canada