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Chapter 11 - Advance Ruling Procedures

Generally

Importers, exporters and producers of goods may obtain advance rulings from the customs administrations of Canada, Mexico and the United States regarding application of the NAFTA to future importations of goods into each country. Canada, Mexico and the United States will issue advance rulings on:

  • whether materials imported from non-NAFTA countries and used in the production of a good undergo the tariff change set out in Annex 401 as a result of production occurring entirely in the NAFTA region;
  • whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement;
  • for purposes of determining whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement, the appropriate basis or method for value to be applied by an exporter or producer in the territory of another NAFTA country, in accordance with the principles of the Customs Valuation Code, for calculating the transaction value of the good or of the materials used in the production of the good;
  • for purposes of determining whether a good satisfies a regional value-content requirement, the appropriate basis or method for reasonably allocating costs, in accordance with the allocation methods set out in the Uniform Regulations, for calculating the net cost of a good or the value of an intermediate material;
  • whether a good qualifies as an originating good;
  • whether a good that re-enters its territory after the good has been exported from its territory to the territory of another NAFTA country for repair or alteration qualifies for duty-free treatment under the NAFTA;
  • whether the proposed or actual marking satisfies country of origin marking under Annex 311 of the Agreement;
  • whether an originating good qualifies as a good of Canada, Mexico or the United States under Annex 300-B (Textile and Apparel Goods), Annex 302.2 (Tariff Elimination) or Chapter Seven (Agriculture and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures); or
  • whether a good is a qualifying good under Chapter Seven.

Canada, Mexico and the United States are bound by the rulings they issue. Rulings will be applied to importations covered by the ruling beginning on the date of issuance or on such later date specified in the ruling. An advance ruling may not be applied if it is determined that imported goods differ materially from the goods which were the subject of the ruling or if the person requesting the ruling has failed to act in accordance with the terms and conditions of the ruling.

If an advance ruling is no longer valid it may be modified or revoked. Generally the modification or revocation will only apply to importations that occur after the date of the modification or revocation. Reassessments will only be made retroactively in certain limited circumstances such as when the person to whom the advance ruling was issued has not acted in accordance with its terms and conditions or when the modification or revocation is to the benefit of the person who requested the ruling. A person who has received an advance ruling has the right to appeal that ruling.

Procedures in Canada

Importers in Canada, and exporters and producers of goods in Mexico and the United States, may obtain an advance ruling regarding future importations. Requests should be made in writing to Trade Administration Services, Client Services Division in the customs region in which most of the importations will occur. (Addresses of Customs regions are listed in Chapter 15 of this publication.) Customs will review all written applications and will advise the applicant of any additional information that is required. A standard has been set for issuing these rulings within 120 days from the receipt of complete information.

An advance ruling number can be noted on the Certificate of Origin, the Revenue Canada Customs Invoice, or in the description field on the B3 accounting document. Although anyone importing the goods covered can use the number and is encouraged to do so, the ruling is only binding with regard to the person or persons to whom the ruling was issued. All information received is treated as confidential and therefore details of the ruling will only be released to the person to whom the ruling was issued.

Procedures in Mexico

Importers in Mexico, and exporters and producers in Canada and the United States may request an advance ruling from the Legal General Administration of Revenue of the Tax Administration Service of Mexico (Administración General Jurídica de Ingresos del Servicio de Administración Tributaria de México). Requests should be sent to: Av., Hidalgo No. 77, Modulo 1, P.B. Col. Guerrero, 06300 Mexico, D.F. ; Fax 52-5-521-4764.

Applications must be submitted in writing, according to the provisions established in Articles 18 and 34 of the Fiscal Code of the Federation, and limited to matters described in Article 509 of the Agreement.

The competent authority must treat the information received as confidential. Therefore, details of the ruling will only be released to the person to whom the ruling was issued. The authority must issue the ruling within four months.

Procedures in the United States

Importers in the United States, and exporters and producers of goods in Canada and Mexico, may obtain advance rulings regarding application of the Agreement to prospective and ongoing transactions from the U.S. Customs Service. Advance rulings must be requested in accordance with the procedures described in Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 181.93. Requests must be written in English and must contain a complete statement of all relevant facts relating to the NAFTA transaction. Such facts include: the names, addresses and other identifying information of all interested parties (if known); the name of the port of place at which any good involved in the transaction will be imported or which will otherwise have jurisdiction with respect to the act or activity described in the transaction; and a description of the transaction itself, appropriate in detail to the subject matter of the requested advance ruling.

Advance rulings may be requested from the Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings, 90 K St., NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20229, or the National Commodity Specialist Division, U.S. Customs Service, 1100 Raymond Boulevard
Newark, New Jersey 07102. For questions relating to regional value-content requirements, requests can be expedited by sending them directly to the Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings.

Last modified: 
May 3, 2016
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