The North American Free Trade Agreement has given producers and exporters unprecedented opportunities to reduce the duties on shipments to customers in the region and has created new avenues for U.S.-based importers to take advantage of economic opportunities from suppliers and factories in the region. We provide expert support in developing NAFTA programs, including the completion of Certificates of Origin and the development of systems for communicating technically detailed NAFTA requirements to suppliers and customers.  We also provide assistance with NAFTA verifications conducted by U.S., Canadian and Mexican authorities.

Import Compliance

An importer seeking to avoid the expense of customs duties and fees typically assessed on goods imported from Canada and Mexico may make a claim for preferencial treatment under the NAFTA. But, that claim must be based on a facially valid and accurate NAFTA Certificate of Origin voluntarily provided by the exporter to the improter. The importer is required to retain a copy of the certificate for five years from the date of entry. Thus, importers must establish NAFTA compliance and recordkeeping as part of its overall compliance system.

Export Compliance

Exporters who wish to provide NAFTA Certificates of Origin to customers must undertake an analysis of the origin of their products. For resellers, this analysis may be limited to the documentation provided by suppliers. For producers, the applicable rule of origin may require that non-originating materials undergo a specified tariff shift as a result of processing in North America. Other rules require that the value of North American materials, labor, overhead, and other costs comprise 50% or more (depending on the rule) of the total value of the finished good. Additional rules applicable in special circumstances allow for cost averaging, de minimis treatment, accumulating expenses by third parties, etc. Thus, performing a NAFTA analysis often involves detailed questions of tariff classification and cost accounting. 

The lawyers at Barnes/Richardson have the knowledge and experience to assist companies develop, test, and if necessary defend NAFTA compliance programs for importers and exporters. If you have questions, please contact any Barnes/Richardson lawyer.

January 20, 2020
Senate Passes USMCA
Dec. 10, 2019
House Announces USMCA Agreement
October 2, 2018
USTR Releases Fact Sheets about USMC Trade Agreement
November 22, 2017
Fifth Round of NAFTA Negotiations Takes Place in Mexico City
November 22, 2017
Pacific Rim Partners Agree on Outlines of a U.S.-Free TPP
September 14, 2017
KORUS Review Still Underway; White House No Longer Considering Withdrawal
September 14, 2017
NAFTA's Fourth Round of Negotiations Scheduled for Mid-October
July 20, 2016
First Round of NAFTA Talks Scheduled: Negotiation Objectives Include ROOs, ISDS, Labor and Environment Standards
June 28, 2017
USTR Solicits Comments on Administrative Review and Report of Standing Trade and Investment Agreements
May 26, 2017
ITC Institutes Investigation of the Effects of NAFTA Tariff Elimination
May 22, 2017
USTR Announces Public Comment Period and Hearing Date for NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives
May 22, 2017
USTR Requests ITC Investigation into Economic Effects of NAFTA Agricultural Import Tariff Elimination
May 18, 2017
President Trump Starts NAFTA Modification Process
February 14, 2017
President Trump, Prime Minister Trudeau Meet to Discuss Potential NAFTA Modifications
February 2, 2017
White House Indicates All Trade Deals to Be Reviewed
May 11, 2015
President Obama Promotes TPP at Nike Headquarters
Aug. 13, 2014
Customs Limits Options for Free Trade Agreement Post Entry Refunds
August 11, 2014
Mexico: Proposed Sugar Suspension Agreement
October 01, 2013
Government Shutdown Impacts International Trade Agencies
September 25, 2012
CBP Issues Technical Corrections to NAFTA Rules of Origin
November 22, 2011
WTO Panel Rules Against U.S. COOL Labeling
October 21, 2011
Mexico Lifts Retaliatory Tariffs
October 19, 2011
Mexico to Lift Retaliatory Tariffs
July 18, 2011
Mexico Cuts Retaliatory Duties in Half
March 4, 2011
U.S. and Mexican Presidents Agree to End Cross-border Trucking Dispute
January 21, 2011
Department of Transportation Releases Mexican Trucking Concept Paper
Canada Raises Penalties for Plant Act and Animal Act Violations
Mexico Seeks Permanent Solution to U.S.-Mexico Trucking Dispute
August 18, 2010
Mexico Revises Lists of U.S. Products Subject to Retaliatory Tariffs in Trucking Dispute
June 21, 2009
U.S. and Mexico Agree to Additional Border Initiatives to Improve Security and Trade Facilitation
April 20, 2009
Trade-Related Highlights from President Obama’s Trip to Mexico
March 18, 2009
Mexico Publishes List of US Products Subject to Retaliatory Tariffs in Cross-Border Trucking Dispute
March 17, 2009
Mexico Announces $2.4 Billion in Retaliatory Tariffs in US Cross-Border Trucking Dispute
March 5, 2009
President’s Trade Agenda Policy Addresses FTAs, Stresses Workers’ Rights
January 14, 2009
Deadline for Repayment of Byrd Funds Extended to March 28, 2009
December 10, 2008
CBP Demands Repayment of Byrd Amendment Distributions for Imports from Canada and Mexico
July 25, 2008
CBP Proposes Establishment of Uniform Country of Origin Rules for Imported Merchandise
June 13, 2008
CBP Issues Final Rule In Light of 2004 Court Decision Concerning Operations Incidental to Assembly
May 5, 2008
Canada Adopts New NAFTA Rule on Disassembly of Remanufactured Goods
January 17, 2008
NAFTA Fully Implemented as of January 1, 2008
December 17, 2007
CBP Agrees to Settle NAFTA Recordkeeping Case Against Ford Motor
October 12, 2007
TX Court Expands Importer's Duty to Review Supporting Documents for NAFTA Certificates of Origin
June 5, 2007
Justice O'Connor to Serve on NAFTA ECC Panels
May 15, 2007
CBP Issues Revised ICP on Determining Related Party Transaction Value Acceptability
Jul. 14, 2006
New Guidance on NAFTA Preference Override
Jun. 30, 2005
U.S. CBP Adopts NAFTA Rule on Disassembly
June 22, 2005
ITC to Study NAFTA Rule Changes