Reduce Costs and Save Money with NAFTA

Passing a U.S. Customs NAFTA Verification

The U.S. Customs NAFTA Verification process begins when your company receives a CBP 28 “Request for Information”. This request will cover a specific U.S import entry and one or more part numbers. The request is often sent to both the U.S. Importer and the Mexican Maquila. Each request has a 30-day response deadline from the date of issuance. This is serious, since a failed verification can result in owing additional duties and penalties as far back as five years.

U.S. Importer Responsibilities

This information can vary, depending on the U.S. Customs Request. The following are examples of items that Customs may request:

  • • NAFTA Certificate of Origin for the finished good (be sure to include an e-mail contact in the “Producer” box)
  • • Bill of Materials (BOM), with origin, HTS classification and value for each component
  • • Product-specific information, including features and functions • Critical component NAFTA certificates of origin
  • • Detailed Production Process

We recommend that you assemble, review and validate all requested information. Even if U.S. Customs does not request all of the above information, this is an excellent opportunity to review and validate your NAFTA claims on those items that are under review. We further recommend that you present all information to U.S. Customs in a clean and well organized format.

Mexico Maquila Responsibilities

A NAFTA verification will often include a “NAFTA Verification of Origin Questionnaire”. This may be sent on the initial CBP 28 Request or on a second follow-up request. The information required in the NAFTA questionnaire covers how the product is made in Mexico for example:

Section 1 – Production Process – this covers how the product is made in Mexico, this information should be a step by step manufacturing process description. Diagrams or drawings are very helpful.

Section 2 – Non-Originating Materials or Components – this covers all components and parts used in the manufacturing process that are not NAFTA qualifying or are NAFTA qualifying with no NAFTA certificate of origin on file.

Section 3 – Originating Materials and Components – this covers all components and parts used in the manufacturing process that are NAFTA qualifying and include a valid NAFTA certificate of origin on file. NAFTA qualifying parts must be made in the USA, Canada or Mexico.

Section 4 – Additional Questions – This section requires detailed knowledge of the applicable NAFTA rule of origin. If unsure please call our office so that one of our NAFTA compliance experts can help explain.

Section 5 – Certification – This section must be signed and certified by a knowledgeable and experienced individual at your company, including signature, date, title and name of the company.

The NAFTA Questionnaire is a complex document that can sometimes be difficult to understand. Incomplete or wrong answers can seriously impact your NAFTA eligibility and generate a negative outcome. For any question please call us.

Additional Tips and Recommendations

– Respond on time! Customs grants 30 days to return the requested information. To avoid a delayed response, we recommend that you respond within 14 to 21 days. The earlier the better. If you absolutely need additional time, you can request an extension if time. A late response can result in a rejected NAFTA claim, additional duties and possible penalties.

– Provide complete responses to all requests and questions. Information should be in English, clear, easy to read and easy to understand.

  • • Highlighting part numbers and other relevant information on all documents.
  • • Checking and re-checking that all information supports and matches the NAFTA claim
  • • Using a 3-ring binder to organize the information within individual tabs

Consider a thorough review by an independent third party to validate and confirm your information. The goal is the pass the verification on the first presentation with no additional questions or challenges. The quicker U.S. Customs can approve your NAFTA claim the better for everyone.

– Deliver a hard-copy to U.S. Customs and maintain a complete copy for your own internal files

Work with us! As your U.S. Customs Broker we are here to help. We have the experience with the NAFTA Verification Process and no question is too big or too small.

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