Saturday, January 24, 2015

Free Trade! My A**

Yesterday, while trying to get to the Amherst Railway Society Train Show in Springfield, I was held at the US border for 3.5 hours and in the end decided to turn around and go home. The CBP agent was requesting documentation from me that I did not have and was not readily available at home for my wife to fax to me.
The issue mostly seemed to be that my kit boxes and parts bags were not marked with "Made in Canada". Technically he is correct but I have yet to establish if that label would be correct. In truth all the kit parts are sourced from US suppliers and I box them. Which is why my importation paperwork stated the goods as US origin.
The agent then asked for copies of my invoices from said suppliers. It was at that point I said forget it, I'm going home. It would take me a hour or more of going through my files to dig out the requested paperwork, not something I could have asked my wife to do.
This agent was bound and determined to not let me into the USA, I am convinced. I'm also a tad miffed at my broker since they're are paid to assist me with having correct paper work.
I do not understand the obstructive attitude that US CBP agents have towards small business attempting to enter the US. It's not like I'm smuggling drugs, guns, or human slaves.
A small model railroad business is a threat to the US economy and it's post 2014 recovery?
I have tried talking to US officials about entry requirements and have been treated with contempt and downright rudeness. These people who adjudicate the rules are under no obligation, it seems, to explain the rules or direct you to one who can.
And try and find a Canadian official who will explain the requirements for package labeling.
What I need to know really is at what point in the process dose my efforts convert US origin goods into a Canadian origin product. And if not how should the package be labeled? Do I now have to travel with a stack of invoices from my suppliers to prove where the grabirons, brake parts and turnbuckles come from?
When I was a child in school, we were taught that Canada and the US hosted the worlds longest undefended border. And that our "friendship" was the envy of the world.
To which, today, I say "really?" Try running a business in North America.


Anonymous said...

To paraphrase T S Elliot:

This the way the world ends
not with a bang but with Stupidity.

I missed you at Springfield

Maynard Stowe

Manfred Lesser said...

I've been through the same thing, Pierre. The reason for the Made in Canada sticker is that, even though the items came from the US, you packaged them and therefore you "added value" to the kits and thus, they are made in Canada. As for the attitude, the Americans seem to have reached a level of total paranoia and are convinced everyone is out to get them.

By the way, I didn't go to Springfield either this year but I was grounded by my doctor as having a bad ticker. More tests are under way to see how bad.

ml designs

Anonymous said...

Golly, I have had the problem going in the other direction!

Our free handouts for an academic conference were seized, and we had to pay duty to get them back. FREE handouts, but apparently we were depriving a Canadian printer of work.

I and another were welcome to drive trucks in Canada under NAFTA but could not get temporary visas to do intellectual work unless it could be demonstrated that there were NO (0) Canadians who could do the work.

In the age of the border-free internet, there are little minds still out there who don't get it at all.

Anonymous said...

As an American, to say our country has some problems, is the understatement of the century. We have lost all touch with common sense. Everybody is running amok with cries of being "offended", and requiring "political correctness". I could go on and on; but suffice it to say that I wish I had been born at least 30 years sooner, so I could have lived in a better time, and would be dead now so I wouldn't have to put up with this BS. I would have gotten to see steam too!


Anonymous said...

I am convinced that governments will be the end of us all, as has been the case throughout history. I wish that I could secede from the United States and live my life as I choose as opposed to living it as my government chooses for me.