Paul Griggs, founder of Events on the Move, a customs broker and frieght forwarder in Vancouver, B.C., says Canada offers some attractive incentives in terms of cost savings and streamlined border clearances for U.S.–based meeting planners to hold their meetings in Canada.
Spearheading these developments is the International Events and Convention Services Program of the Canada Border Service Agency.
Partnering with the Convention Services Program are independently owned customs brokers and freight forwarders who specialize in the meetings industry. Together, the IECSP and one of these brokers can set up your event with the special privileges offered to foreign convention organizers to allow you and your exhibitors to import goods free of duty and tax, says Griggs.
Most countries around the world will charge shippers for importing goods either through the local state tax or federal Value Added Tax. These numbers can add up: In some countries, the VAT is as high as 25 percent. In Canada, most U.S. meetings can have this tax waived, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The other important advantage is that customs brokers can move your goods, in most cases, directly to the hotel or convention center and clear customs on site. This virtually eliminates the worry of things getting “stuck in Customs.”
Customs brokers in Canada that specialize in meetings and conventions work in conjunction with the government and can, among other things, liaise with the Government on your behalf. Specifically, they can: