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Stephen Hughes




Location: Grand Bend, Ontario
Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject: Question about importing to Canada from the U.S.         Reply with quote

I'm considering that in the future I might want to import American-made swords, such as from Darkwood, Arms & Armor, or Albion. Given the current and projected exchange rate, it seems to be worthwhile, and I don't know of any Canadian retailers who can get these manufacturer's swords at this time.

Is there someone out there who has done this, or has heard about it, and could share their experience? I am curious about customs, and especially duties - something I thought had been eliminated with NAFTA, but now am not so sure. Of course I can ask the government directly, but getting information out of them is like pulling teeth, so thought to start off the easy way and work up to that.

Basically, I'm looking at it like this. Say I want to get the Paul Chen Basket-Hilted Broadsword. A local retailer I respect quoted me $359.99, which is of course the price before tax. The actual cost to me would be $413.99 CD, which is $360.92 USD with the current exchange rate. With American Internet retailers offering the sword for prices ranging from similar to much less (http://www.swordarmory.com/medieval_swords/2002gts.htm for example), I wonder if I might be able to save a noticable amount of money by ordering directly from the States.

I do not even know if the higher end swords can be obtained through any Canadian retailers. So I want to find out what kind of taxes, duties, and other trade barriers I might be looking at.

Any information you might have to share would be welcome, thank you.
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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I won't try to get into the vagaries of exchange rates and how to save money in your buying but I can tell you that Canadian customs duites are a huge pain and often a large cost. NAFTA my rear... Happy
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Patrick Jones




Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
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Posts: 35

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taxes are the biggest pain, Stephen.

I've ordered all of my swords from US dealers, and NAFTA doesn't eliminate the GST and PST. Plus, if it's delivered by UPS, you'll be paying their Customs brokerage fee, and the GST on the brokerage fee.

Just as an example, my most recent purchase was a Campaign scabbard from Albion for my Squire Line 15th Century Bastard sword. The scabbard was $255US, which came to $296.26CAN. GST & PST were $18.01CAN each, for a total of $36.02CAN for taxes. The UPS brokerage fee came to $47.70CAN, and the GST (insult on injury!) on the brokerage fee was $3.34.

Total cost: $383.32 CAN.

I hope this helps you.

cheers!

Pat
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Andy Bain




Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 119

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's not as hard as most people think. I've imported a number of swords/weapons from Albion, Arms and Armour, and various individuals. If the item was manufactured in the US the are no duties. You'll just have to pay GST and PST on the value of the item. If it was made outside the US then there will be duty. However, if it's something like a Paul Chen product that you're buying from the US you will probably only have to pay the taxes. Most of the time the customs officer just looks at the point of origin of the package and don't inquire too much about where the item was actually manufactured.

You'll want to make sure that whatever you're importing is legal. If you take a little time to Google prohibited weapons in Canada you'll find what you need to know. I don't have time right now to get the link to the info on the Dept of Justice website. Generally, swords, axes, maces, warhammers and spears are legal. Flails, some daggers (ie. push daggers) and knives (ie. switch blades) are illegal.

One other thing to keep in mind is you'll pay some sort of brokergae fee if you don't bring the item across the border yourself. The fees that Canada Post charges are very reasonable. The fees that FedEx and UPS charge are quite a bit higher and will go up with the value of the item. I live close to the border so I use a parcel drop in Point Roberts, WA and bring my toys across the border myself. I don't find it that big a deal.

It does get a little more complicated when you're sending something down to the US that you will eventually get back. I will soon be sending a sword to Russ so he can make a scabbard for it. There's a form I have to get filled out so when I get the sword back I can show the customs officer that I've already imported the sword and paid the taxes on it.

So far, when it comes to swords I order direct from Albion and Arms and Armour. I haven't found anyone up here who carries the higher end stuff like that.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
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Stephen Hughes




Location: Grand Bend, Ontario
Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 5:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the replies, this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.
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Shawn Mulock




Location: Calgary Alberta, Canada
Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 100

PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2006 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have imported a custom piece from the fine folks at Arms & Armor through Canadian Customs and Revenue, there was a customs brokers fee (about CDN$100.00) and GST (7% of the imported value) to be paid on my end.

Canadian Customs and Revenue had no problem with me bringing in a longsword. They did open and inspect the package merely because it did share dimensions with those of a package that might contain a firearm, but they did not molest it in any way.

I was told by an Agent that the bigger the better, and that I may catch some flack when I try to bring daggers into the country, but I am also on record with CCR as a person who purchases such items now and I suspect it won't be too much trouble. Heck, I'm even thinking of trying for collector's status. Then I can get flails!

"It is not what you have, but what you have done".
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Wed 08 Mar, 2006 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
I won't try to get into the vagaries of exchange rates and how to save money in your buying but I can tell you that Canadian customs duites are a huge pain and often a large cost. NAFTA my rear... Happy


NAFTA is only about countervailing duties, if its made in North American, there aren't any duties on metal objects. (Thread and cloth are a different matter!) Taxes on a given item are no different than what you'd pay here.

The hassle is the added cost of transportation and document preparation. As noted, postal parcels are processed inexpensively. They are the best option for small or infrequent buyers. United Parcel Service is one of the most expensive and frequently least competent brokerage services available. Shipping cost might be slightly less than other options but combined costs are often higher. Fedex Ground is a good compromise between them.

Face it, the local business importing this stuff has to make a $ for their effort and expertise. Decide what the hassle is worth to you in $ terms. I have 15+ years importing stuff for Canadians who can't be bothered to do it themselves.... Its just a matter of the right paperwork in a timely manner. Big Grin
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 08 Mar, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One other thing to keep in mind when buying swords. Unless you have money to throw around or are the sort of person who's extremely impatient, I wouldn't recommend having a sword shipped by UPS. I had my Squire Line 15th C Bastard sword shipped and it cost me about $60 Canadian to pick it up. In contrast, it cost nearly $100 (US) more in to have my Knight delivered by UPS. If you're ordering from Albion, make sure you let Mike know that want the item to be sent via the post office, because UPS is Albion's default shipping method. I'd recommend even asking to have it noted in Albion's records that you prefer items to be shipped via post office.
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Andy Bain




Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 119

PostPosted: Thu 09 Mar, 2006 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig, that extra $40 was more than likely the brokerage fees that UPS charges. Something that Canada Post would charge you about $5 will cost $20 or more from UPS or FedEx.

Something else for us Canucks to remember is FedEx will no longer ship weapons across international boundaries. I ran across this about 2-3 years ago when ordering a Hissatsu from Bugei. That was when I first started using the parcel drop in Point Roberts.
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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Mar, 2006 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andy Bain wrote:


Something else for us Canucks to remember is FedEx will no longer ship weapons across international boundaries. I ran across this about 2-3 years ago when ordering a Hissatsu from Bugei. That was when I first started using the parcel drop in Point Roberts.


Is that some sort of Canadian Fedex thing? I shipped Jean his Tritonia and scabbard about two weeks ago and he lives in Canada. It arrived no problem.

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Andy Bain




Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 119

PostPosted: Thu 09 Mar, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not as far as I know Russ. The Hissatsu was coming from California to Canada, and the lady at Bugei said they couldn't do it as FedEx would no longer ship a weapon across the border. Something to do with increased security after 9/11. Maybe that policy has since been relaxed. Or maybe there's different policies for FedEx Ground and stuff coming by air.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Mar, 2006 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
Andy Bain wrote:


Something else for us Canucks to remember is FedEx will no longer ship weapons across international boundaries. I ran across this about 2-3 years ago when ordering a Hissatsu from Bugei. That was when I first started using the parcel drop in Point Roberts.


Is that some sort of Canadian Fedex thing? I shipped Jean his Tritonia and scabbard about two weeks ago and he lives in Canada. It arrived no problem.


Russ: You shipped the scabbard only, the Tritonia was shipped a month earlier by Albion.

Although, I'm fairly sure that my Black Prince was shipped by A & A last year using Fed Ex. without any problems. Eek!
Maybe because the shipping was marked decorative metal work rather than sword.

These " no weapons " policies are at times due to laws but a lot of times just some creative interpretation by some p.c. company executive or some low level and purely local misapplication of a rule.

Also, rules put in a panic later dropped when rational thought and loss of customer's dollars kick in. Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Russ Ellis
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Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Mar, 2006 6:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Russ: You shipped the scabbard only, the Tritonia was shipped a month earlier by Albion.

Although, I'm fairly sure that my Black Prince was shipped by A & A last year using Fed Ex. without any problems. Eek!
Maybe because the shipping was marked decorative metal work rather than sword.

These " no weapons " policies are at times due to laws but a lot of times just some creative interpretation by some p.c. company executive or some low level and purely local misapplication of a rule.

Also, rules put in a panic later dropped when rational thought and loss of customer's dollars kick in. Razz Laughing Out Loud


<slaps self in head> Of course you are right... Duh. Just had the picture in my minds eye of that scabbard with the Tritonia in it (of course it was MY Tritonia). I sent a sword and scabbard to Patrick J a few months before that... but I may have used USPS on that one I don't recall. The scabbard I just shipped to Italy was again only a scabbard so now I still don't know... Will have to investigate further...

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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Fri 10 Mar, 2006 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The "no weapons" statements might be a misunderstanding, too. Especially if you are hearing it from somewhere other than the shipping company in question. I have encountered numerous people who have told me that you cannot ship firearms via the United States Postal Service. My dad does some gunsmithing, and had been under that impression himself. After repeated frustration with UPS, he finally went with USPS (I don't remember if someone asked for something to be shipped that way, or if he just went into the Post Office and asked). You cannot ship ammunition, and firearms must still be sent to someone with an FFL, but when you tell USPS that you are shipping a rifle, they simply say, "okay, and how much would you like to insure it for?" So much for the, "USPS will not ship firearms" myth.

Obviously, Canadian Post, FedEx, and any other company might be different, but if someone tells me, "we can't use company X because they will not ship Y," I'm going to call company X and get it straight from them before I write them off.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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