Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Two Minutes Hate


The North American Free Trade Agreement was touted as a treaty that would make trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico easier, cheaper, and therefore being beneficial to everyone involved. Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't, I am not a trained economist to determine such things.

One thing I know it has done though is create a shit load of work and paperwork for me. Although I have no training or really much knowledge on NAFTA, I have somehow become the expert in this field for my company (and by expert, I mean I know slightly more than any random person that you might meet on the street). My expertise came about because I ship a lot of packages for my company - many to Canada, many to Mexico...so I had to learn a little bit about NAFTA in order for these items to ship out correctly and in a timely manner.

What I hate about NAFTA:
  • Now instead of a printing out a shipping label. I must now print the shipping label (3 copies), commercial invoice (4 copies), and NAFTA declaration (4 copies). I have to keep a copy of each for myself...for 5 years, and stuff the rest into the shipping pouch. What a waste of time, paper, and storage space.
  • I am the one in change of assigning the Harmonization Tariff codes to all of the companies products (again because I know slightly more that everyone else). How hard can that be? the 2009 NAFTA schedule (the guide you have to follow) is 3000+ pages long. Yes, I can ignore much of it because we don't ship things like "Live Animals" or "Chemicals" but then does our product fall under the category "Aluminum and Articles thereof" or "Vehicles, Parts and Accessories thereof"? (more on this in the next bullet). The file is large enough that it seems to take forever to open, let alone navigate.
  • Of course it doesn't actually list all the categorizations plainly and simply...it says something like "Vehicles class 8701 - 8705, excluding 8704, and whereas class does not also match 8707, Parts and Accessories, NELOS." So you also have to go look up what every other classification says and lists before you can assign one. It is all written in legalize so even when you do read the 50 pages surrounding the category you think your product MIGHT be, it doesn't really make any sense.
  • It is just hard to get information and answers on any of it. It has gotten better in the past couple years but still I am usually searching through 3 or 4 government sites before I actually find the info I need.
  • Plus now NAFTA isn't enough, you now need ECCN declarations and a bunch of other stuff, just to send a set of bolts to a customer who is missing them.

I don't disagree with the idea of the NAFTA idea, just the implementation. I wish it was easier to ship like promised.

End Hate

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