Amercian vs Canadian or does it matter?


Jun 7, 2004
Canada\'s west coast
When you shop online or if you shop online , does it make a difference to you about what currency the item is listed in?

In other words... if the website offers items in Canadian funds and you are an American would it sway you to look else where for a US supplier or would you just go ahead with your purchase and buy it in the currency it is offered?

What matters to you most?
US dollars only, I don't want to convert currency, I want your website to do so. I also would rather buy from the US because I know that my package will not be held up in customs for any reason.
When I read the title of this thread, my first thought was that I'd better keep my mouth shut on this one. But I think I can express an opinion that won't get me into too much trouble.

Payment methods are the biggest hang-up. Charge cards are no problem but checks and money orders can get a little tricky.

If I were buying art from you, it wouldn't be difficult to deal in Canadian dollars as long as you were able to accept my visa card number. If I had to go to the bank for an international money order, that might cause me to look elsewhere.

Good question.

If I'm on line, I would be using my MC or Visa unless I have to go through PayPal. If it is PP,
they ding my MC anyway. So all avenues don't matter. BUT! I have noticed that Canada never got the word about NAFTA when it comes to art. You guys make are SUVs and other cars for us, but when it comes to art, the crown loves it's duty.

If it's art I can't get here, and I really want it, than I'll go the duty or cross the border. (only a 6 hr drive). But if all things were equal with the duty thing, I'd go for it.

I bought something on the internet last year and when I got it, the DHL bill for the three pound weight was $169!! Then I saw that it had come out of Nepal...... The world is getting smaller and smaller.

From my understanding after talking to US customs directly, artprints are not taxable and duty should not be applied. Original work on the other hand is a hit and miss and really depends on the customs agent that reviews your work. For our company we have a customs number that should allow us easier distribution into the US. For international orders we use fedex who have customs brokers and should reduce holdups if they apply. So whether this is true or not I don't know, we have yet to have a problem. But thank you for your input.

The savy Canadian distibutors like Art In Motion, Michaelangelo Mouldings and similar companies all pre-clear the art or product into the USA. The packages are picked enbloc in Canada and moved across the border on one invoice and then the individual packages are sent on their way to the stores that ordered them. They also sell in US Funds. As well they usually show a USA mailing address or location that is just across the border even though it is most likely just a postal drop.

These companies very early found that American customers really did not understand nor did they want to handle product that needed to clear customs.

On the small amount we ship into the US we usually preclear and pay any southbound US customs clearing costs, so it arrives at the US customers door with no additional charges to be paid. Art manufactured in Canada goes into the US duty free, but the US Customs dept does collect considerable fees just to process the shipment.

This is just the opposite to Canadian retailers. Virtually every Canadian retail frame shop or art gallery simply does the business of importing and clearing product through customs as a day to day part of the business. This is just one of those little quirks that makes business different in the two countries.

Originally posted by BigDoor:
From my understanding after talking to US customs directly, artprints are not taxable and duty should not be applied. Original work on the other hand is a hit and miss ...
Somewhere, we have the actual US customs information on this:

Over the past 25+ years, shipping of artwork between Canada and the US, there has never been duty applied to any original, signed art. This includes any original print (etching, engraving, serigraph, stone lithograph etc).
That's good to know. These forums are a great source of information. Thanks for the feedback.
We do make some purchases from third world countries like Canada. It is a little tough getting past the language barriers. Canadians always say "eh" after each sentence, although with practice you can slowly start to understand them, eh. As far as money goes, we just use our charge card, makes it easy converting to their strange colored currency, eh.

Actually, I am a duel citizen of the US and Canada, so it is a little easier for me to catch on to their language, odd customs, and their Monopoly looking money, eh. Understand, I do not speak French, eh. Just something I never got around to learning, eh. Other than Roma moulding, we do not purchase anything from Quebec, eh.

You must have been up here then. Did you get a chance to ride any dog sleds or stay in any igloos. We couldn't make our money white like the color of snow so we opted for color just to be different. I guess that's also why they call us "north americans"? just to be different.
Actually, when I was a kid, we built a great igloo in our back yard. It didn't last all that long, roof fell in, but it was fun. I spent my youth in Vancouver, family moved to the States when I was 15. I may return one of these days, who knows.

We buy a lot of 6-7 ft giclees from New York. Because they are made in the USA, there is no duty. The shipper must present a "Certificate of Orgin" which states where the product was made. This goes for Canadian made products to the USA as well (beef excluded).
This may sound like a dumb question? but how is one to create or show a "Certificate of Orgin" or is this an actual certificate? Isn't it already stated on the customs declaration? and say on the product - Made in Canada?
It does not sound like you have a customs broker. I suggest to talk to one. A certificate of origin is a basic customs document that must be completed for every product for a 12 month period if it is shipped into Canada,the USA or Mexico under NAFTA. It must accompany every single shipment to be imported or exported under NAFTA, if you want duty free status for the goods.

Type in, Certificate of Origin NAFTA, in google and you will get all you need to know about it but I still suggest you talk to a broker.

Thanks Alan, I really appreciate the advice. I will certainly check into it. Thanks again.

Best regards,

Alan, there is a value limitation on the NAFTA thing. $1600 Canadian is the cut - off. Above you need the form, below - not.

I can e-mail copies of my very nice Canada Customs Officer's explainations to dummies (me) to anyone who is interested.