Importers have contacted us with many questions relating to importing rice into Canada, such as what are the license requirements, or what are the taxes? Purchasing food internationally for import into Canada for human consumption can seem like an intimidating venture so here’s some helpful info to assist.
Rice has been cultivated for thousands of years and is a food staple for more than 3 billion people around the world. Businesses have to import rice as Canada doesn’t grow enough rice to satisfy domestic demand. With Canada planning to increase immigration, the coming years will see an increase in the quantities of rice being imported.
According to 2021 numbers published by the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), Canada imported $366 million worth of rice. These shipments came predominantly from the US, Thailand (jasmine rice), and India (basmati rice). The Canadian government has pledged to increase immigration to combat labour shortages in the coming years. This increase will lead to a larger population that has rice as a pillar of their diet and create greater demand for the product.
Basmati rice is a popular variety of long grain rice that is typically produced in Asia. India and Pakistan dominate international trade in basmati rice. Similarly, jasmine rice is also of the long grain variety, however, Thailand is the major producer.
To import rice into Canada for sale, importers would require a business number, also known as an importer number. This number is issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Information on how to register can be found here. Once that is in place, the next requirement is an SFC license. The license is issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and must be obtained prior to importing the rice into Canada. Importers can find registration information here.
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There are no duties when importing rice from most countries, including the US, Thailand, and India. It is considered a basic grocery item by the Canadian tax authorities. Provided the rice is imported for human consumption, there is no Goods and Services Tax (GST) applicable. Rice imported for other means would be subject to GST on import.
As with any product, it is important to know the requirements prior to importing. Imports of rice are regulated by both the CBSA and the CFIA. Having everything in order before your shipments depart from origin is vital in reducing potentially costly delays. For more information, please or click .