Warning on Moving Precious Metals Into Canada

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I recently
heard from a reader who related a disturbing incident when attempting
to enter Canada from the United States with a quantity of gold coins.

This individual
declared the coins to the Canadian immigration official and was
immediately detained for secondary inspection. After a brief wait
in a holding area he was interrogated for nearly an hour.

Questions included,

  • “Why
    are you bringing gold into Canada?” When this individual
    told the Customs officials that he merely planned to place the
    gold coins in his Canadian safety deposit box, they didn’t
    believe him
  • “Do
    you own a home in the United States?”
  • “Have
    you ever been arrested for any crime?”

Unfortunately
for this gentleman, he had a U.S. arrest record dating back to the
1970s, which he neglected to mention. Since Canadian immigration
officials now have access to U.S. criminal records, they quickly
discovered the arrest. On that basis, the officials denied him entry
into Canada.

Once it became
clear that he wouldn’t be permitted to enter Canada, the officials
became more cooperative. They even allowed him to spend the night
at a local hotel, after temporarily confiscating his passport. When
he returned to the airport the next day for a flight back to the
United States, they returned his passport, along with his gold coins.

This is a disturbing
development for at least three reasons:

  1. It’s
    absolutely legal to import gold coins or other precious metals
    into Canada, so long as it’s declared to a customs inspector.
    In some cases Canadian goods and services tax is due, although
    no payment is due on importation of 99.9% pure gold coins – the
    type this gentleman attempted to bring into Canada.
  2. To prevent
    this type of incident from occurring, this gentlemen conducted
    extensive correspondence with Canadian customs officials. Indeed,
    the day before his trip he had spoke to a senior official who
    assured him that as long as he declared the coins at the border
    there would be no problems importing the gold. Obviously, this
    was not the case.
  3. Judging
    by the types of questions asked, Canadian customs officials apparently
    believed this individual planned to sell the gold in Canada, convert
    the proceeds to cash, and then engage in some sort of money laundering
    operation. This was a ludicrous suggestion, because the quantity
    of gold he was trying to import was relatively small. Nonetheless,
    it demonstrates that Canadian customs officials have become hyper-sensitive
    to Americans attempting to import precious metals.

In the end,
I think it was the fact that this person lied about his arrest for
a misdemeanor offense decades ago in the United States that led
to his exclusion from Canada. Without that arrest, it’s possible
that he would have been permitted to proceed.

Have you attempted
to bring precious metals from the United States into Canada? If
so, were you allowed into the country? Please comment below on your
experience.

November
26, 2010

Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20
years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society's Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen
books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy
and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international
consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides
international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals.
Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member
of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
Administration.

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