Tariffs suck. Politicians bluster about punishing foreign countries (like China) by charging tariffs for goods crossing our border that are inexpensive for U.S. consumers to buy. Yes, it reduces the demand for the foreign products in question, but it also screws the American consumer. It hits those on fixed incomes and folks of limited incomes the hardest.
Also, tariffs take a large tole even on health. Here's an example ... Back in time, the U.S. government, bending to pressure from our sugar beet growers, started charging high tariffs on foreign sugar being imported to the U.S. Anything made with sugar skyrocketed in price overnight. The beet growers loved the new income, and the destruction of their foreign competition, but the food processors had to find a cheaper alternative to sugar. That's when the chemists came up with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). I read recently that HFCS actually increases appetite. At this point, according to another article, the average American consumes an average of 58 gallons of HFCS each year.
Is there a correlation between the American obesity problem that began at about the same time that HFCS was introduced into the American diet?? I believe so. I, for one, read every label on the food I buy. If it contains HFCS, I put it back on the shelf and look for an alternative.
Start reading the labels folks. You'll be surprised at just how many products you buy contain HFCS. Once your system is cleared of HFCS, it tastes disgusting. Very artificial and it tastes just like a chemical has been added to the food in question ... which of course, it has. .
Here's a good test: If you like sweet pickle relish ... try a container of Del Monte sweet pickle relish as an option to your regular one that you usually buy. Del Monte is made with sugar and no HFCS is present in the product. Yes, Del Monte is a little more expensive ... but worth it.
Also, if you're a soda drinker, buy the ones from Mexico. Even Mexican Coca Cola is made with real sugar. Waaaay better. Now available at Costco, Walmart and any Mexican market.
Sorry if I was out of place posting this on an audio site ... but hey, we need to be informed about this stuff too, right?
Yes, it all depends on the shipper. Anything sent USPS should not exact a fee. I've bought three folding knives (on three occasions) from a Canadian site and the postage for each was around $3.00 and I got them within 5 days. No problem, no hassle.
Something like your speakers can present a problem due to their size. You can't get around that. A few years back I sent an amp back to a Canadian site for a mod and was told to state that it was for repairs and never was assessed a fee of any sort, just the cost of the unit, size and weight. This was through FedEx. It went straight through with no hassles, both ways.
The question about where the speakers were made is the most important one. If they were made in England you will be paying import duty in addition to any shipping and brokerage fees. If they had been made in Canada there would be no duty because Canada is one of the members of NAFTA.
I bought a pair of Proac speakers, made in England, from a seller in British Columbia and drove them across the border to Seattle. At the U.S. customs office at the border I had to spend an hour waiting for a customs officer to go through thousands of product listings in a book that looked like the Manhattan phone directory. She eventually gave up and asked me what I’d paid for the speakers ($1,400) and she assigned a duty of something like $200, which was totally arbitrary, of course. So, there’s a certain amount of uncertainty in the process.
I'm not sure how you would accomplish it but getting an answer in advance from U.S. customs could avoid an unpleasant surprise.
I bought 2 used pieces of equipment from Canada several years ago, a phono pre-amp and a CD player. In both cases the seller lived near the border and drove the items into the US and shipped them. They said the border guards never checked. Of course that depends on the check point. One seller said the US site was the nearest FedEx site and people did this all the time, especially for eBay sales. Might be harder with speakers.
Riffer makes a good point about preparing for the worst because it is like a roller coaster, once you go over the top, you are no longer in control. Best case is probably that you pay brokerage only, which I get charged for even small purchases from Partsconnexion, unless they are shipped by postal service. Some years ago, I believe it was around a hundred bucks or so for a SF preamp. The NAFTA comments are valid but I would add, from experience, they are picky about the documentation being on a specific form and executed by the manufacturer, otherwise it may do you no good that they were manufactured in Canada. One scenairo I have no experience with is shipping by a commercial carrier (I.e., a trucking company), although I would expect similar issues.
I bought a Rega table, made in England, and the seller shipped to me unknowing of the fee. When UPS delivered it I owed $45. Not sure how it was assessed but it seems Fedex and UPS charge the fee. With the CAD to USD exchange rate good deals are to be had from our northern neighbors.