Val, we didn't have to pay a duty fee. We came across the Border at Sumas, Washington. I had the same problem when I first called the Customs office at Blaine. I don't think people import RVs very often so the person answering the phone may not know as much as the officers who do the searches and actually let you cross the border. Fortunately I had emailed U.S. Customs before I got through to them on the phone. I still have the email so I'll copy it here:
If you are inquiring about importing personally owned vehicles into the United States from Canada, here are a few helpful hints that can assist you. Prior to applying to import your vehicle into the United States, you must first ensure that you have in your possession the following:
* Proof of ownership such as ICBC registration
or a bill of sale if recently purchased.
* You must verify that the vehicle meets both D.O.T and E.P.A labeling requirements.
The D.O.T. label can be found on the driver’s doorjamb. The E.P.A is usually found under the hood. If either labels are missing, then you must attain a letter of conformity by the vehicle manufacturer stating that the vehicle meets both D.O.T and E.P.A standards. If you cannot attain a letter of conformity from the manufacturer, then your only other option is to have the vehicle commercially imported utilizing a registered importer/broker.
Once you verified that you have in possession those items and your vehicle meets the requirements, you can now apply to import your vehicle into the United States at any of the local CPB Ports of Entry. A CBP officer will verify your documents and your vehicle’s VIN
and then issue you CF7501 (A form that you will be required to give to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles in the state that you intend on registering your vehicle). Vehicles manufactured in North America generally are duty free (North American manufactured vehicle VIN’s start with the numbers 1,2,3,4 or 5). Duty may be assessed to vehicle manufactured outside North America.
If you require further information, then you can get it at:
Val, of course a trailer doesn't have to have an EPA label because it doesn't have an engine. But you do need the DOT label or the manufacturer's letter.
Our advice is to have the seller look for the DOT label somewhere on the trailer and have them send you a picture. We bought our trailer from a private party, so I'm not sure if anything is anything different in your case. That is, maybe if you are buying through a dealer, they may handle the import/export. I hope this helps. Good luck!