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International Trade Compliance

“Trade compliance” refers to how well a company observes the laws and regulations that govern its business operations. Many of these rules are established by national governments to manage their countries’ trade with other nations.  Others are created to fulfill the requirements of international trade agreements.

Understanding trade compliance

If you’re an exporter or importer, you need a clear understanding of the rules that govern international trade in your sector. This is important for avoiding risk, since failing to comply with these trade rules, even accidentally, can lead to serious consequences. Depending on the transgression, you can be subject to fines, audits, seizures, inspections, investigations, loss of market access and even imprisonment.

Compliance Training

While no training is specified in any law of regulation regarding trade matters, both import and export laws and regulations clearly require due diligence and reasonable care. To ensure that all parties that touch any tangent point to any matter where there are import-export law or regulation implications, it’s imperative that you train them [and be able to prove it] to meet your overall legal obligations!

Global Trade

Before you can identify who needs to be trained, you have to understand all your business processes and functions, alongside what the applicable laws and regulations. VComply can help you to do this! This is an area where there are frequently gaps because the laws and regulations dynamic and ever-changing for the average business operation to understand and keep up to.

Topics to be included in trade compliance training cover a lot of ground as import-export issues touch virtually every functional area of a business. These are the usual topics that can be framed specifically for the audience at hand, or provided in generic form depending on the complexities of your individual business landscape:

1. Import and Export Classifications (HTS/ECCN)
2. Customs Valuation
3. Country of Origin
4. Export Control: Know your Partners[1] & Screening
5. Export Licensing
6. Supply Chain Security
7. Record Keeping
8. General Awareness

When to train?

When there is a new hire:

Brief the new employees about these concepts to make them aware of the trade compliance organization in case something crosses their path in their daily work.  They should pay regular attention. One slide embedded in the deck, and simple tri-fold brochures at orientation are good ways to get this message in.


Annual Training:

For each identified functional area AND for executive management, an annual training session is important, especially if your company has a dynamic workforce. It is essential that there is proof of attendance at these sessions.

Trade Compliance Programme

Effective trade compliance ensures that one classifies goods correctly, origin, and declare accurate valuation of goods in accordance to the laws and regulations, and one pays appropriate duties and taxes. However, this is only a small part of the bigger picture.

An effective trade compliance program protects the company and country from potential danger by: screening new vendors, customers, and visitors; applying for licenses to import and export goods; and ensuring that they meet all requirements regarding exports and imports. Furthermore, your trade compliance program must be cognizant of new and changing regulations. You must ensure that one maintains good records for all export and import transactions.

Trade compliance is a vital component of any global business. It’s everyone’s responsibility and in all our interests to comply with these requirements. So, the next time you hear a specific question or need, take some time to step back. This lets you “see the forest through the trees”.  It could be that your company is missing some of the larger issues at stake.

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