What defines success in import and export compliance? How do you achieve it?
First and foremost, you should outline operational compliance policies, procedures, and standards of conduct. Employees and management should know what is expected of them and how to handle unforeseen situations. An effective program clearly defines and enforces those expectations.
Maintaining Trade Compliance
Your industry is a large determinant in how you measure effectiveness. However, the foundations of any trade compliance program include:
- Classify products correctly
- Follow trade laws based on those classifications
- Know who your customers and business partners are
Those are very high level aspects of maintaining compliance; the reality of implementing an effective system is much more involved. Let’s look at steps required to accomplish this.
- Analyze your business model and activities to better assess the risk volatility. Create standard assessment procedures for consistency and thoroughness.
- Determine which regulations apply to your business and industry. No business is the same and laws and regulations are always changing. It’s important to have a deep understanding of the pertinent laws but this is not a one time activity. BIS has excellent resources as does the CBP.
- Implement internal controls and leverage technology.
- Clear and continuous communication and training (internal and external).
- Periodic monitoring is helpful to check that the program rules and processes still apply and make sense. Adjust as needed.
- Consistent enforcement- hold your team accountable both to maintain compliance and to ensure the effort from the previous steps doesn’t go to waste.
- Don’t be afraid to seek expert guidance. Whether working with an internal expert or consulting partner, a little guidance can put you back on the right track.