International businesses, especially large multinationals, are being held to increasingly stricter standards of global compliance oversight. The regulatory requirements associated with goods traveling across borders are complex in any country; when multiplied by the 20, 40 or 100 countries many companies operate in, the level of complexity may seem unmanageable. Yet non-compliance with trade regulations can be a very significant risk, leading to high costs and disrupted supply chains. The difficulty of managing trade compliance risk begins with the difficult first step of even knowing what regulations and standards apply in countries like France and South Korea, let alone emerging markets like Kazakhstan and Peru.
The Trusted Trade Alliance has a comprehensive set of solutions for global trade compliance assessment. With a team including recognized trade compliance experts with on-the-ground experience in virtually every country around the globe, we specialize in providing comprehensive reviews of international trade operations to assess and improve your level of customs compliance. Whether for a country operation, a region, your global operations, or your supply base, our reviews are focused on assessing whether the company is meeting the standards and regulatory compliance burden of each country covered, and in a cost-effective way. We can assist you in examining every aspect of your company’s international trade-related process--and we can often find ways for you to save money while improving compliance.
- Import and Export clearance processes, including service provider oversight and record keeping
- Handling of export and defense control compliance, including dealing with US controls under the responsibility of the Departments of Commerce (BIS), State (DDTC), and Treasury (OFAC), and the national export control agencies of the EU Member States, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and others.
- Classification process (this may include gathering sample products for an in-depth classification review)
- Customs valuation issues
- Country of origin marking
- Handling of preferential origin programs
- Trusted trader programs, including AEO and national programs focused on supply-chain security or compliance.
Our review can be tailored to specific operations or compliance focus areas, and can be as comprehensive or limited in scope as you require.
Regulatory requirements vary from country to country; while most are based on WTO and WCO principles, both the letter of the law and the definition of what constitutes compliance differ from country to country. A determination of whether your company’s operations are compliant requires knowledge of local requirements, yet at the same time an awareness of standards (national standards or those required globally by countries like the US) which may apply to your company specifically. The Trusted Trade Alliance has a very broad coverage geographically, yet at the same time a very deep experience in compliance matters specific to countries across the globe, including in regions such as Africa and Central Asia, where qualified advice is often hard to obtain.
Our general philosophy is that the company needs to maintain centralized oversight and control of global cross-border activities (and this is mandated by Sarbanes-Oxley for US listed companies). Nevertheless, in our experience, with the proper strategic approach, customs and trade compliance does not need to be burdensome or costly, and can instead become a vehicle for enhanced competitiveness and efficient global operations. Even when providing you with specific, tested, practical advice related to a local compliance question, our goal will be to assist you in incorporating the local solution into your global customs and trade processes. Our aim is to help you achieve customs and trade processes which are not only compliant, but which are also cost-effective, compatible with your business and IT processes, and flexible to meet future needs.
Company Trade Compliance Policy Development
Many companies have had key internal financial and business processes certified under the ISO quality standards. The key to meeting the certification process is having standard, documented processes in place which meet specified minimum requirements. For Sarbanes-Oxley and similar regulatory initiatives in the financial area, accurate, documented policies reflecting compliant processes are the key to prove that minimum standards have been met. They also serve as guidelines for employees and service providers engaged in the company, and form a basic assurance that the company is aware of its compliance obligations and has thought through the operational implications of them. Whether in an audit by governmental authorities or in a certification review by a qualified ISO review body, having a comprehensive, up-to-date set of written policies in place is essential for a positive outcome.
Survival of a trade compliance audit, approval for and maintenance of self-assessment programs, and achieving the “green lane” status of programs implemented under the auspices of the WCO’s SAFE Framework all have one major underlying pre-requisite in common: adequate documentation of compliant practices, typically in the form of written policies, and evidence that these policies are tailored to the company operations, and really in use within a company. The Trusted Trade Alliance team is comprised of seasoned professionals who have been directly involved in partnering with governments to pilot programs such as the US Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA), C-TPAT, Mexico’s Empresa Certificada program, and the compliant trader and AEO programs of the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. We can assist you in developing written policies tailored both to the requirements of the programs and to your business, helping you to achieve and maintain the desired status efficiently.