In International Trade, laws and regulations are a way of life and they are very complex. In addition the laws and regulations must be conformed to or the penalties are extremely severe including fines and even imprisonment. This is why the U.S. Department of State, Department of Commerce and Department of Treasury strongly recommend developing an export compliance program in order to ensure your obedience.

A high quality compliance program should match business procedures and make clear how compliance measures are incorporated into export transaction processing and ongoing business activities. Whether you are a start-up business or a Fortune 500 company, it’s possible to have a program customized for you. The benefits are strong, such as instilling best demonstrated practices from a client professional’s expertise, along with demonstrating commitment to customers and suppliers.

Utilizing an Export Checklist is Vital

If you want to make sure your international trade business is complying correctly with export regulation, then you need to correctly classify all your technology and software along with your goods and services. Without proper classification, licensing errors or omissions, shipment delays or seizures, and potential fines and penalties will become a reality. One of the major keys to doing it the right way is utilizing an export checklist.

There are very critical questions that must be asked such as, “What is the jurisdiction for this commodity?” and “Is a license or authorization required?” An export checklist will enable you to screen your export transactions to make sure they are conforming to US export laws, regulations and best practices. As an international trading company, if you are not currently using this vital tool, it’s important to do so right away in order to not be assessed penalties.

Trade Compliance Is A Must

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, our government has greatly increased the extent of international trade scrutiny, and has also severely tightened its controls over businesses. And in order to enforce those controls. the amount of regulations has swelled—and the new ones carry more severe penalties for non-compliance. Because of this it is of the utmost importance for any business trading internationally to follow the regulations to the tee.

Today’s international exporter is required to comply with US Department of Commerce Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the US Department of State International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The exporter must first determine which agency, EAR or ITAR, their assemblies and products fall under. In order to do this, it’s vital that there is a clear understanding of the business in light of the regulations. Luckily, there are professionals who specialize in making sure that business owners legally navigate the complex and intimidating environment of trade compliance.

If you own a business that participates in international trade, you might want to think about contacting an expert who can help you create some guidelines for your own company. After all, if the worst happens and you’re ever faced with steep fines—or even imprisonment—you’ll wish you had.

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