Does Your Business Need A Trade Compliance Program?
The U.S. government requires that all companies who import goods and products into the U.S. follow regulatory requirements. These laws are meant to protect U.S. citizens, protect national security, and collect revenue through tariffs.
As an importer, it is your responsibility to show diligence and care to meet the circumstances surrounding the transaction of each import. As a result, your company can be held responsible for not accurately classifying commodities that enter the border.
Violating these regulations can result in delayed shipments and even costly penalties that can hit your company’s bottom line.
If you are not sure if you have a compliance program in place, then you likely don’t have one. If you don’t have a trade compliance program in place, then you could be at risk of receiving hefty fines and other penalties that could cripple your business.
Even if you think you have an import compliance program, you should ask yourself some key questions to determine if the application is as strong as it should be:
- Do you have a designated “owner” of the import compliance program? Is someone responsible for receiving and responding to communications sent by Customs?
- How many shipments do you receive each year? How many suppliers do you engage with, and how many countries do you receive shipments from?
- Who writes your Customs bond?
- Do you provide a full description of all imported merchandise on your invoices? Is the information enough to accurately identify your products with the correct classification?
- Do you have a process to ensure that all costs and payments have been reported to Customs?
Import regulations are constantly changing so it is vital that your business has a process in place to ensure specific departments and employees are educated and abiding by rules.
What Makes A Great Import Compliance Program?
U.S. regulators have sent a clear message that all importers have to accurately classify and process all products brought into the U.S. Responsibility for classification and compliance fall on your company, so you need to have a compliance program in place!
However, trade compliance is tricky.
There are over 17,000 possible HTS classification options, and this means that your company needs dedicated resources to ensure you comply with various regulations at all levels of your business.
A well-developed trade compliance program helps protect your company’s interests, improves your ability to conduct business, and gives your employees peace of mind since they won’t be left in the dark about important business matters as it pertains to their job.
Here are a few aspects that make a strong import compliance program for your business:
- A system for internal reviews to detect possible infractions.
- Ongoing training for the different departments based on their functions and business operations.
- Implementation of formal procedures to reduce the chances that violations will occur.
- Establish a formal record-keeping system so your business can show that you have met all regulatory requirements.
- Agreement across all Executive departments and critical management that import compliance is an essential part of your company’s culture.
What makes a good Import Compliance Manual?
It’s difficult to know where you’re going if you don’t have a map to get there. That’s why, for many organizations, having an import compliance manual is a necessity. This is especially true if you’re trying to navigate the complex world of import/export regulations. A good import compliance manual:
- Is tailored to your organization, its products and services, and unique company culture.
- Will describe the steps your company takes to comply with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) requirements
- Can be a “stand-alone” document or integrated with other policies and procedures
- Is a critical document to have if you are ever audited or the subject of a “focused assessment”
Develop Your Import Trade Compliance Program Today!
At Export Solutions, we know that there is no “out of the box” compliance program that works for every company. Your business is unique, and you need a compliance program that meets the specific needs of your departments, management, and employees.
This is why our team of trade compliance experts are ready to provide your organization with a better understanding of trade compliance in all required areas of your company. Our compliance programs are designed around your needs, and we deliver training through both in-person seminars and online learning sessions.
Ready to get started? Take the first step to protect your business. Talk with our team today!