By Tom Reynolds, Export Solutions

Trade Compliance Specialists juggle many tasks to ensure their company’s exported and imported goods remain compliant. Their hard work helps uphold the organization’s reputation and ensures the global supply chain is uninterrupted by compliance issues. 

So when you start a new compliance job, you’ll have to hit the ground running to keep your compliance tasks in order. 

This may sound overwhelming for new compliance specialists, but the good news is that tools, software products, and resources are available to help streamline compliance tasks.

Let’s look at the top eight items you need for your trade compliance toolkit. 

1. RPL Screening Software Tools & Trade Compliance Management Tools

There are numerous restricted parties list (RPL) screening tools on the market today.  Some of the most popular include: 

  • Descartes Visual Compliance Restricted Party Screening is an automated tool that helps companies search denied party lists easily. They also offer trade compliance management tools that automate existing business systems to help streamline operations across the organization.
  • OCR EASE global trade management solution offers a centralized platform to handle trade compliance from end to end. With EASE, you’ll have the necessary visibility and governance to keep your program on track and moving forward.  They also offer a resource center with trade publications, eLearning opportunities, and internal management tools. These features help automate compliance processes and keep up with the ever-changing regulatory landscape.
  • Formally known as Amber Road, e2open offers global trade applications that allow compliance teams to save time and money by accessing multiple tools on a single platform.  The tool is backed by one of the world’s most comprehensive trade content databases to help you manage all aspects of global trade compliance. This information can help you perform tasks like Due Diligence Screening, Customs Filing, and Duty Management.

visualization trade compliance tools export solutions

2. Explanatory Notes from World Customs Organization

Approved by the WCO Council, the Explanatory Notes are an official interpretation of the Harmonized System. These explanatory notes help break down complex topics around the Harmonized System and provide the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. 

Each Explanatory Note provides product information, descriptions, and practical guidance to identify items. It’s an excellent resource to help new trade compliance managers get to know the System and accurately classify and identify their company’s products and services. 

world customs organization trade compliance cools export solutions

3. Annotated Copies of Regulations (ITAR, FTR) 

ITAR and FTR regulations are available online but are dense and challenging to decode, especially while determining whether you must change your compliance procedures. 

Annotated copies of these regulations are available, complete with letters, notices, and amendments. Bartlett’s offers an excellent resource for up-to-date, annotated copies and footnotes to help understand the documents. 

You’ll need to pay a yearly subscription fee and purchase multiple licenses so your compliance team can access these annotations. 

full circle compliance trade consulting tools export solutions

4. International Compliance Professionals Association (ICPA)

Industry organizations are a great way to learn new information and access resources to help your business. 

The International Compliance Professionals Association, or ICPA, has an extensive resource library with features like a daily Q&A email newsletter full of questions submitted by members with answers provided by other members. 

Members can access an answer database online when they have specific compliance questions. So the membership is well worth the access to the resources and tools they provide. 

icpa trade compliance tools export solutions

5.  Global Reach Census Blog

Trade compliance blogs are a great way to stay updated on the latest developments and changes in the industry. These resources often provide insights from industry experts, so you and your team can learn from your peers and better understand current trends in the industry.

Global Reach keeps you up to date on international trade data. They also explain regulations in layperson’s terms, which will help save you time decoding confusing language.

census trade compliance tools export solutions


If you’re a trade compliance specialist involved in import and export activities, you need the best tools to ensure compliance with regulations. One such tool is CROSS – a comprehensive database of CBP rulings. You can use it to retrieve rulings based on simple or complex search criteria using keywords and Boolean operators.

CROSS also allows you to cross-reference rulings from the initial search result set with their modified, revoked, or referenced counterparts. The rulings collections are categorized into two sections – Headquarters and New York – and cover the period from 1989 to the present. You can search each collection individually or collectively.

cross trade consulting tools export solutions

7. Consolidated Screening List

The Consolidated Screening List (CSL) is a list maintained by the US government that outlines restrictions on exports, reexports, or transfers of certain items for specific parties.

To access the CSL, you have a few options. You can utilize the CSL search engine, download CSL files, or use the CSL Application Programming Interface (API). These tools consolidate multiple export screening lists from various government departments such as Commerce, State, and Treasury. Using the CSL, you can ensure you follow all the necessary regulations when importing or exporting goods.

csl search tool trade compliance export solutions

8. Decision Tree Tools (BIS)

Decision Tree Tools are an essential resource for trade compliance specialists who need to navigate the complex world of export controls. The tools are provided by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) within the US Department of Commerce and are designed to assist exporters in determining whether their products require a license from the US government before being exported.

The Decision Tree Tools are based on a series of questions that guide users through a step-by-step process of analyzing their products to determine whether they are subject to export controls. The questions cover a range of factors, such as the end-use of the product, the destination country, and the parties involved in the transaction.

bis trade consulting tools export solutions

Save Time & Money With The Best Tools & Software

There you have it: the top software and resources you need to keep your compliance toolkit stocked. Although some of these tools cost money, meaning your company must expand its budget to accommodate, they can save you valuable time and help avoid costly fines and penalties for your organization.

The best way to access all of these or similar tools is to outsource trade compliance to a team of experts. For the cost of securing an external compliance team, you’ll not only gain access to a team of seasoned compliance gurus but also their toolkit of fantastic resources. 

Export Solutions has a toolkit filled with the best compliance software and resources available. Additionally, these tools are wielded by our compliance experts, who have extensive experience handling trade compliance issues and training. 

Contact us today for a no-charge consultation on how our managed services, training, and consulting can offer real-world solutions and help positively impact your organization’s compliance.

Trade Compliance F.A.Q.

What are some common compliance myths?
Some common compliance myths are blanket licenses, one-stop compliance, and perfect compliance programs.
What is the goal of trade compliance?
Trade compliance ensures that all import/export activities comply with U.S. and international trade laws, agreements, and sanctions.
What are voluntary disclosures?
Voluntary disclosures are made by companies to a federal agency that an export violation has or may have occurred.

Tom Reynolds is the President of Export Solutions, a consultancy firm which specializes in helping companies with import/export compliance.