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Weighing In on Trade Compliance

The term “Trade Compliance” is much more than a fancy buzz word that makes importers and exporters sound important.  Trade Compliance is important.  In fact, it is critical to the existence and continued success of all parties engaged in International Trade.  The old adage, “importing is not a right, but a privilege”, is even truer today than yesterday as importers navigate the ever-changing laws of international trade while staying competitive in the marketplace and without interrupting business. 

It is not at all inconceivable for CBP to revoke a business’s import privileges if it is determined that such were grossly abused.  Although the majority of importers may never experience this, few can say that they have never received a monetary penalty for a compliance infraction of some sort. 

The majority of penalties are the result of errors in classification, valuation and country of origin (including the misappropriation of special tariff treatment programs for non-qualifying goods; i.e. NAFTA).   

Some importers argue that their brokers are the experts and should be held responsible by Customs.  But, far gone are the days when the importer may divert culpability away from its organization and instead toward the service provider when mistakes of fact or inadvertences occur.  Customs requires that the importer not only be educated in Customs laws governing trade, but that they exercise reasonable care and due diligence in their selection of service providers.  When a penalty resulting from a service provider’s misconstruction of the law reaches an importer’s desk, Customs will not consider as an answer:  “Broker X or Exporter Y did it” a mitigating factor.   The importer will have to answer.  


Juanita Price is an instructor for Global Training Center and is an International Trade Consultant, licensed Customs Broker and Supply Chain Security Specialist. Her career spans more than 25 years of service on all sides of the trade including importing, exporting, manufacturing, training, freight-forwarding and Customs brokerage. To learn about Juanita and his services visit: http://globaltrainingcenter.com/instructors/juanita-price

You may contact Juanita Price at JP@GlobalTrainingCenter.com