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  June 10th, 2016 | Written by

Disregarding Trade Compliance is Risky Business

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  • 56 percent of surveyed U.S. companies are not investing in trade compliance training.
  • 28 percent of surveyed U.S. companies have been fined or warned by government agencies for trade noncompliance.
  • 73 percent of surveyed U.S. companies have a trade compliance plan, but 46 percent don't require any training.

Multinational companies are not investing in their employees’ trade compliance training, even though organizations and individuals that fail to comply with trade regulations face substantial penalties, according to survey results released from the global trade management solutions provider Amber Road and its Global Trade Academy.

The survey of 300 U.S.-based global companies across a range of revenues and industries found that 56 percent of executives at the companies surveyed are not investing in trade compliance training, even though 28 percent of those companies had already been fined or warned by government agencies for noncompliance.

And while the vast majority—73 percent—have a stated trade compliance plan, 46 percent of surveyed companies didn’t require any training for employees and 28 percent require less than 11 hours of training, leaving a gap between having a plan and the ability to act on it. Furthermore, 55 percent had not standardized their global compliance training and 33 percent do not have a budget for trade compliance training, which opens the door to noncompliance risks as a result of untrained staff.

These risks can be significant. For example, violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) can reach 20-years imprisonment and $1 million per violation. Administrative monetary penalties can reach $11,000 per violation, and $120,000 per violation in cases involving items controlled for national security reasons.

The companies that are aware of the need for trade compliance training and understand its value to their organizations are reaping significant returns.

“Our company has always focused on continuing education opportunities related to trade as we recognize the rapidly changing trade environment,” said Joan Kelly, export compliance manager of Curt Manufacturing. “As a direct result of my training at Amber Road’s Global Trade Academy, we have been able to review differences in classification for our imports and exports resulting in risk mitigation, less internal contention, and the ability to speak with confidence with our vendors and customers. The return on investment far exceeds the cost of these courses.”

Lack of awareness about the benefits of trade compliance is causing many companies to leave money on the table. Many organizations are not taking advantage of preferential trade programs, including duty drawback, free trade agreements (FTAs), and free trade zones, yet companies with trained staff that can take advantage of these programs can save millions of dollars. Currently, the United States has 14 FTAs in force with 20 countries, not including the newly signed Trans-Pacific Partnership Act.

“The benefits of globalization can only be achieved by complying with trade regulations and fully understanding how available trade programs can be implemented,” said Suzanne Richer, trade advisory practice director at Amber Road’s Global Trade Academy. “Providing trade compliance training to employees is key to an international company’s success, and that starts with raising awareness in the boardroom.”