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GEODIS in Americas Joins Diverse Group of Globally Recognized Companies Prioritizing Ethical Leadership and Corporate Integrity

GEODIS in Americas Joins Diverse Group of Globally Recognized Companies Prioritizing Ethical Leadership and Corporate Integrity

GEODIS in Americas announced it has joined Ethisphere’s Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) to bolster its current commitment to maintaining an industry-leading standard of corporate integrity in today’s business ecosystem. BELA is a globally recognized organization featuring more than 375 members from leading companies who collaborate together to share best practices in governance, risk management, compliance and ethics.

“At GEODIS, we have a longstanding commitment to ethical leadership and corporate integrity through a comprehensive program implemented across all lines of business with the goal of creating a better tomorrow for our teammates, clients and world,” said Marjorie Rossell Ortega, Ethics and Compliance Senior Director for the Americas Region at GEODIS. “By joining BELA, we will have the opportunity to take specific aspects of our existing program to the next level as we benefit from an environment of shared collaboration, learning and growth alongside other experts in the fields of ethics and compliance.”

Members receive enterprise-wide access to the BELA Member hub, a premier repository of resources featuring examples of work, presentations and research from select BELA companies, that is intended to cultivate more idea exchange and inspiration for companies to continuously improve in the area of ethics and compliance. BELA members also have the ability to benchmark their ethics and compliance program and practices to those of the World’s Most Ethical Companies and participate in year-round opportunities to network and share best practices at roundtables, webinars, and in-person and virtual events.

“The accelerated growth of BELA sends a strong message to the business community that there is a deep need for data, shared insights and collective intelligence that can support a diverse set of leaders charged with implementing effective integrity programs,” said Kevin McCormack, Executive Vice President and Executive Director for BELA. “BELA aligns so well with these pursuits that it often becomes part of the working culture.”

The 375+ BELA member companies represent over 60 industries headquartered in 15 different countries. It has become a pivotal platform of connected leadership dedicated to progressing company standards and practices across global and regional business ecosystems. BELA members collaborate to define best practices on a range of topics of importance to ethics and compliance leaders—from environmental, social and governance (ESG) to data analytics, equity, behavioral science in training and other issues—in working groups and at the Global Ethics Summit, the ESG Forum and additional events in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and other regions around the world.

To learn more about GEODIS, visit



GEODIS is a top-rated, global supply chain operator recognized for its commitment to helping clients overcome their logistical constraints. GEODIS’ growth-focused offerings (Supply Chain Optimization, Freight Forwarding, Contract Logistics, Distribution & Express, and Road Transport), coupled with the company’s truly global reach thanks to a global network spanning nearly 170 countries, is reflected by its top business rankings: no. 1 in France and no. 7 worldwide. In 2021, GEODIS employed over 46,000 people globally and generated €10.9 billion in revenue.

Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) –

Founded by Ethisphere, the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) is a globally recognized organization of leading companies collaborating together to share best practices in governance, risk management, compliance and ethics. BELA’s membership has since grown to a large community of companies who recognize the inherent value of promoting ethical leadership and world-class compliance culture.

Ethisphere –

Ethisphere® is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies® recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with Ethisphere Magazine. Ethisphere also helps to advance business performance through data-driven assessments, benchmarking and guidance.


Calculating the True Value of a WMS: Top Cost Savings for Manufacturing Companies

When manufacturing companies consider the digitization of their supply chain, many opt to delay their project because of the investments required to acquire and implement new technology solutions. In so doing, however, they deprive themselves of their operational and financial benefits.   

SaaS solutions like the SOLOCHAIN WMS have made efficient technology solutions far more affordable than ever before. Nevertheless, a WMS still remains a significant investment to smaller manufacturing companies. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a WMS or ERP’s TOC is not indicative of the system’s actual value – at least, not in and of itself.

Any investment in supply chain infrastructure must be evaluated by relating the TOC to the ROI an operator stands to achieve. It is therefore essential that operators rigorously understand the kinds of savings and gains a given technology solution can yield to make an informed decision regarding its value.

In this paper, we look at five ways manufacturing companies achieve tangible and intangible savings and gains thanks to the SOLOCHAIN WMS.

1. Roasting Coffee to Customers Satisfaction, for Less

A coffee roasting, packaging, and distribution company is putting out a great product and garnering the attention of major players the likes of Walmart, Target, and Menards. To benefit from these new revenue streams, the manufacturer must comply with distinct customer requirements, from packaging to labeling to shipping.

With the SOLOCHAIN WMS integrated with its ERP system, the manufacturer can rely on automated compliance processes and ensure that all shipments meet their customers’ requirements. At all stages of the production and distribution cycle, employees are informed of the customer’s requirements through intuitive interfaces on handheld devices or computer stations.

Thanks to these efficiency gains, the manufacturer is able to achieve a throughput that meets the increased demand instead of having to invest in new real estate, new material handling equipment, and a larger labor force.

2. Manufacturing Cosmetics in an Attractive Work Environment

Some savings generated by the SOLOCHAIN WMS are easily quantified. Others are more intangible, but nevertheless very real.

Most manufacturers these days have trouble attracting and retaining qualified warehouse workers. For a cosmetics manufacturer, this was true before the pandemic hit and it has become a real thorn in their foot today. Labor shortages are now affecting manufacturing and distribution activities to the point where they cannot meet productivity targets. Delays in shipments are having an impact on service levels. Meanwhile, a high turnover rate leads to significant training fees and further operational penalties.

The SOLOCHAIN WMS supports workflows from production processes all the way to shipping. Thanks to clear instructions on intuitive interfaces, activities in the warehouse are more efficient and the cosmetics maker can meet its productivity targets with fewer employees.

Implementing the WMS on handheld devices similar to iPhones and Android platforms, the younger generation of workers find their work environment much more pleasant. This helps the cosmetic maker achieve a higher retention rate, which in turn reduces the training budgets.

By relying on a smaller workforce and retaining more of its employees thanks to an improved work environment, the company can meet its productivity targets and ensure customer satisfaction while saving on labor costs.

3. A Production Flow That Never Drops the Ball

The benefits of traceability might be more obvious in the Food & Beverage industry, but the truth is that all manufacturers stand to make important savings by keeping track of the items that go into making what they produce.

Through SOLOCHAIN’s traceability and automated order cycles capabilities, a baseball equipment manufacturer can keep an eye on quantities produced as well as every item consumed in the process. Management can configure the WMS so that it automatically generates POs to procure items once a certain quantity threshold is reached. In that way, SOLOCHAIN ensures that production is never halted because items are missing on the shelves.

With management in charge of determining thresholds, the system also bypasses the risk of human errors, avoiding that too many, or to few items are ordered. This leads to an optimal use of the warehouse’s storage capacity, which saves the baseball equipment manufacturer from having to make unnecessary investments in their physical infrastructure.

4. Your Counts

Weekly inventory cycle counts force a manufacturer of audio-visual equipment to close areas in the warehouse. This slows down productivity and cuts into the manufacturer’s margins. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN’s inventory management capabilities, the company can save on the costs of long weekly cycle counts.

Once implemented on handheld scanning devices, SOLOCHAIN enables the manufacturer to keep track, in real time, of the quantity and location of every item in the warehouse. While they perform cycle counts, employees are continuously supported in their activities with clear instructions, which drastically cuts down on the time required to complete their tasks.

Today, the manufacturer is attaining inventory accuracy levels of 99.6% and working on eliminating weekly shutdown periods altogether. Thanks to SOLOCHAIN’s support, annual counts can be performed in a single weekend, ensuring that their production of a5. Thinking Ahead: Intelligent Manufacturing  audio-visual equipment never misses a beat.

A food processing facility specialises in the production of organic packaged meals that are delivered daily to various organic grocers in the region. Their products are gaining in popularity and demand is on the rise. The number and complexity of customer orders are quickly overwhelming their pen & paper fulfilment processes. The resulting production and shipping errors are now eating at the manufacturer’s profits and affecting customer satisfaction levels.

The SOLOCHAIN WMS facilitates Just-In-Time Delivery through automated full cycle order management. Thanks to the system’s support, order fulfillment at the food service manufacturer is now virtually errorless. Clients are satisfied and demand is on the rise again. Meanwhile, lesser returns lead to lesser losses, which in turn saves the organic meal maker from welting margins.

About Generix Group

Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more. 


Xinjiang US Import Sanctions Looming Over Global Supply Chains

On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (the “UFLPA”), which passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. With the UFLPA, the US has targeted imports of goods sourced from or produced in the Xinjiang region of China in an effort to address allegations of forced labor. Until now, similar orders had focused only on certain products – computer parts, cotton and cotton products, silica-based products, apparel, and hair products – from Xinjiang or from certain Xinjiang producers. The new measures will affect a wide range of industries and supply chains around the world. Companies are obliged to apply heightened diligence and transparency requirements in Chinese-based supply chains, and anticipate extended shipment delays for US imports and possible shifts in global apparel, food, solar, electronics, and automotive sectors, among others.


The UFLPA was a bipartisan effort following on the heels of congressional action dating to 2019 in reaction to alleged human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It was enacted as part of a whole-of-government effort to combat alleged forced labor abuses in Xinjiang:

-US Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) has issued Withhold Release Orders (“WROs”) applying to cotton, tomato, apparel, hair products, silica-based products, and computer parts from Xinjiang.

-The Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) of the Department of Commerce added more than 50 Chinese entities on the Entity List.

-The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the US Department of the Treasury designated more than a dozen persons on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”) under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

-The US Department of State imposed visa restrictions against China Communist Party officials “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the unjust detention or abuse of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang” as well as their family members.[1]

The UFLPA calls for a ban on the import of “all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, or by persons working with the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government for purposes of the ‘poverty alleviation’ program or the ‘pairing-assistance’ program.” These programs, per the UFLPA, subsidize the establishment and operation of manufacturing facilities in the Xinjiang Region.

In fact, CBP’s authority to withhold release of imports suspected of involving forced labor already has existed for almost 100 years under Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibits importing into the US any product that was “mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor, including forced or indentured child labor.” CBP enforces the prohibition through the issuance of WROs.

CBP first began issuing WROs relating to Xinjiang in 2016. Most recently, in 2020 and 2021, CBP issued a series of WROs. Some apply to listed companies and their subsidiaries while others apply to the entire Xinjiang region:

In one of its first major actions under the Biden Administration, on June 24, 2021, CBP issued a WRO instructing ports of entry to detain shipments containing “silica-based materials” that are “derived from or produced using” products manufactured by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. (“Hoshine”). Hoshine is one of the largest global producers of metallurgical-grade silicon, the raw material needed to produce solar-grade polysilicon that is used to create solar cells. In addition, BIS added Hoshine and four other Chinese companies to the “Entity List,” banning exports, re-exports, or transfers of US goods and technology to the listed entities. When the new order under the UFLPA goes into effect, the 2021 restrictions will be viewed merely as a preview to a much more pervasive region-wide and not sector-specific import ban that will reverberate through a wider variety of supply chains.

The US government has identified the following industries as involving heightened risk due to potential forced labor in Xinjiang:

Where there is suspicion that the goods contain materials originating in Xinjiang, these industries’ products will likely be held at customs as banned from imports into the US on suspicion of being sourced with forced labor.

What does the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act do?

Pursuant to the UFLPA, 180 days after enactment of the Act, on June 21, 2022, CBP will apply a “rebuttable presumption” that applies to any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Region or produced by the entities listed by the Task Force. This “rebuttable presumption” will apply except when the CBP determines that the importer has:

(a) fully complied with the guidance described in the China forced labor strategy and any regulations issued to implement that guidance;

(b) completely and substantively responded to all inquiries for information submitted by the CBP to ascertain whether the goods were mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor; and

(c) shown, by clear and convincing evidence, that the good, ware, article, or merchandise was not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.

CBP advises that the importer may be required to submit time cards, wage payment receipts, and daily process reports that demonstrate the employment status of the employees in order to meet the burden of proving the lack of forced labor. In fact, textile companies whose cargoes got held up at US ports pursuant to Section 307 have needed to prove such evidence to CBP to get the goods released.

Finally, the UFLPA calls for increased enforcement of WROs. Within 30 days of making its determination, CBP will submit a public report to congressional committees identifying the good and evidence it has considered. The UFLPA provides for the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (the “Task Force”), in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and Director of National Intelligence, to develop a strategy for supporting enforcement of CBP WROs.

What does this mean for companies?

The UFLPA is distinguished from a CBP WRO, which subjects to detention at US ports of entry products produced by listed entities or, in many cases, any products derived from or incorporating such products because the UFLPA’s rebuttable presumption will subject any and all goods sourced from or produced in XUAR to the import ban. The release process under the UFLPA will be what it has been for WROs.

To release the goods from detention, the importer must either re-export them from the US or provide evidence demonstrating that the goods were not manufactured with forced labor. In practice, goods subject to a CBP WRO are banned from entering the US until and unless the importer can convince CBP that it should not be withheld.

For example, in January 2021, CBP stopped a UNIQLO shipment of men’s cotton shirts that had arrived at the Port of Los Angeles / Long Beach pursuant to the XPCC cotton WRO. UNIQLO was required to provide various detailed records of the production chain (including timecards, salary records, and transportation records) from the raw cotton grower to the bulk trader to the yarn maker to the finished product. While UNIQLO argued that the shirts were not produced by XPCC, the burden is on the importer to prove the negative; even if UNIQLO eventually succeeds in convincing CBP, the shipment will have been delayed for months. Thus, the new WRO will also trigger shifting of supply chains by companies that do not want to take that risk.

In addition to customs consequences, a variety of measures may be applied to Xinjiang-affiliated entities. For example, an Entity List designation prohibits exports and reexports of all US goods, software and technology to those entities absent a license from BIS. Even more, those listed on the SDN List are prohibited from dealing, directly or indirectly, with US persons and are likely blocked from the global financial system altogether.

1. Shifting of Supply chains

When the rebuttable presumption under the UFLPA becomes effective on June 21, 2022, all goods sourced from or produced in XUAR – including any goods incorporating or derived from such goods in any amount – will essentially be banned from entering the US pending a favorable determination by Customs.  In other words, there is no de minimis requirement for the import ban. Therefore, companies should expect and plan for global supply chain pricing and sourcing issues.

For instance, as 40-45 percent of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon comes from Xinjiang, the US solar projects industry will start to suffer even greater supply chain headaches. Currently, the WRO only applies to silica-based materials if the silicon was produced by Hoshine. Under the rebuttable presumption, it will extend to any products containing either silicon or polysilicon produced in China. This is expected to impact the supply and pricing of polysilicon worldwide. China produces more than 65% of the world’s silicon and around 89% of the world’s polysilicon. Most of the polysilicon production is believed to be outside of Xinjiang. Since Xinjiang is not a transparent place at present, it is hard to say exactly how much. US importers will likely encounter third-country suppliers who are reluctant to dig as deeply as the UFLPA demands.

In order to avoid import delays, component and product manufacturers in third countries (for example, Germany and South Korea) will seek to shift their supply chains to products that are not sourced from or produced in XUAR, if possible. Those efforts are beginning now in anticipation of the June effective date.

2. Heightened Supply Chain Transparency and Recordkeeping Obligations in Affected Sectors

Companies – especially those in industries listed above as identified by the US government to be higher risk – need to establish heightened supply chain transparency obligations. Supply chain transparency will help companies in the uphill battle of meeting the burden to prove the absence of forced labor. Up to now, transparency in Chinese in-country supply chain has been lacking, which makes it difficult to forecast the future impacts of the UFLPA. Without such transparency, it will be nearly impossible for companies to convince the CBP, “by clear and convincing evidence, that the good, ware, article, or merchandise was not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.”

Transparency and recordkeeping will go hand-in-hand, and both will be necessary to navigate the UFLPA waters. In addition to requiring transparency on all levels of the supply chain, companies also need to keep records of the entire supply chain to be able to quickly and easily provide such records to CBP as evidence of lack of forced labor, if and when necessary.

3. Reputational and Banking risks

Aside from US sanctions enforcement risks, reliance on Xinjiang suppliers in any aspect of a supply chain presents significant dual-sided reputational risks. For example, due to reputational concerns, major brands, such as Calvin Klein, Gap, H&M, IKEA, Patagonia, and Tommy Hilfiger, stopped purchasing or committed to stop purchasing cotton sourced from Xinjiang.

There is also reportedly backlash from Chinese authorities and consumers. Brands that issued statements against sourcing cotton from Xinjiang, such as Burberry, thereafter faced a public backlash from Chinese consumers. Intel issued an apology to its Chinese customers after facing backlash for telling its suppliers that it would not be using forced labor or goods sourced from XUAR.

Banks in particular are highly attuned to OFAC primary and secondary sanctions-enforcement risks, as well as the above-mentioned reputational risks. In view of the 9- and 10-figure sanctions-related settlements, even non-US financial institutions are generally conservative in their sanctions compliance and risk appetite. Sanctions pose an existential risk to some banks that rely on access to US correspondent banking accounts in order to deal in US dollars. Thus, aside from the CBP order, banks and companies continuing to engage in transactions directly or indirectly with sanctioned Chinese producers risk having their transactions rejected or blocked by the US and global financial systems.


Vedia Biton Eidelman is an associate in Eversheds Sutherland’s International Trade Practice. She advises clients on a wide range of regulatory matters, including sanctions (OFAC) and antiboycott matters; antidumping, countervailing duty and safeguard actions before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and the US Department of Commerce (DOC); export controls (ITAR and EAR); national security controls on investment in US entities (CFIUS); trade policy issues such as free trade agreement negotiations; customs matters; and transactional due diligence.

[1]  M. Pompeo, “The United States Imposes Sanctions and Visa Restrictions in Response to the Ongoing Human Rights Violations and Abuses in Xinjiang,” (July 9, 2020),

forced labor

DHS Requests Comments to Inform Implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued a request for comments to assist the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (“FLETF”) with implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (“UFLPA”). The UFLPA, signed by President Biden on December 23, 2021, creates a rebuttable presumption that goods manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Xinjiang”) or produced by an entity on a number of lists to be produced, will be denied entry into the U.S. under section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307). The UFLPA was passed in response to the alleged use of forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans, and other persecuted groups in China. Readers can learn more about the UFLPA and the rebuttable presumption, which goes into effect on June 21, 2022, in our previous post following the UFLPA’s enactment.

While the UFLPA will almost certainly result in additional withhold release orders (“WROs”) on goods manufactured wholly or in part by entities in China, DHS’ request for comments does not provide the public with new details about investigations and enforcement practices or procedures that DHS has utilized in the Xinjiang-related WROs issued on certain silica-based products as well as certain cotton and tomato products. Instead, the request for comments poses eighteen (18) open-ended questions.

U.S. importers potentially affected by WROs are encouraged to submit comments to ensure a balanced and fully accurate record.  Some questions of particular importance include:

-What due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures can importers leverage to ensure that they do not import any goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor from the People’s Republic of China, especially from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region?

-What type, nature, and extent of evidence can companies provide to reasonably demonstrate that goods originating in the People’s Republic of China were not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region?

-To what extent is there a need for a common set of supply chain traceability and verification standards, through a widely endorsed protocol, and what current government or private sector infrastructure exists to support such a protocol?

-What measures can be taken to trace the origin of goods, offer greater supply chain transparency, and identify third-country supply chain routes for goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part with forced labor in the People’s Republic of China?

Comments are due on March 10, 2022 at 11:59 PM. Husch Blackwell will continue to monitor UFLPA developments including the anticipated reports, lists, and implementing regulations.


Tony Busch is an attorney in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington, D.C. office and is a member of the firm’s International Trade & Supply Chain practice team.

Robert Stang is a Washington, D.C.-based partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell LLP. He leads the firm’s Customs group.


Demystifying Foreign-Trade Zones: Tackling 3 Myths to Leverage FTZs in 2022

Bigfoot, the Boogie Man, the Loch Ness Monster, and… Foreign-Trade Zones? Despite the overwhelming advantages offered by U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZs), there are still many misconceptions — and sometimes a little fear — surrounding the program. Much like Bigfoot, the reality of FTZs is far less scary.

To better understand FTZs, let’s get back to the basics. Foreign-trade zones, also referred to internationally as “free-trade zones” (and formerly named “free ports”), are areas where goods may be received, packaged, manipulated, manufactured, processed, and re-exported without the intervention of the customs authorities. These zones are designated sites authorized by the U.S. FTZ Board. A site that has been granted zone status must be approved for FTZ activation by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to receive FTZ benefits. While FTZs are considered to be outside CBP territory, foreign-trade zones still fall under the supervision of CBP.

These guidelines and procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place prior to formal customs entry. As a result, businesses — typically manufacturers and distributors — that leverage these zones drastically reduce or eliminate duty costs, encourage U.S. trade, and improve supply chain productivity.

FTZs have been in existence since 1934, and despite the fact that the program offers distribution and manufacturing companies tremendous reductions in duties, customs fees, and even logistics costs, FTZs still seem to be a misunderstood or even unrecognized trade program. How prevalent are FTZs in the U.S.? Who uses them? Are they still a viable solution?

According to the 2020 FTZ Report to the U.S. Congress, there were 195 active FTZs across all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and 3,400 companies taking part in the program. Last year also saw $625 billion in shipments made through FTZs, despite the challenges the global supply chain faced in 2020.

It’s understandable for CSCOs and business leaders to have concerns when introducing a new trade program. Some companies may be dragging their feet due to the current strain on the supply chain, and others may believe common FTZ misconceptions. However, companies that are taking advantage of FTZs are realizing impressive savings, and in many cases, obtaining relief from a number of supply chain issues. It’s time to debunk some common myths to demystify FTZs, explore the benefits of the program, and learn how to leverage FTZs in an increasingly competitive world. Let’s get started.

Myth #1: “My entire company and supply chain will be disrupted if I start using an FTZ.”

Over the past 20 years, the FTZ program has changed significantly. These changes make it far easier to establish and operate an FTZ.  In fact, if an FTZ is implemented by a knowledgeable advisor, there should be little change to a company’s daily processes and procedures, including logistics.

With the right FTZ inventory and record-keeping system in place, the only changes a company will notice will be placed on the designed FTZ administrator. Today’s FTZ solution providers establish and manage the entire FTZ program and its inventory. Therefore, there is also no longer a need to physically separate foreign and domestic inventory between FTZ and non-FTZ areas within the facility.

Essentially, your supply chain will look and operate the same tomorrow in a foreign-trade zone as it did yesterday, with two notable exceptions. Firstly, the FTZ program can speed up your supply chain so that you receive foreign shipments quicker; and secondly, after implementing an FTZ, you will have access to all the benefits — which brings us to myth #2.

Myth #2: “Zones only benefit companies that have long inventory turns, or re-export. Our company turns inventory quickly and has limited exports, so the FTZ program will not benefit us.”

It is well-known that FTZs defer duty payment on merchandise brought into a zone and that duties are paid only when the goods enter into U.S. commerce. This holds a lot of value and can lead to additional cash flow, but that isn’t the only benefit to using an FTZ. Other benefits include:

Relief from inverted tariffs: There are many cases where a component or raw material is subject to a higher duty rate than the finished product. An FTZ allows the manufacturer to pay duty at the manufactured item rate, rather than the higher component rate. This helps U.S.-based producers serve the domestic market on a level playing field versus importers of the same finished product.

Duty exemption from re-exports: This one is pretty simple and a huge advantage for FTZ users: there are no duties on or quota charges on re-exports. Therefore, if you were to export goods to another country, they would generally be exempt from duties. Generally, with an FTZ, the only time you have to pay is when the item enters U.S. markets.

Savings with weekly entries: Under standard importing procedures, companies have to pay a Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) for every Customs entry. As of October 1st, 2021, the MPF is capped at a maximum of $538.40 per entry. Under Weekly Entry procedures, zone users can group all imports within a week into a single customs entry and pay a single MPF. This can yield substantial cost savings and reduce processing time and labor. For instance, a company that has 2,500 Customs entries a year would pay $1,346,000, assuming each entry hit the cap. If the company utilized Weekly Entries, 2,400 entries would be reduced to only 52. This offers savings of $1,318,003 just on MPFs.

No duty on waste, scrap, and yield loss: Without a zone, an importer pays the Customs duty owed as material is brought into the U.S. In a zone, no duty is paid on irrecoverable yield loss, or merchandise that is scrapped or destroyed. This can lead to tremendous benefits with even a low scrap rate. There are also advantages for recoverable scrap that can be sold or recycled, as the most common duty rate for scrap sold into the U.S is zero.

The ability to fix damaged or non-conforming items: Savings can be further increased because when an item that is considered “damaged” or “non-conforming” is tested and repaired, no duties are owed. Items can even be altered, repackaged, or relabeled to meet U.S. requirements with no extra cost.

State and local benefits: Foreign and domestic goods held for export are exempt from state and local inventory taxes. In addition, FTZ status may also make a site eligible for state and local benefits that are unrelated to the FTZ Act.

Free zone-to-zone movement: More savings are to be had when transferring goods from one FTZ to another. In this scenario, regardless of the number of shipments you make, you are not subject to duty on the goods. A beneficial use of this would be the duty-free transport of raw materials and components, eliminating any fees until the finished product is officially shipped into the U.S. market.

These benefits can add up to millions of dollars in cost savings and offer a strong competitive advantage for U.S. manufacturers and distributors. What’s keeping companies from taking advantage of these benefits? Here we find myth #3.

Myth #3: “The process is too overwhelming.”

The process to implement an FTZ can seem overwhelming, but with the right advisor and software, implementing a zone comes down to four easy steps:

Step 1: Get an in-depth analysis. Contact a trusted provider of FTZ solutions and schedule a call to discuss your goals and challenges; request a complementary evaluation and cost/benefit analysis with a service provider (like this one). This will ensure you understand the net savings the FTZ program can offer your company.

Step 2: Choose an FTZ solution provider. Your selected partner should assist your facility to receive FTZ designation. If you are a manufacturer or producer, your partner will assist in securing FTZ production authority. In addition, they will help activate your facility with CBP.

Step 3: Implement the software. Probably the most important step in maximizing net FTZ benefits, is choosing the right FTZ inventory control solution. A comprehensive software solution will ensure you compliantly maximize FTZ savings while minimizing administration costs.

Step 4: Reap the benefits. It’s that simple.

Why now?

The supply chain and e-commerce underwent rapid transformation in the past several years due to COVID-19, Brexit, newly imposed tariffs, and other challenges. As consumer behavior evolves, the global e-commerce market is expected to grow by $1 trillion by 2025, too. These trends are causing global manufacturers to rethink the “just in time” lean manufacturing strategy into a “just in case” model. FTZs are the perfect solution, allowing them to store more inventory in the zone without incurring inventory costs and duty over time.

Debunking common FTZ myths helps unmask the many benefits they bring for manufacturers and distributors. As e-commerce grows and the world regains control of the supply chain, now is the time to get ahead and take advantage of them.

Corey Rhodes is the President of QAD Precision


Hughes Hubbard Releases 2022 FCPA Alert

Hughes Hubbard & Reed today released its 2022 FCPA Alert, a comprehensive review of the global cases, trends and enforcement actions that impacted anti-corruption law, multinational corporations and individuals to date this calendar year. For the 13th consecutive year, the highly respected and anticipated annual FCPA Alert highlights the most important trends and lessons for in-house counsel and compliance professionals.

The FCPA Alert’s contributors, led by Laura N. Perkins and Kevin T. Abikoff, co-chairs of Hughes Hubbard’s Anti-Corruption & Internal Investigations practice group, expect enforcement to surge – due in part to the Biden Administration’s recent memorandum on combatting corruption. Their analysis of recent enforcement actions suggests that going forward:

-The Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission will be cooperating with an expansive number of domestic agencies and divisions to conduct complex bribery investigations, as well as a growing number of non-US enforcement agencies.

-Companies that have resolved FCPA matters through NPAs, DPAs or plea agreements should expect increased scrutiny and attention to compliance with ongoing obligations under such agreements.

-While commodities traders, in particular, can expect greater scrutiny, enforcement will continue in a diverse array of traditional and non-traditional industries and in high-risk jurisdictions, with special emphasis on the independence and authority of corporate compliance functions and complete and timely cooperation with enforcement agencies.

The 153-page Alert provides detailed descriptions of key matters from 2020 and 2021 that support these and other key takeaways.

“As enforcement leadership has evolved this year under a new administration in Washington, we’ve witnessed renewed vigor in the investigation and prosecution of bribery and corruption in the United States and abroad,” said Abikoff. “As the regulators continue to leverage greater resources and reach into new industries, it is vital that companies and compliance departments remain vigilant in enforcing their compliance programs.”

The Alert also contains a deep dive into anti-bribery enforcement and developments in France, Brazil, United Kingdom, China, Mexico, and by multilateral development banks. For the first time, the Alert includes a discussion of the rapidly developing intersection between transnational corruption issues and international arbitration. This discussion highlights examples of how tribunals and courts have treated corruption claims in arbitration in recent years and provides insight into key questions raised by bringing claims in arbitration proceedings, regarding the burden of proof, the identification and treatment of red flags, and the impact of government investigations.

“An effective compliance program is more than words on paper,” said Perkins, a former supervisor in the DOJ’s FCPA Unit. “Prosecutors will pursue companies that have established but ineffective programs in place. It’s critical that companies adequately staff and empower their compliance departments, conduct due diligence, address red flags and allegations, and follow-though on their obligations.  Every year, our analysis cites example after example of the downsides to a lack of vigilance. Especially given the expected surge in enforcement now is not the time to take your eye off the ball.”

The complete report is available for download here.


About the Anti-Corruption & Investigations Practice Group

Hughes Hubbard’s Anti-Corruption & Internal Investigations Practice Group handles the full range of matters across the anti-corruption and compliance spectrum. It has conducted investigations in more than 90 countries involving the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws, resolved investigations and won landmark decisions for clients before U.S. and international authorities, and has served as compliance monitors approved by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the United Nations.

Lawyers in the group include former senior government enforcement officials, corporate compliance counsel, foreign-trained attorneys and certified public accountants located in the United States and France. The group has many longstanding relationships with leading local firms in countries across the world with which it works closely on cross-border matters, including a strategic cooperation agreement with leading Brazilian anti-corruption firm Saud Advogados.

About Hughes Hubbard

Hughes Hubbard & Reed is a New York City-based international law firm that offers clients results-focused legal services and a collaborative approach across a broad range of practices. Hughes Hubbard was founded in 1888 by the renowned jurist and statesman Charles Evans Hughes. The firm is a leader in promoting diversity and is recognized for its pro bono achievements. For more information, visit


QAD Precision Launches Complimentary Foreign-Trade Zone Cost/Benefit Analysis

QAD Precision, an industry-leading provider of global trade and transportation execution solutions, today announced a complimentary Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) Cost/Benefit Analysis. This analysis calculates the cost savings manufacturers and distributors could realize by leveraging the Foreign-Trade Zones program. QAD Precision is a division of QAD Inc.

Under the US Foreign-Trade Zones program, goods imported into an FTZ are considered to be outside the US commerce and customs territory. As a result, no duties are paid on imports until such time as the goods enter US commerce. Should goods be exported from the FTZ, no import duties are paid. 

“Companies that establish and operate an FTZ must adhere to significant compliance requirements around inventory controls. With our free FTZ Cost/Benefit Analysis, organizations can discover the value FTZ can bring to their bottom line,” said Corey Rhodes, President of QAD Precision.

QAD Precision Foreign-Trade Zone was developed in collaboration with senior consultants and FTZ practitioners to create a user-friendly and configurable  FTZ Inventory Control and Recordkeeping System (ICRS). QAD Precision FTZ ensures compliance with FTZ regulations while lowering FTZ administration costs.

“Most companies considering an FTZ do so in order to defer import duties or eliminate the need for duty drawback. However, the Cost/Benefit Analysis will help uncover other opportunities for cost savings, such as relief from inverted tariffs and reduced Merchandise Processing fees and brokerage fees,” added Mr. Rhodes. “With QAD Precision FTZ, companies can slash import costs while accelerating supply chain velocity.”

To book a complimentary FTZ Cost/Benefit Analysis, please schedule a consultation online or contact an FTZ expert at +1 251-445-1363 or +1 251-445-1385.


About QAD Precision – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution

QAD Precision, a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global trade compliance, and multi carrier transportation execution solutions from a single, integrated platform. An ISO-certified company, QAD Precision assists companies to streamline their import, export and transportation operations, optimize deliveries, and increase logistics ROI. QAD Precision’s scalable and extensible solution easily integrates with existing ERP and WMS solutions. Industry leaders in every region of the world rely on QAD Precision’s global support centers to leverage thousands of carrier services and manage millions of global trade and shipping transactions every day. For more information about QAD Precision, visit

About QAD – Enabling the Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprise

QAD Inc. is a leading provider of next-generation manufacturing and supply chain solutions in the cloud. Global manufacturers face ever-increasing disruption caused by technology-driven innovation and changing consumer preferences. In order to survive and thrive, manufacturers must be able to innovate and change business models at unprecedented rates of speed. QAD calls these companies Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprises. QAD solutions help customers in the automotive, life sciences, consumer products, food and beverage, high tech and industrial manufacturing industries rapidly adapt to change and innovate for competitive advantage.

Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, QAD has 30 offices globally. Over 2,000 manufacturing companies have deployed QAD solutions including enterprise resource planning (ERP), demand and supply chain planning (DSCP), global trade and transportation execution (GTTE) and quality management system (QMS) to become an Adaptive Manufacturing Enterprise. To learn more, visit or call +1 805-566-6100. Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

“QAD” is a registered trademark of QAD Inc. All other products or company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.


How to Strengthen Trade and Labor Compliance with Technology Amid Increasing Customs Enforcement

Supply chain constraints, both expected and unexpected, continue to disrupt global trade and appear to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. As the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic and constraints in both materials and labor are creating unprecedented supply chain challenges, recent government actions are also generating often unexpected hurdles in the “last mile” such as unexpected delays and merchandise detentions.

The U.S., [1] Australia[2] and Germany[3] have recently proposed or enacted regulations or legislation aimed at ensuring companies take affirmative steps to prevent and eliminate forced labor in both their direct and indirect supply chains. As supply chains have grown more complex with additional tiers, the risk of exposure to potential human rights issues has grown as well. Importers subject to withhold release orders (WROs) often lack complete visibility into their full supply chain and regulators might not specify where their forced labor suspicions lie. This heightened risk is also driven, in part, by geopolitical tensions and global focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives. A forced labor investigation may originate internally within the organization wanting to ensure a compliant supply chain, through non-governmental organization (NGO) reporting, or from a regulatory inquiry.

In the U.S., if Customs and Border Protection (CBP) receives information that “reasonably indicates” merchandise intended for importation contains any components that are the result of forced labor, the agency may detain the suspected merchandise at the port of entry under the authority of a WRO. While the specter of forced labor is a legitimate threat, the lack of a transparent process and ongoing trade disputes have led to concerns that WROs could be also used as political tools.

To combat allegations of the use of forced labor with regards to U.S. imported merchandise, the burden of proof is on the importer. If the importer can affirmatively demonstrate that the goods were not produced with forced labor, CBP may deem the merchandise admissible and release it. Importers must provide proof of admissibility, including a certificate of origin conforming to the template set out in 19 CFR §12.43(a), within three months of the importation.[4] While CBP provides scant guidance or information as to why merchandise is detained or how evidence of admissibility is evaluated, practical experience suggests that merely complying with the basic requirements for a certificate of origin and attestation as described in Part 12.43 will likely be an inadequate defense against the agency’s assertions.

To determine if a supply chain is plagued by forced labor activity, CBP uses the International Labor Organization’s 11 indicators of forced labor.[5]  After determining that there is sufficient evidence to suggest the presence of these factors, CBP allows evidence to refute the allegations and demonstrate admissibility. CBP suggests four general kinds of evidence that support admissibility to allow release of detained merchandise:[6]

1. Evidence refuting each identified indicator of forced labor;

2. Evidence that policies, procedures, and controls are in place to ensure that forced labor conditions are remediated;

3. Evidence of implementation and subsequent verification by an unannounced and independent third party auditor; and

4. Supply chain maps that specify locations of manufacturers, factories, farms, and processing centers.

However, CBP does not offer specific examples of the types of documents, records, reports or other due diligence that meet or exceed the subjective standard for release from detention. In the absence of sufficient examples of successful release in the public record, importers may struggle to develop appropriate or adequate compliance measures.

Further, despite the regulatory requirement for a “reasonable indication” that the subject merchandise contains forced labor, CBP has a history of issuing WROs covering broadly defined products, including finished goods and raw materials, originating from entire countries and regions, such as the palm oil industry in Malaysia, which has been the subject of labor compliance allegations for several years.[7],[8]

The number of CBP cargo detentions related to WROs increased by a factor of 27 in FY 2020 over FY 2019, from 12 to 324. Those detentions amounted to a total cargo value in excess of $55.5 million. The steep, upward trend in WRO enforcement has continued thus far in FY 2021 with year-to-date figures indicating 967 cargo detentions representing a total value of over $367 million, a three-fold increase in detentions and six times the import value over last fiscal year (with two months remaining in FY 2021).[9]

Importers caught unprepared have been unable to rebut the presumption of forced labor absent the appropriate evidence and compliance controls attentive to forced labor factors. Given the significant burden to prove the negative, coupled with increasing concerns over supply chain endurance, global companies should be highly motivated to engage with supply chain business partners that can support the required due diligence to defend against forced labor allegations.

Developing or improving trade and labor compliance procedures often requires a multifaceted and customized approach, especially when faced with an ever-changing enforcement landscape. In addition to traditional trade compliance measures such as documentation, due diligence and reasonable care, a robust labor compliance process will also benefit from a more modern, technology-based approach.

For example, blockchain and digital token technology can provide immutable certification throughout the supply chain, which can be independently verified by regulators or a credible third party to trace and validate the origin of materials and labor in addition to real-time logistics tracing. Blockchain solutions have been successfully implemented in similar contexts for supply chain and origin audits and inspections, cradle-to-grave supply chain tracing and global, product tracking to improve regulatory compliance as well as achieve time and cost efficiencies. A combined technology and regulatory approach to compliance can be tailored to improve the traceability of all aspects of the supply chain and designed to create an irrefutable, digital record of compliance. In addition to the regulatory compliance benefits of a traceable supply chain, blockchain demonstrates a company’s efforts to maintain transparency and accountability to its business partners, customers and other stakeholders.

Blockchain technology is often misunderstood. By engaging blockchain experts, organizations can overcome technical challenges and ensure the technology is developed as a unique solution fit for purpose, scale and cost benefits. Companies in an array of industries are implementing blockchain within their supply chains to increase efficiency and transparency.

For example, a global food and beverage company adopted blockchain technology to track its coffee products from bean to cup.[10] Another company implemented a blockchain solution built to trace a product’s travels across the supply chain—achieving insights within seconds, as compared its previous seven-day tracking cycle.[11] Similar applications of blockchain technology can be used to verify and document compliance throughout the supply chain, including validation of workforce compliance, and presented as evidence rebutting underlying allegations of a WRO or in support of the admissibility of merchandise.

Given increasing scrutiny of supply chains and in particular the focus on complete transparency with regards to eliminating forced labor, in addition to importers operating in industries already impacted by existing WROs, all companies should be evaluating their risk and exposure to commodities, regions and countries with a heightened risk of future action. Those who are proactive will maintain a competitive commercial advantage over those who chose to wait until their merchandise is detained and are forced to react to either agency action or public scrutiny over non-compliance.

Without implementing a combination of traceability technology throughout the supply chain and other tools such as third-party audits to ensure compliance, merchandise detained by CBP will not have sufficient documentation to rebut the presumption of a “reasonable indication” of forced labor, which could lead to devastating losses of merchandise, exorbitant storage fees while admissibility is assessed, forced export to non-U.S. markets or costly and protracted litigation. An innovative approach to proactive compliance, including modern technology-based solutions, could be the key to creating an objective record of due diligence in an otherwise subjective space.


Nick Baker is a Senior Director within FTI Consulting. He assists clients with international trade matters including customs, import compliance, export controls and sanctions.

Steve McNew is a Senior Managing Director within FTI Consulting’s Technology segment, where he leads the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency practice. He provides strategic advice and expert services for companies looking to innovate with crypto assets and blockchain technology. 

[1] For example, Chapter 23 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement addresses forced labor rights and compliance in the context of the trade agreement. 

[4] 19 C.F.R. §12.43(a)

[5] ILO Indicators of Forced Labour, International Labour Organization, October 1, 2012.  Available at,—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_203832.pdf

[6] CBP Publication #1394-0321 “WRO Modification/Revocation Process Overview,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Available at

[7] CBP Issues Detention Order on Palm Oil Produced with Forced Labor in Malaysia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, September 30, 2020.  Available at

[8] CBP Issues Detention Order on Palm Oil Produced with Forced Labor in Malaysia, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, December 30, 2020.  Available at

[9] CBP Trade Statistics, published at (last visited August 18, 2021). FY 2021 statistics current as of August 6, 2021.

customs value

Eliminating Non-Dutiable Charges from Customs Value

Similar to how taxable income is a primary element to determining income tax, the customs value is used to calculate duty liability. To determine an accurate customs value, companies must factor in certain dutiable additions and non-dutiable deductions. In today’s high-tariff environment, maximizing every deduction is critical and many importers are leaving money on the table. 

For U.S. importers using transaction value, which is “the price actually paid or payable for the merchandise when sold for exportation to the United States,” the focus is often on validating that the enumerated additions to the price are properly declared to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CPB). While this is a necessary step for maintaining compliance, trade teams should also consider whether they may appropriately deduct or exclude certain charges. 

Historically, these savings opportunities have not been fully explored because the resources required to sustain some of these programs exceeded the savings. However, with the Section 301 tariffs in place for China-origin products, many companies are paying significantly more in duties. Removing these non-dutiable costs can provide substantial savings–making it worth taking a second look at them for many importers.

Eight Overlooked Non-Dutiable Charges

For importers using transaction value, the following savings opportunities should be considered. While some of these programs provide ongoing savings and some are only used in specific circumstances, they all may play a role in reducing the tariff spend. 

1. Freight and Insurance

Foreign inland freight, international freight and insurance costs may be deducted from the transaction value if you meet certain requirements. More specifically, with accurate incoterms and supporting costs and documentation, this can provide long-term cost savings. Importantly, importers must verify that they are deducting the actual, not estimated costs, and that the supporting documentation is adequate. While the requirements around deducting these costs may be daunting, the advances in technology make freight deductions more approachable than ever.

Further, insurance costs may be deducted from the entered value when they are separately itemized and the actual costs (not estimated) are claimed. It is important to verify with sellers that they are providing actual costs because CBP will reject deductions based on estimates, even in cases where the importer paid more than it claimed on the entry.

2. Supply Chain (“Origin”) Costs 

International transportation costs typically include certain other fees, often referred to as “origin costs.” In many cases, CBP considers these origin costs to be “incident to the international shipment of merchandise” and, therefore, possibly excluded from the customs value. Examples of these charges include security charges, documentation fees, and logistics fees. 

On a per-shipment basis, these miscellaneous fees may appear insignificant. However, on an annual basis, they can result in a significant expense for the company by driving up duty payments. As a general rule, the importer must deduct the actual costs, validate that commercial documentation meets all requirements and understand where services are being provided. However, once these steps have been taken, it is likely that little additional work will be required to realize ongoing savings.

3. Warehousing Costs 

CBP has found that warehousing costs paid by the buyer to third parties are not included in the price actually paid or payable of the imported merchandise. However, CBP has distinguished this scenario from instances where the seller, or a party related to the seller, provided this same service and the warehousing costs are included in the price actually paid or payable. In that case, those payments were found to be dutiable and may not be deducted. 

For importers interested in using this opportunity, a careful review of payments and terms of sale should be conducted to validate that the transaction meets all of CBP’s criteria prior to taking this deduction.

4. Inspection or Testing Fees

Often before shipment, an importer will arrange for products to be inspected or tested to validate it satisfies a buyer’s quality standards. Under certain conditions, these fees may be excluded from the dutiable value in instances when they are made to third parties unrelated to the seller of the goods. 

It’s also important to understand that testing that is “essential to the production of that merchandise” is dutiable. In such cases, CBP would consider payments to unrelated third parties for these services as assists that are part of the transaction value. For importers who rely on the seller to perform inspection or testing services, an analysis should be conducted to assess the ROI for engaging a third party to perform these services.

5. Latent Defect Allowances

In certain circumstances, importers may be able to reduce dutiable value post-importation based on repair costs attributable to manufacturing or design defects. For importers with high-value products, such as those in the automotive industry, repair costs can be substantial and this allowance in value provides an opportunity to manage those costs by reclaiming duty. 

With proper planning, a program can be implemented to help ensure the importer does not overpay duty on goods that were defective at the time of import. While there are a number of requirements that must be satisfied to receive a duty refund, high-value importers should explore whether this may be an opportunity for them.

6. Instruments of International Traffic – Reclassification of Packaging

In certain cases, pallets, cartons, hangers and other packaging material may be considered instruments of international traffic (IIT), exempting them from duty. To qualify as an IIT, CBP has determined that the article must meet criteria, including that it is “substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and used in significant numbers in international traffic.” Further, the article must be used in commercial shipping or transportation more than twice to qualify as an IIT. 

For importers whose supply chains include the reuse of certain containers or other materials used to transport international goods, it may be valuable to assess whether these goods qualify as IIT and are, therefore, duty-free. 

7. Post Importation Price Adjustments

When companies make post-importation price adjustments they may be entitled to a duty-refund on the amount adjusted. This typically occurs when downward transfer pricing (“TP”) adjustments are made between related parties, causing a reduction in the products’ customs value. 

For companies that routinely make retroactive transfer pricing adjustments, having in place the documentation to support a refund can have a powerful impact on duty spend.

8. Taxes and Other Fees

Companies may be entitled to deduct Value Added Tax (“VAT”) or Goods and Services Taxes (“GST”) from the declared value of the imports when these payments are refunded. Not only should importers maximize their refunds where possible, but in doing so they open another opportunity for savings. When VAT is remitted by the U.S. importer to the foreign seller, separately identified and refunded to the importer, then the refunded amount is not included in transaction value.

Importers should team with their tax departments and foreign suppliers to understand if VAT refunds are obtained and create documentation that reflects separate itemization of the refunded VAT.

The Big Picture

Potential cost savings through the reduction of non-dutiable charges from the dutiable cost basis of imported goods are often overlooked. However, in this high-tariff environment, these programs can help companies easily achieve cost savings. 

Additionally, with advancements in technology, managing these programs is more straightforward than it used to be. 

Of course, like with any duty-savings program, strong controls must be implemented to preserve compliance. However, as it is likely that steep tariffs will be in place for some time, companies should evaluate which of these programs can help reduce costs, potentially improve the return on investment and then develop an implementation roadmap.


Andrew Siciliano is a Partner and U.S. Trade & Customs Leader at KPMG LLP. and Elizabeth Shingler is a manager at KPMG’s Trade & Customs Practice.

trade compliance

If Trade Compliance Was a Soccer Team…

The Olympics, Gold Cup, Copa América, Euro 2020: most soccer fans will have a team or two to cheer for this summer. For those, as well as for those who prefer trade compliance over soccer (so, basically everybody in global trade), here the definitive Summer of 2021 Global Trade Intelligence starting lineup (in a traditional 4-3-3 system). Pretty sure we’d beat those ERP, CRM, and (despite the overlap) TMS teams at the Software World Cup.

Goalkeeper: Export Compliance. A non-plussed, stabile, robust lock on the door is needed to stop penalties (yes, a global trade pun!) and set the standard for the team. Thoroughly, prepared for set plays (like license determination) and deflections (like transshipped exports). Nothing falls through the cracks; errors can be fatal for a compliance program.

Right Back: Origin. You want reliability in your backs plus, ideally, one that can also make progress forward and save some duties. Origin is both: the solid paperwork to verify your claims and the forward approach to benefit from the preferential rates where possible. A sometimes aggressive yet always reliable origin program can bring significant benefit to the company.

Center Back: Restricted Party Screening (RPS). It’s simple: your center back doesn’t let any opponent slip through and that’s the same for your Restricted Party Screening solution. Nothing gets through or there will be consequences. RPS sets the tone and, with a solid RPS application, everyone feels more secure doing their part.

Center Back: Brokerage. Another solution that stands or falls with reliability. Your brokerage application must be strong, solid, reliable, scalable. It bends but doesn’t burst. It’s steady when needed but can accelerate if there’s a lot to do. With just that, there is a perfect center foundation for some solid compliance work.

Left Back: Import Compliance. Completing the back four of compliance, the left-back may be where you used to stick the weak link, but no more. This includes document, permit, license requirements. Import compliance programs (think OGA/PGA requirements but also VAT registrations, packaging requirements) are gaining momentum. Ecommerce plays a role in all this as well. As for the right-back position, it is nice to have a left-back that can also create opportunities, for example, by anticipating B2C compliance requirement changes (like changes to VAT exemptions or licensing exceptions).

Right Midfield: Objectives and Key Results/Key Performance Indicators (OKRs/KPIs). The barometer is of course in midfield—making sure holes are filled, needs are met, focusing on where there is a little shortfall or supporting where things are moving along. OKR/KPI reviews keep everything balanced and ensure that attention is paid to areas where improvements can be made and that strengths are praised and leveraged.

Center Midfield: Classification. The center of it all. The core challenge according to multiple surveys, classification is the ongoing challenge of getting it right all the time and with ever-changing HS codes (hello 2022 WCO Updates!). Only a number 10, central player can figure it all out (the greats co-function as parts master as well). And, when they do, it’s a joy for the whole team. Without classification, there’s no offense or defense—only loose ends.

Left Midfield: Duty Deferral and Saving Programs. The left midfielder is creative (with that subtle left foot), somewhat looking for that through ball but still solid when it comes to defending completed work. Welcome to duty-saving options. Foreign Trade Zones, processing reliefs, drawbacks: you name it, the left midfielder has them all in the pocket and is ready to launch.

Right Forward: Valuation. Better get it correct (must be able to defend when questions are asked) but not impossible to get really creative with it. Think First Sale, non-transaction value-based valuation, the excitement when working with the transfer pricing teammate. The six valuation methods are like the six ways the right-winger can leave the opponent behind.

Center Forward: Supply Chain Resilience (SC Resilience). Arguably, if it were a 5-3-2 system, SC Resilience would be a wingback—new and fancy but still doesn’t always have a spot. But, in a 4-3-3 system, it’s great to have something fresh and sometimes unpredictable to make a good impression. SC Resilience encompasses all the exciting elements a forward-thinking operation needs: anticipating the market and logistics flow, staying ahead of the competition, and surging towards new goals.

Left Forward: Visibility. The left-wing position is made for volatile players. Sometimes everything works, sometimes nothing. The same way it sometimes feels with supply chain visibility—one day the dashboard is packed with useful information and the next there are huge gaps, but the collaboration with SC Resilience, in particular, helps to build expectations.

On the Bench: Implementations, integrations, audit support (reporting), and disaster recovery plans. What to do with the coach? For being the best trade compliance expert I have met and loads of other reasons, I’ll take Ruud Tusveld as the coach—even though he used to play goalie.

Trade compliance for the win!