International Trade Compliance: 6 Basic Products Questions A Company Should Answer


The touchstone of any international trade compliance program is the development of a strong and accurate database of the company’s products, services and technology. The ability to gather this information is central to determining classification for export and import purposes, export control requirements, origin and customs valuation.

All too often, companies that thought they were complying with international trade laws are publicly flogged with penalties imposed by the relevant legal agencies, or find that they pay the not so public price of legal and investigation costs to avoid or mitigate such penalties.

In this article, we use the six basic “question words” to outline the process of gathering the information necessary to understand a product for purposes of international trade compliance. This same methodology may also be used to evaluate supply chain, pricing, and customer and supplier issues.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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