Export Compliance Starts with Your Sales Team

4/20/15 10:20 AM | Catherine J. Petersen | Export Marketing, Export Regulations, Export Compliance
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The sales team can be your biggest ally and supporter when communicating with your international customer. However, your sales team may not know about changing compliance issues or the fines and penalties that may face your firm if compliance is not a part of their day-to-day activities.

Here are 10 important facts to forward to your sales team that can provide information, generate a conversation, and enhance your company’s export compliance activities:

  1. Despite all the recent news about the U.S. normalizing relations with Cuba, the country is still currently one of the United States' embargoed countries or restricted destinations. You’ll find a list of embargoed countries and reasons for export controls at the U.S. State Departement's website.

  2. The leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Abubaker Shekau, is one of thousands of individuals and organizations on a series of government-published lists with whom you cannot do business. While he may be one of the most famous names, there are other well known names on these lists as well. You should check these lists prior to quoting, selling and delivering goods to foreign customers in the United States or abroad. Although there are dozens of different lists published by various U.S. agencies, you’ll find some of the most common lists that need to be checked at the BIS website.

  3. U.S. export regulations control the export of products; some are restricted, including circuit boards and encrypted software. View the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) online before exporting your products.

  4. Your customer, your customer’s government, and/or the U.S. government often require additional statements for export transactions on your documents. The EAR requires that your company include the following statement on the commercial invoice: “These commodities, technologies, or software were exported from the United States of America in accordance with the Export Administration regulations. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.” The EAR recommends that any quote or pro forma invoice you prepare for an export also include that statement.

  5. Don’t think export regulations really matter? Check out Don’t Let This Happen to You! to see a sample of the penalties that the U.S. government has issued against export companies and individuals who violate US Export Laws.

  6. Benchmark success!

  7. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s in quotes. Quotes are not revocable when the buyer’s country has signed the UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods. Make sure you include an expiration date on all your quotes. Visit the Pace Law School website to see a list of participating countries. 

  8. FOB Plant is not an international trade term; Incoterms 2010 are the terms to use. Visit the International Chamber of Commerce website for an explanation of Incoterms. Be sure to outline those costs you will cover by using an Incoterm to avoid profit erosion. 

  9. The buyer’s country will often have special requirements. If the buyer doesn’t advise you of those requirements, refer to the export.gov website

  10. There is personal responsibility in an export transaction. Export policies are designed to protect you and your organization. Learn how to create an Export Management and Compliance Program for your company. 

This article, which was first published in July 2006, has been updated with current information and web links.

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