The International Trade Blog

John Goodrich

John Goodrich

John Goodrich is an International Trade Consultant and Licensed Customhouse Broker with more than 25 years of experience in international trade. He is currently the principal in the consulting firm of JD Goodrich & Associates where his varied industry experience results in practical, actionable advice for his clients.

An active member in the Twin Cities round table of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), he takes a strategic view of the roles of international compliance and logistics in the greater supply chain.

Mr. Goodrich is an engaging trainer and speaker on a variety of international logistics and compliance subjects including:

  • Harmonized Tariff Classification
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • International Letters of Credit
  • International Contracting and Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS)
  • Complying with Import Regulation
  • Complying with Export Regulation
  • International Transportation

In addition, Mr. Goodrich has authored numerous trade-related articles and three texts:

Mr. Goodrich graduated Cum Laude from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo Michigan with majors in Economics and German and a minor in International Commerce. He performed graduate studies in Economics and German at the University of Bonn in Germany. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Mr. Goodrich and his family reside in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Articles Written By John Goodrich

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule: Beyond the General Rules of Interpretation

I explored unorthodox methods companies use to find the correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification for their goods in a previous article. Now, I will outline the best practices your company should use when classifying your products.

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The Harmonized Tariff Schedule: General Rules of Interpretation Never Written (But Used Daily)

Those of you familiar with the classification process are, without a doubt, veterans of the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), the six international rules that provide instructions for determining the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code for your products.

Those of you new to the process will find these rules printed for you at the beginning of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

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The Compliant Organization: Where Does International Trade Compliance Belong?

Where should you place your international trade compliance office within your importing or exporting organization? Should it be part of sales, accounting, shipping, legal, purchasing or supply chain?

My answer may seem flippant, and among readers of this blog, it may even seem controversial.

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The Three R’s of Export Compliance: FTR, EAR and ITAR

You all know about the three academic R’s, of Reading wRiting and aRithmetic. But are you familiar with the three R's of export compliance: the FTR, the EAR and the ITAR?

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When Classifying Parts Using HTS Codes, Read the Notes!

We all know intuitively what a part is. Nearly every company has a parts department. These are the areas of the company staffed by those magical people who never throw anything away and always seem to be able to find that one widget or what is needed to repair a product and satisfy a customer.

It comes as a surprise to some that the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) uses the word part with a much narrower and precise definition. What we call a part in industry is rarely what the HTS code refers to as a “part” or “parts thereof.” As examples, it is not uncommon to find headings in the tariff such as:

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Classifying Your Goods for Import and Export Requires Expertise

Following is a bit of light fiction blended with, I’m afraid, a heavy dose of truth:

“Even a trained squirrel could do classification, John!” a product engineer at a manufacturing firm told me the other day when we were discussing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) classification process at his company.

“What’s that you’re saying?” I had to restrain myself from reaching across the table and throttling him.

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Import-Export Trade Compliance: Becoming the Department of Yes!

Is your trade compliance office known as the office of NO? Perhaps your company considers you to be the Sales Prohibition Department?"

When you walk through the aisles at work do colleagues avoid you by turning the other way? Perhaps when you pass by they pretend to be on the phone?

I am sorry to inform you but these are all symptoms that you are losing the battle for trade compliance within your company.

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What to Include in Your Company's Import-Export Compliance Procedures Manual

Import-export trade compliance is often characterized by trite phrases and platitudes:

  • Under promise and over deliver!
  • Less is more!
  • Do what you say! Say what you do!
  • If it isn't documented, it didn't happen!
  • It ain't over till the fat lady sings!

While trite, the above statements also contain truths. Importers and exporters have an obligation to exercise due diligence in conforming to the myriad of trade regulations.

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Who's Responsible for Classifying Your Products for Import and Export?

I received the following in my inbox the other day:

Hey John,

It's Virginia. I attended a number of seminars you presented last April. I hope all is well with you. I've recently accepted a new position with a big important company and am trying to get them on the right track. I could use your assistance.

A request came down from corporate. I need to provide them supporting evidence as to why we, as a manufacturer and distributor, should be responsible for providing the HTS codes for importing and exporting. On the import side they think we should just accept the HTS codes provided by our vendors and our customs brokers. On the export side they think our buyers and their freight forwarders are the ones who should be assigning the Schedule B codes.

I know we are responsible, but I just can't put my finger on the regulations that hold us accountable. Can you please point me in the right direction to find that supporting article, regulation or requirement?

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The Business Arguments for Investing in Import and Export Compliance

As part of my business, I have the honor of leading a fair number of import and export regulatory compliance seminars. Some of my students have been rather vocal about the compliance issues they’ve experienced within their companies. As a seminar leader my job is to illuminate an issue and introduce tactical solutions the student’s company might consider implementing.

The common response to my suggestions is, “Yeah but.” (This rhymes with rabbit when spoken quickly.) “Yeah, but you don’t understand the situation at my company.” The discussion then continues with some reason why the company has not moved forward with an effective import/export compliance program.

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