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Michael Laden

Michael Laden is a principal of Trade Innovations, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in customs compliance and supply chain security matters. Trade Innovations has offices and operations in Minneapolis, MN, Austin, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL. Mr. Laden has almost 30 years of experience in the international trade industry and prior to forming Trade Innovations in 2005 was the president of a customs brokerage firm operating exclusively for and inside of a mass retailer.

Mr. Laden has been licensed by U.S. Customs since 1981. He served the maximum two-term limit on the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) providing advice on customs matters to the U.S. Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He is a member of the CBP Trade Support Network (TSN) which is currently designing the next CBP computer architecture known as ACE (Automated Commercial Environment). He was the executive sponsor of a self-filing program for customs entries (more than 200,000 entries annually) and helped a mass retailer achieve the coveted ISA designation. Mr. Laden is also credited with developing some of the most creative and ingenious customs compliance programs, policies and procedures; allowing his employer to achieve unprecedented levels of compliance while lowering associated landed costs.

Mr. Laden is a recognized expert in the customs compliance and the supply chain regulatory environment. He was a founding and charter member of the Business Alliance for Customs Modernization. He has served on the Board of Governors for the American Association of Exporters and Importers (AAEI) since 1988 and is a past chairman. He is also a member of the World Customs Organization’s Private Sector Consultative Group and meets regularly in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss issues affecting customs compliance, security and global trade.

Mr. Laden has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Subcommittee on Appropriations concerning Customs Commercial Operations and Enforcement Policies. He also appeared as a witness before the Senate Finance Committee on matters related to container security and operations in a post September 11, 2001, environment. Mr. Laden has also been a featured speaker on Customs and Border Protection and related matters before many national organizations. He travels extensively and has taught the fundamentals of importing to thousands of foreign suppliers and manufacturers worldwide.

Articles Written By Michael Laden

Import-Export Compliance: The Black Magic of International Trade

Michael Laden | January 28, 2019 | Import Basics, Export Basics

In many companies the art of moving goods across international borders is viewed as black magic. In fact, I have a colleague who keeps a magic wand in his desk just for such emergencies.

When someone from the inventory or shipping department begins screaming about back orders and delays at customs, he simply produces the potent wand, whisks it mindlessly through the air, and presto-chango the consignment appears… sometimes.

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Importer Identity Theft: A Real Problem

Michael Laden | July 22, 2012 | Import Basics

With increasing frequency, unsuspecting importers are being victimized by unscrupulous persons who have discovered how easy it is to assume a legitimate importer or corporation's identity.

Just like its counterpart, individual identity theft, a case of corporate identity fraud can cripple an otherwise law-abiding company.

We are working with a client who recently had two Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents show up unannounced at their east coast offices one sleepy morning. The news they brought turned their world upside down and they are still untangling the mess.

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Importer Security Filing (ISF) Escalated Enforcement Begins

Michael Laden | February 28, 2010 | Import Basics

On January 26, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementing their strategy of graduated Importer Security Filing (ISF) enforcement.

While CBP's plan for ramped-up enforcement will not be made public, we can garner the following details and pertinent information about what lies ahead:

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Importer Security Filing; the 10+2 Rule Is Up and Running

Michael Laden | March 29, 2009 | Import Basics

The new U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) requirement to file the Importer Security Filing (also known as 10+2, or the ISF) was three months old last week.

Just like Y2K, or the dreaded 24-hour Manifest Rule, the ISF rollout has largely been uneventful, except for a few matching errors related to the bill of lading. When this occurs a "Bill not on File" message from CBP results.

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