While it’s possible for importers and exporters to manually do all the work required for compliance, it can be a difficult task.
In addition to requiring deep knowledge of the regulations, manual compliance processes also demand constant, thoughtful attention to the import-export universe—including regulatory changes, product classification revisions, updates and additions to denied party and sanctions lists, and more.
Fortunately, there’s a better option available—an international trade compliance solution that’s easy to use and less expensive than you may think: Shipping Solutions Trade Wizards. Importers and exporters who use Trade Wizards for their export compliance solutions have the following advantages over those who attempt to do it manually:
- They make wiser, more informed decisions about potential business partners. Shipping Solutions Trade Wizards quickly finds even partial matches to government bad-guy lists, and provides match information so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you should do business with a potential partner.
- They can save time with compliance screenings. Users can quickly screen potential customers and their trading partners; look up HTS, HS and Schedule B codes; and determine import and export license requirements.
- They have à la carte access to Trade Wizards. Because your company’s international compliance needs may differ from those of other companies, you can subscribe to the entire suite of compliance tools or just those tools you actually need.
Want to see how they can work for your company? Just click the link below to request a free trial subscription.
Shipping Solutions Trade Wizards
Shipping Solutions offers a variety of international trade compliance tools that make the process as easy as visiting a website.
Product Classification Wizard
The first step in importing or exporting a product is properly classifying your goods. That starts with the Harmonized System number used for determining the proper import duty rates. In addition, exporters need to determine if there is a separate classification for export control purposes, which may mean you can’t export your product without first applying for and receiving an export license from the appropriate government agency.
The Product Classification Wizard makes it simple for importers and exporters to look up and identify your products' correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), Harmonized System (HS), or Schedule B numbers, which are required on your export documents and import paperwork. And because the 10-digit HS classification for your product will be different in the country of export than the country of import, it includes an HS mapping tool. Enter the 10-digit code for the country you know, and the Wizard will show you the potential corresponding code for another country.
When you run an HS search for the country of import, the results also display the default and other potential special duty rates that will apply to your product.
In addition, the Product Classification Wizard allows you to search the Commerce Control List and U.S. Munitions List to see if the government identifies your product as a controlled item, and it then helps you determine the proper Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or the USML category required for export license determination. (See the section below about the Export Controls Wizard.)
The Wizard allows you to search by entering a description of the item or the beginning of the classification number, and then it quickly displays all the potential matches. From there you simply click on each potential match to see the complete definition of the products, including any potential technical specification, so you can determine if it is a match with your product.
Compare the ease of a few keyboard and mouse clicks with the traditional method of poring through volumes of printed books and regulations, and you quickly see the benefit! In addition, because this information is stored online on our secure web server and is updated daily as necessary, you can be confident you’re accessing the most current information available.
Export Controls Wizard
Depending on your products’ technical characteristics, destination, end users, and end uses, they may require a license to export. You are responsible for determining this based on your product classification under ITAR's U.S. Munitions List (USML) or EAR's Commerce Control List (CCL), and the destination country. (See the section above about the Product Classification Wizard.)
With the Export Controls Wizard, simply enter the ECCN or USML classification for your product, and it tells you whether or not your product requires an export license based on the country of destination. In addition, it provides a list of any potential license exceptions that you may be able to use instead of applying for the license.
While the export license determination is made behind the scenes using the most current set of export control data published by the appropriate U.S. agencies, the results include an explanation of the logic behind the determination, so you know exactly why a license was or was not required. These detailed results can be printed out and/or electronically stored in an audit trail, so your company has the necessary documentation if you ever face an export compliance audit.
Import Controls Wizard
We’re living in a period of quickly changing and increasingly restrictive import restrictions that are impacting global trade. These include increasing customs duties and import taxes, changing import license or permit requirements, and impositions of quotas and outright bans on the importation of certain products.
Shipping Solutions’ Import Controls Wizard identifies the import controls that may exist for your products, whether you are importing them into the United States or exporting them to other countries. Just enter your product’s HS number as well as the country of import, country of manufacture, and country of export, and our results page will display a list of all potentially applicable import controls for your product.
If an import restriction does exist, the Wizard outlines the agency or agencies imposing the restrictions and the support documentation you may need to provide to receive an import license or other control document.
Restricted Party Screening Wizard
Several U.S. departments and agencies as well as other countries and international organizations publish lists of people, organizations and companies with whom you are not allowed to do business. There are more than 100 of these restricted party or denied party lists that you must check if your exports are controlled by the United States.
While performing a restricted party screening against international customers, vendors and service providers is not required by any government regulation, doing business with any person or organization on the list can result in significant fines or penalties. And regularly running restricted party screenings for all your exports allows you to prove that you are doing your due diligence, a strong mitigating factor against penalties.
The Restricted Party Screening Wizard lets you check all the U.S. lists—as well as the United Nations list, European Union list, and lists from several other countries—at once and in just seconds.
Landed Cost Calculator
There are many expenses that go into the final cost of your products, not just the price you pay your vendor. For example, you must pay to move the goods to your warehouse or their final destination. There are a myriad of fees that may be assessed. And there are import duties to pay.
In order to determine the real cost of the goods—the full landed cost—you must factor in all these other expenses.
For example, as an importer, you need to know the real cost of sourcing a part or a product in China with the extra transportation costs, longer shipping times, and potential duties and taxes, so you can compare it to the same item in Mexico that may initially cost more but ship quickly and less expensively and be able to enter the country duty free.
As an exporter, you need to know the real cost of delivering your goods to an international customer, so you can properly determine the price of your goods and accurately forecast market potential.
Our Landed Cost Calculator provides that detail and also warns you if anti-dumping duties or countervailing duties may apply for a specific product. It even allows you to simultaneously compare products imported from up to four different countries, so you can quickly analyze costs.
Ensuring a Strong Import-Export Compliance Program
While some individuals and companies choose to rely on one or more of their international logistics partners to perform their compliance procedures, keep in mind one important fact: You can outsource responsibility, but you can’t outsource liability.
If your service provider misclassifies your products, fails to get the required export and import licenses or permits, or allows a shipment to go through to someone on one of the bad-guy lists, it’s your company that may pay too much in duties, that may have to pay storage fees while the proper paperwork is being completed, or faces significant fines or other penalties for doing business with someone you shouldn’t.
Making sure these compliance responsibilities are located within your company not only ensures that the people who know your products, vendors and customers best are the ones classifying the goods and ensuring compliance. It also makes it much more likely that you have set up well-defined compliance procedures, trained the people who are following these procedures, and have the documentation on hand in case you ever get audited.
When you’re ready to ditch manual import-export compliance for an easy to use, reliable suite of online export compliance solutions, give our Trade Wizards a try.