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The Art of Using an Effective Restricted Party Screening Program for Your Exports

On: June 13, 2018    |    By: David Noah David Noah    |    4 min. read

Restricted PartiesRecently, I had a conversation with a client who uses our Restricted Party Screening Wizard software. She was confused when the Wizard came up with a match score of 83%.

Her biggest concern: “This name doesn’t look like the name I entered. What is this software matching on—company name, partial name, or just some letters? Or are the matches based on addresses?”

She’s one of many exporters who wonder how Shipping Solutions restricted party screening program works.

This is a great question. Screenings are just as much an art form as they are a science. In response, I’d like to offer a look at how restricted party screening programs work and strategies for using restricted party screening for your exports.

How Shipping Solutions’ Restricted Party Screening Program Works

The Restricted Party Screening Wizard within Shipping Solutions’ Trade Compliance Wizard program uses an algorithm to combine all the information you entered into the wizard—including organization names, contact names, and addresses—to find potential matches that exist on the more than 100 lists of parties U.S. exporters cannot do business with.

It’s easy to find exact matches on these lists. If a person or company name, for example, matches an entry on one of the 140+ lists, the Restricted Party Screening Wizard displays a 100% match.

But a party trying to avoid getting caught is likely to try to hide their identity—so exact matching can’t be the only method used to identify restricted parties.

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Also, depending on the language and even the type of alphabet used in the destination country, there may be legitimate variances in how a name or address is spelled, especially when translated into English. Therefore, the Restricted Party Screening Wizard uses combinations of letters in names and addresses, and emphasizes or de-emphasizes certain types of words when judging a match, displaying any match of 60% or higher.

You can learn additional information about how Restricted Party Screening software works here.

Using Shipping Solutions For Restricted Party Screenings

A good software product doesn’t say “yes” or “no” to a screening query using only the exact form of the data as you entered it; it uses an algorithm to look at all the info you screen against to provide better, more accurate results. Here’s a look at how it works using Shipping Solutions’ Restricted Party Screening Wizard:

Restricted Party Screening Wizard

Here’s the Restricted Party Screening Trade Wizard - Data Entry Screen. The more information you enter here about your customer, the better and more accurate the results you can expect.

Restricted Party Screening Trade Wizard - data entry screen

Here’s an example of the restricted party screening program with data entered by a user.

Restricted Party Screening Trade Wizard - data entered by a user

Here are the restricted party screening search results generated for the name searched as well as the address that was entered. Don’t worry about why a particular match comes up; instead, click on the Entity ID and look at the details of a potential match, keeping in mind the match score, as we discuss below.

Restricted Party Screening Trade Wizard - search results

Clicking on the Entity ID lets you dig deeper into a particular match. Note the tabs across the top with different details, including links to PDF versions of the actual citation adding a person to the restricted party screening list.

If you want to dive in further, click on those tabs to review names, addresses, citations, and additional information associated with the potential match, all of which offer clues as to whether or not your contact is the party named on the list. The Restricted Party Screening Wizard even provides a link to the original source document that describes why the person was added to a particular list.

Restricted Party Screening Trade Wizard - additional information

Why Not Just Screen Your Parties Without Software?

To put it bluntly—because you have better things to do than check 140+ lists one by one. Shipping Solutions Professional export software makes the process as easy as it can be. It eliminates the need to manually enter the name and address of the parties you wish to screen, automatically screening all the contacts you’ve already entered for this shipment record.

The screenshot above shows how the results are displayed in Shipping Solutions Professional desktop software, so you have proof you did the screening in case you decide to audit your procedures, or if some government agency wants to review your export procedures.

Based on the information provided by the restricted party screening software, you make a determination on whether or not you can do business with this person. (If you’re still uncertain, you can contact the agency who publishes that particular list and ask for guidance about whether the person in question is the same as the person they’ve identified.)

The Most Important Part of Your Restricted Party Screening Program

The most important part of this process is to document why you made the decision you made. If you ever get audited by the Office of Export Enforcement, FBI, or any other agency, you can show them you are doing your due diligence. Export regulations state that being able to demonstrate due diligence “is a strong mitigating factor against penalties.”

I’m often asked, “Why can't I just get a red light or a green light—a yes or a no—about whether or not I can do business with this person?” Unfortunately, export compliance is as much an art as it is a science. But by taking the steps I've described above, you are mitigating risk for your company, as well as helping protect our country.


David Noah

About the Author: David Noah

David Noah is the founder and president of Shipping Solutions, a software company that develops and sells export documentation and compliance software targeted at U.S. companies that export. David is a frequent speaker on export documentation and compliance issues and has published several articles on the topic.

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