International Trade Compliance: Tips for Setting up a Compliance Program for Your Import Business

International Trade Compliance: Tips for Setting up a Compliance Program for Your Import Business


To understand trade compliance, you should look at the export and import trade. Trade compliance edges on the notion that countries must protect their resources, citizens, and economy. Therefore, this kind of compliance exists to guard import and export activities. It includes regulations, rules, and practices of exporting and importing from one county to another. Every organization in international trade must be aware of these regulations and comply with them. They must conduct their business in line with these compliance procedures.

When in the import business, you must check if there are restrictions limiting importing of certain products into your country. You must also identify and report the correct duties and taxes for bringing goods to your country. Another rule you must comply with is determining the right Tariff based on the class of your goods. This article will discuss compliance in trade matters and how to set up a compliance program for your business.

Why Does Trade Compliance Matter?

Whether in the import or export business, you will face various consequences if you don’t understand the need to comply with international trade regulations. For the import business, compliance included classifying your items and reporting the correct details. Without goods classification, you will likely face penalties, fines, and high interest. You may also have clearance issues at Customs, meaning a delay in getting the goods to their destination. You may also risk jail time, especially if your imported goods are prohibited in your country. Huge penalties can affect your business. Therefore, ensuring your business complies with all the rules and regulations set for international trade is vital.

Setting Up a Trade Compliance Program for Your Business

Confirming your goods comply with the rules set to avoid the consequences mentioned above is critical. We have created a list of essential things you must follow to ensure you comply and will not experience any issues with customs.

Find Partners

When implementing an international trade compliance program, it is advisable to back it up with the right partners. Work with skilled customs brokers, logistics professionals, freight forwarders, and other partners who can help you comply. You must create a solid professional relationship with import partners for more straightforward import clearance.

Get Necessary Licenses

You need licenses for certain imports based on their destination, characteristics, and the end user. Lack of these licenses can result in future import restrictions, fines, and, worst-case scenarios, jail time.

Scrutinize Your Vendors

It is critical to ensure you are working with the right vendors. This raises the need to screen all vendors and partners you are working with to ensure you are not in business with anyone who is restricted. Remember, doing business with restricted entities only puts your company in jeopardy.

Monitor Regulations

It is crucial to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing regulations so you can update your compliance program. Ensure you know the changes specific to a country and adjust your documents based on these changes.

Prepare Documents

When you are in the import/export business, you will handle many documents. Knowing all the documents that you need and accurately completing them is crucial. Remember, mistakes in the documents could lead to delayed shipment. In the worst case, you could face regulatory issues and lose your goods. You can manually fill in the paperwork or use software to help you.

Empower Yourself

International trade is very complex, and a lot has changed. That means you should not rely on old methods to do things or predict the future. When you put forward a trade compliance plan, ensure you educate yourself on new ways of doing things and update your plan.

Ensure Proper Goods Valuation

Goods valuation is vital when you want to comply with international trade regulations. Every good in shipment must be accurately valued to assign a Tariff and the correct duty rates and taxes. If you skimp on this, expect several consequences at customs.

Maintain Records

It is also vital for your company to maintain all the records associated with import and export. These records will come in handy during an audit when you need documents to justify your decisions. So, ensure proper storage of all the paperwork and include notes of every step you have taken. You will need them as a point of reference should an issue arise.


Whether in the import or export business, complying with trade regulations, rules and practices is the only way you will streamline your processes. Compliance helps you avoid frustrations and save money and time by ensuring your goods reach their destination as intended.

International Trade Compliance: Tips for Setting up a Compliance Program for Your Import Business