Internal Trade Compliance Training Is No Longer Enough…

To kick off the new year, our first post is regarding internal training of management and employees.

If a CEO instructs management to ensure the company is protected, management might decides to train internally, update the company’s manual, and possibly send a few employees to additional training.  However, taking such action does not necessarily result in an improved compliance program because although internal training requires real understanding of the new regulatory environment, most companies lack internal officers who have the time or the motivation to appreciate the nuances of the export changes.  There are several reasons why this approach may not translate into real protection for your company:

  1. Logistics, sales, business development and product development all play a role in the process, and no one person really understands all the procedures that go into internal compliance.  Therefore, internal compliance officers need good, in-depth training that is specifically tailored to their business, is up-to-date and takes existing procedures into account.  That usually means one-on-one training.
  2. In-house lawyers usually have an understanding of the big picture and the importance of training and compliance, but do not have the time to delve into the details. They either need a bucket of money to rely on external consultants or to hire compliance experts.
  3. If no funding is allocated to improve the compliance process and documentation, increase due diligence by internal investigations, hire more people, pay for advanced export training or bring in a trainer, it is unlikely your company will make any real  compliance improvements.
  4. If every senior manager doesn’t treat trade compliance as a real risk area, then those on the front lines, like the receptionist and the facilities manager, won’t either.  (The facilities manager has to know that technology controlled by the Commerce Department can’t be visible to the evening cleaning crew or it could be a deemed export.  The receptionist has to know that the overnight package going to China must be treated differently than the designs going to St. Louis.)