Houston partner David Ivey authored an article, "A Holistic Approach To Trade Compliance," which was published on July 29, 2010, by Law360.
According to Ivey, "The U.S. laws and regulations that apply to global business are complex, intricate and far from intuitive. Companies that implement a comprehensive internally and externally integrated compliance program will enjoy benefits in cost and time savings resulting in a competitive advantage."
Ivey's article states that "a viable compliance program starts with senior management" and that "the policy should spell out the company’s commitment and provide an overview of the compliance structure with the names and contact information for the lead compliance team members." He also advises that the "compliance staff will need to work closely with sales, procurement, engineering, human resources, accounting, and the shipping or transportation departments to integrate the compliance efforts throughout an enterprise."
Ivey goes on to note that externally, "the compliance team will work closely with freight forwarders (the shipping companies on outbound shipments) and customs brokers (for imports). A company has responsibility for customs duties and can not point the finger at its broker if there is an error."
Ivey concludes: "A holistic approach to compliance not only helps a company avoid significant fines and penalties but will also avoid delays, loss of customer confidence and adverse publicity."