Hurricane and ELI launch new China website

Hurricane Commerce and our Chinese partner ELI Holdings have launched a new dedicated Chinese website to enable Chinese businesses to learn more about our suite of APIs.

Hurricane has teamed up with ELI to provide Chinese eCommerce and logistics companies with the tools and technology to enable them to trade cross-border successfully and seamlessly amid tough global regulatory requirements.

Among these regulations is the US Stop Act which requires all mail parcels to have complete and valid advanced electronic data (AED) to pass through US customs.

The UK and EU are also removing the exemption from VAT on eCommerce packets containing low value items while, in March 2021, the implementation of ICS2 will require postal operators to provide entry summary declarations before parcels can pass into or through the EU.

The demand for services that allow businesses to continue trading cross-border is soaring, with the need for compliance screenings, cost transparency and accurate and complete customs declarations. The need for accurate data is becomingly increasingly important and is becoming key in providing a positive customer experience by reducing transit times and the risk of unexpected fees upon delivery.

Nothing moves without the right data and increasing global regulation is providing huge challenges to those involved in cross-border eCommerce trade.

Hurricane is the preferred data partner for postal operators, online retailers, eCommerce platforms and carriers.

Contact us to find out more about our suite of APIs and how they can benefit your business.

The dedicated Chinese site can be round at this address – http://www.hurricanecommerce.cn/

2021 – a year of huge change for cross-border eCommerce

If 2020 was the year of the Coronavirus pandemic, for those involved in cross-border eCommerce trade 2021 will be the year of sweeping regulatory change.

The changes come thick and fast, starting on January 1 with Brexit and the full enforcement of the US STOP Act.

Both make the provision of complete and valid customs clearance data absolutely essential.

Ten weeks later will see the implementation of Import Control System 2 (ICS2) requiring postal operators to provide entry summary declarations on goods into or through EU customs territory.

As if that was not enough to occupy the minds of everyone involved in cross-border trade, both the UK and EU are removing the exemption from VAT on low value items.

And there is also the launch of the EU’s Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) for retail merchants and marketplaces to contend with.

Combined, this plethora of regulations – all impacting in the first half of 2021 – will test postal operators, carriers, merchants, marketplaces and platforms to the absolute limit.

We know from our work with customers across all of these different segments of cross-border trade that some have invested the time and resource to get prepared for January 1.

They have tackled head-on the knowledge that the compliance landscape will look very different in just a few days’ time to what they had been used to.

For postal operators, good planning and preparation in terms of data enhancement means avoiding the nightmare scenario of parcels being stuck at customs resulting in huge delays and additional costs including warehousing, storage and returns.

For merchants and marketplaces, meeting the higher threshold for parcel data will be essential if they want to ensure the frictionless passage of goods to their end customers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in lost customers and reputational damage.

The final quarter of 2020 has seen increased activity among those whose businesses depend on seamless cross-border trade as the realisation dawned that January 1 really was going to mean a different way of doing things.

And while events like Brexit grab many of the headlines, the reality is that some or all of the regulatory changes outlined above will impact the way different postal authorities, carriers, merchants and marketplaces – irrespective of geography – conduct their business in 2021 and beyond.

Below is a recap of the big changes coming in 2021 and their timescales:

January 1 – Brexit: complete and valid data (including HS6 codes, product descriptions and correct values) will be required from the UK into the EU and vice versa.

January 1 – UK Import VAT Threshold: New regulations will make an overseas supplier who sends parcels containing goods valued at £135 or less to the UK responsible for paying any import VAT that is due.

January 1 – US STOP Act: the USPS has made it plain that from this date parcels will be refused entry into the United States and returned to origin if they do not meet the higher threshold level for advance electronic data (AED).

Martha Johnson, a spokesperson for the USPS, said: “Postal shipments containing goods not accompanied by AED will be considered inadmissible.”

March 15 – ICS2: Postal operators will no longer be exempt from having to make entry summary declarations into the Import Control System before moving goods into or through EU customs territory.

Under ICS2, shipments without the right data will no longer be allowed with the likelihood of severe delays in customs and increased costs.

July – EU VAT Exemption Removal: Abolition of exemption from VAT on low value items under €22. The changes mean that EU and non-EU sellers will charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below.

July – Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS): Modernising of VAT for cross-border eCommerce via the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) making the retailer, web shop or marketplace liable for the declaration and payment of VAT to the country of destination.

Hurricane Commerce was founded in 2016 to provide customers with industry-leading solutions to changing and evolving regulations and laws impacting cross-border eCommerce trade.

From this starting point, we have created our lightning quick Zephyr API which enhances the quality of parcel data.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can, on an item by item API call base, provide for a real time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. The screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items that is sent to Hurricane takes no more than 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, our Aura API covers the three areas of duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening.

An API call via Aura is super-fast with throughput tested at 640 transactions per second. One single call can perform these three critical cross-border functions, presenting the data back in real-time.

To find out more about Hurricane’s solutions, contact sales@hurricanecommerce.com.

 

Hurricane in the media:

CEP Research – 2021 will be a year of huge change for cross-border eCommerce

Tamebay – Regulatory change to test cross-border traders in 2021

 

Freightwaves highlights “speed and efficiency” of Hurricane technology

Freightwaves’ American Shipper has described how Hurricane’s technology “will foster speed and efficiency” and help postal operators meet the regulatory requirements for advanced electronic data (AED) from January 1, 2021.

The leading logistics media platform highlighted Hurricane’s game-changing Zephyr API solution in an article looking at the likely impact of the enforcement of the US STOP Act.

Freightwaves stated: “Effective Jan. 1, the U.S. government will refuse to clear international mail parcel shipments if electronic documentation allowing U.S. Customs officials to check for illegal opioids isn’t transmitted in advance of the shipment’s arrival. Despite having more than two years to prepare, the international postal supply chain will likely miss the deadline.”

According to the OIG, Posts in 135 countries and territories were still unable to send AED to the USPS as of March this year.

The USPS has made it clear that as of January 1, complete and valid customs clearance data will be mandatory – otherwise parcels will be refused and returned to origin.

Freightwaves went on: “Hurricane Commerce, an IT provider that specializes in cross-border e-commerce trade data and compliance technology, warned in a Nov. 16 communique that, unless the situation changes, hundreds of millions of parcels will be denied entry into the U.S. and may be returned to their origins. “This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity,” said Hurricane Commerce CEO Martyn Noble.

“Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched a product called Zephyr, which it said allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data and to receive additional pertinent or missing information all under one “quick-check” function. Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can provide for real-time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds, the company said.”

The article concluded: “There is cause for optimism. The UPU, U.S. and EU requirements will push international posts to accelerate AED compliance. USPS and other international posts are helping less-advanced nations by providing technical and financial support. New technology — such as that being offered by Hurricane Commerce — will foster speed and efficiency.”

Read the full article https://www.freightwaves.com/news/opioid-crackdown-deadline-for-international-mail-on-brink-of-miss

Hurricane makes the news around the world

Hurricane Commerce has been making headlines across the global postal and logistics media.

Leading publications including Parcel & Post Technology International, Air Cargo, Post & Parcel, the Handy Shipping Guide, Lloyds Loading List and The Loadstar have all carried articles looking at the likely impact of Brexit and the US STOP Act on cross-border eCommerce trade after January 1, 2021.

The Loadstar article focussed on Hurricane’s warning that as many as 700 million mail items could be rejected for not having the complete and valid advance electronic data required under the STOP Act in just 30 days’ time.

This was confirmed by Martha Johnson, spokesperson for the United States Postal Service (USPS) who told The Loadstar: ““Postal shipments containing goods not accompanied by AED will be considered inadmissible.”

To read The Loadstar article in full visit https://theloadstar.com/tougher-us-drug-legislation-set-to-derail-millions-of-parcels-on-1-january/

Meanwhile, Hurricane’s Chief Content and Compliance Officer, Martin Palmer, has been quoted at length discussing the looming “chaos” of Brexit on the cross-border shipment of eCommerce parcels.

Martin said: “This is not just about the UK and trading into the EU; it is also about the remaining 27 EU member countries and their cross-border trade into the UK.”

Read Martin’s thoughts in full on the Post & Parcel website –

https://postandparcel.info/127999/news/e-commerce/hurricane-commerce-time-is-running-out-to-get-brexit-ready/

Hurricane co-founders talk Brexit, STOP Act and other regulatory challenges in Postal Hub podcast

Hurricane CEO Martyn Noble and fellow co-founder David Spottiswood have been interviewed for the latest episode of the Postal Hub Podcast.

Ian Kerr interviewed Martyn and David to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing posts at the start of 2021.

They include the full enforcement of the US STOP Act, Brexit, ICS2 and the removal of the exemption from VAT on small parcels.

Martyn and David discuss at length not just the challenges posed by tightening regulations, but also the huge opportunities in cross-border eCommerce trade if the posts along with carriers, merchants and marketplaces get it right.

They also talk about the fine margins between great customer service and poor customer service.

Crucial to success is the provision of complete and valid customs clearance data which will help to ensure the smooth flow of goods around the globe.

You can listen to the podcast here – http://www.thepostalhub.com/podcasts/episode-219-brexit-stop-act-cross-border-ecommerce

Hurricane Commerce and Lyngsoe Systems hold cross-border trade webinar

The growth in cross-border eCommerce provides huge opportunities for postal operators and their customers.

But only by being prepared for Brexit and other major new regulations such as ICS2 and the EU VAT modernisation package can operators hope to protect and grow their revenues.

In today’s world, nothing moves without the right data. Not having it means long delays in customs, additional costs and unhappy customers.

Hurricane Commerce recently teamed up with Lyngsoe Systems for a webinar exploring some of the challenges faced by postal operators and how they can be prepared for Brexit on January 1.

Taking part in the webinar were Rob Dundas, Business Development Director for Hurricane Commerce and Poul-Erik Jorgensen, a business consultant with Lyngsoe Systems.

The webinar was moderated by Shannon Diett, who held several senior management roles with DHL before recently becoming an independent consultant in the postal and logistics sector.

To listen to the webinar, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/5397066485409815052

Jayne headshot

Q&A with Jayne James, Business Development Director

In the latest of our Q&A sessions with key members of the Hurricane Commerce team we catch up with Business Development Director Jayne James.

 

Tell us about your early career and how you moved into the world of international eCommerce?

I started my sales career in directory advertising which meant being away from home on specific campaigns throughout the year particularly close to print deadlines.

Targets were tough and the hours more so but sales training was excellent, the best anyone could have at that time.

In those days, we had no mobiles, laptops or sat nav which meant we had to rely on A–Z maps and directions from customers to find them.

Following the birth of my son in 1994 I realised this would not work and 5 months later I joined DHL Express and, subsequently, Deutsche Post, working in various roles in international express, parcels, and mail.

 

You briefly switched from international eCommerce and shipping to owning your own events and marketing start-up. What prompted this move?

I always like a challenge. My partner designed a boutique spa hotel in Andalucía and it was my job to market it globally and try and fill it 300 days a year.

I started by inviting some of the best online holiday agents to visit and following their recommendations we started to attract the right customers who came back regularly each year.

The books were full, so what did I do next? The strategy was to sell the property and move back to the UK. Thankfully the 3-year plan was a success and I was able to move on to the next chapter of my career.

 

How did you come to be so involved in the Chinese eCommerce and logistics markets?

During the eCommerce boom Chinese businesses became incredibly savvy and found that they had the infrastructure to handle the shipping process themselves, but just needed local knowledge on customs process and final mile deliveries.

china ecommerce

My role was to be that contact who could supply them with the customs processes for Europe and aid in the final mile delivery process. This allowed me to build good relationships and have a great career helping Chinese businesses successfully trade cross-border.

Working with Chinese businesses is incredibly rewarding. If they know how they need to improve their service, particularly improving transit times and reducing costs, then they are very hardworking and focussed to accomplish their goals. This makes collaboration with them straightforward as they are always quick to adopt any solution to enable them to improve the end-to-end process.

 

What is it about the Asian and, more specifically, the Chinese market that makes them so unique and such a big opportunity?

China has a sophisticated IT infrastructure which allows businesses to generate high sales and volumes, with a focus on short transit times. Because of this, a package from China to the UK is capable of only taking 4-5 days door-to-door nowadays.

This is incredible considering all the touch points of the supply chain, from receipt of order to airfreight, customs and handover to the final mile delivery in the destination country.

This does require businesses to provide accurate data with any packages, otherwise they can get caught in customs until the information is provided. This can drastically impact transit times and the overall customer experience.

However, having accurate data brings its own challenges as the different regional languages and dialects make it difficult to always have correct translations of descriptions and codes available.

 

What drew you to Hurricane?

Quite simply, the people and the technology.

I have worked with both Martyn Noble (CEO and Chairman) and Ash Dexter (CFO) since the mid-1990s and I trust and respect them and the rest of the Hurricane team.

Alongside this, the data enhancement and compliance products Hurricane has created are perfect to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by the continuing huge growth in cross-border eCommerce trade.

 

How has Coronavirus changed the focus of businesses?

eCommerce has grown exponentially for many businesses in the logistics and delivery sector. This has meant that postal operators, couriers and logistics providers have had to evaluate their delivery services and adapt to meet the expectations of the customer.

Food, homeware, furniture as well as fashion and footwear can now be delivered to your door, and, although it has allowed physical stores to remain open in another form, it has meant there are more online returns to deal with, adding further cost for the delivery companies.

As a sales person, not travelling to meet customers is the main drawback. Face-to-face meetings have a different perspective and allow you to better connect with someone. Having said this, the Hurricane team has adapted quickly to ensure its sales and marketing processes are as strong as ever.

Ian's profile inside the Hurricane swirl logo

Q&A with Ian Venner, Hurricane Commerce’s Chief Technology Officer

Ground-breaking technology is at the heart of Hurricane Commerce’s solutions to ensure frictionless cross-border eCommerce trade. We recently caught up with CTO Ian Venner to find out more about how Hurricane’s solutions first came about and how they continue to evolve to meet the needs of customers.

What is your background, and how did you come to be involved in Hurricane?

‘Diverse’ would be the best word to describe my background. From designing decryption systems for the birth of satellite television, to working with all the major Hollywood Studios, to helping Samsung launch a new range of mobile phones, it has never been dull.

I first worked with Martyn Noble and Ashley Dexter, our CEO and CFO, around 8 years ago where I was brought into the online ticketing platform they set up to get the systems to work as they were supposed to.

After this successful project, we went our separate ways and I moved back into consultancy. Then a little over 4 years ago, I got a call from Martyn asking whether I was interested in a new project that he was considering setting up. After a few months of refining the idea and getting more information we set the company up at the end of 2016 and I joined full time at the beginning of 2017.

What is it about Hurricane’s technology that makes it so exciting?

One of the key things that attracted me to Hurricane was the blank piece of paper from a technology and personnel perspective. No legacy systems to deal with and no incumbent staff. This allowed us to custom build a team and engineer a solution that is not just fit for purpose now but is ready for our clients’ future requirements.

Technology gadgets

We are pushing at the edge of what is possible from a technology perspective, utilising existing technologies in new and innovative ways, and developing new technology when existing technologies were not good enough.

Why was it so important to build a strong and diverse team that can pull experience from Banking, Betting and Music backgrounds?

With the tech team being such a big part of Hurricane, it was important to not be too restrictive in how we built the team.

Being able to attract the best people without being geographically constrained was key to us being able to build the team and the solutions that Hurricane required.

Within the board members I am the odd one out, not being from the logistics or postal industries. I did, however, have my first eCommerce website in 1992! It means we are not constrained and can expand our thinking outside the box.

As a team we have worked in wide and varied industries and for well-known names including Universal Music Group, Adidas, Cable and Wireless, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Littlewoods Football Pools, Deloitte, Samsung, Sony Pictures, Ministry of Sound, General Motors, LG and all the major players in the UK banking sector.

This brings experience in diverse industries and with varied systems. It also means we have all worked in high volume, high availability systems, many with very tight regulation or stringent security, all of which is key to our global clients.

How have Hurricane’s solutions developed from the initial concept to current day?

The first version of Hurricane’s API was known as the Landed Cost Engine and was a simple duty and tax calculator with a simple classification search engine. This was quickly superseded by v2 known as the Landed Cost and Compliance Engine. We added prohibited and restricted goods checking and denied parties screening. It was at this time that we created Bluestone.

Bluestone is our deep learning Natural Language Processing (NLP), Artificial Intelligence (AI) classification service. Too many companies use the term AI now when all they have is a heuristic or smart search system, with some parameters that can be tweaked. This is not AI. Bluestone learns as it classifies and gets better, ever refining its capabilities. It is therefore a true AI.

At the beginning of 2020 we rebranded LCCE to ‘Aura’ and released v3 of the solution. This added more flexibility for our clients, and allowed calculations and lookups to take place without the need to pre-classify items. We have just released v3.1 of Aura, which adds translation, IP based destination lookup and additional features around delivery method and flexibility.

At the end of 2019, I started looking at building a greater than 6-digit classification service. This was initially a 2-stage process, so you would get a HS6 code and then use that to select a suitable 10-digit code. This was the initial foundations for Zephyr. The final pieces of making an automated suitable 10-digit solution dropped into place when I was reading a research paper on genome sequencing late one night. Fuelled by caffeine something clicked, and I made a connection.

I spent the next few weeks writing and playing with 4 distinct algorithms which are now at the heart of Zephyr.

Why is Zephyr such a game changer?

Not coming from the industry means I am not constrained by industry thinking. Being told that something is not possible is always a catalyst for me to prove people wrong.

My career is littered with similar instances, where what has emerged has in several occasions gone on to become the norm in that industry. From automotive manufacture to comparative quotation systems, to live TV on mobile devices (I did it first over 2.5G!).

This is also the case with Zephyr. Zephyr fills a gap the market didn’t really know it had, with a solution that was not thought possible.

Zephyr ensures that data associated with high volume traffic can be checked, validated and completed and the flow of parcels and packages keeps moving. What was previously manual processes can now be automated for a high percentage of transactions.

Zephyr also identifies poor descriptions and mismatches between HS6 and descriptions. With the advent of legislation to ensure that all goods are correctly declared, Zephyr now provides a real-time way of doing this.

What drives Hurricane’s Innovation?

While our customers play a big part in the evolution of our products and services, not being constrained by conventional thinking also has a big role in our R&D. From simplifying the integration of our API to bringing new features to it or making them even quicker, we genuinely never stop innovating.

For me, we need to be ahead of the curve in everything we do; whether that’s systems architecture, functionality or simplicity of integration. We have innovations coming in the next 6 months that we know none of our competitors have. Some of these will mean a change in how people view certain cross border requirements. As legislation becomes tighter, we will make it easier to be compliant and actually exceed those legislative requirements.

What makes Hurricane’s solutions different to the competition?

We think differently. We know that real-time is what is needed. However, our solutions go beyond that and are all written to be blisteringly quick.

From talking to people in the industry, we know that our slowest call (the AI driven Bluestone classification) is faster than our competitors’ fastest call. Our calls are so quick as to be not noticed in the time it takes to load a web page.

We are ready for massive scale. Each of our global nodes can deal with a minimum of over 2.4 billion calls a month and scaling each node is literally the click of a button, should we ever need to make more calls than that.

US Customs and Border Protection document

Is this the end of De Minimis (Low Value) clearance in the USA?

In 2016, the United States increased its De Minimis threshold to US $800 – one of the highest levels in the world.

The De Minimis level is the financial threshold level at which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) do not collect import duty.

In addition to the benefit of no duty, the clearance process for the importer, transporter, and clearance agent, may be simplified.

The De Minimis exemption applies only to low-value shipments of not more than $800 on non-restricted goods. (Certain goods such as excise, licensable goods are excluded).

We understand that the US CBP is preparing a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting a change that would eliminate the $800 De Minimis exemption for imports subject to Section 301 tariffs (China). Details are yet to be published.

Section 321 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 USC § 1321) provides for an exemption from duties for certain shipments imported having an aggregate retail value in the country of shipment of not more than $800.

Exemption under Section 321 is most applied to eCommerce, low value transactions where the seller ships directly to the buyer from a foreign country.

The removal of the $800 De Minimis exemption would not only increase the delivered price of an item to the US customer, but would also likely increase the number of checks and holds due to poor data from the shipper, additional documentation and possibly a Power of Attorney from the importer.

It may also have implications on the door-to-door delivery time. Complete and valid data will therefore become more important than ever to properly calculate your landed cost.

China, which is likely to be severely impacted by any change in US De Minimis levels, has been identified as a key origin of poor and inaccurate data.

While this proposal is at a very early stage it does mirror actions already taken by countries such as Australia and New Zealand in recent years with the removal of the GST (Sales Tax) De Minimis in their countries and the action that is being taken by EU countries in 2021, with the removal of the VAT threshold for imports.

The Covid19 pandemic has seen an exponential growth in eCommerce with huge implications for the traditional methods of importation and duty collection.

Is this just a targeted proposal aimed at improving data accuracy from China? Is this another part of the ongoing trade wars between the USA and China? Or will we see the US move completely towards the removal of Section 321 De Minimis levels?

Hurricane’s Content and Compliance team will continue to monitor these important proposed changes and keep you full informed as to their consequences for cross-border eCommerce trade.

  • Blog by Martin Palmer, Hurricane’s Chief Content and Compliance Officer.
Maureen Cori, Hurricane Commerce

Hurricane Commerce Q&A with Maureen Cori, a senior member of our Content and Compliance team.

Hurricane has experts in compliance, customs, logistics, eCommerce and technology. Here, we catch up with Maureen Cori, Hurricane’s Chief Content and Compliance Officer Designate, to find out more about her world and the ever-increasing regulations and laws which are impacting businesses across the globe.

How did you get into customs and compliance? Was it something you always wanted to do, or did you just fall into it?

In this business, they say, “you either love it or hate it”. I absolutely fell into it – and fell in love with it – hard! While in college, I got an entry level job working on ocean freight clearances and was hooked on international trade.

My original passion was rooted in the arts, but I retargeted my focus on transport and international trade. After working in a Customs Broker on ocean freight clearances, I went on to work for DHL.

I started with typing and faxing manifests and classifying goods based on manifest descriptions – vastly different from today’s world.

After years of development my growing understanding and learning led me to monitoring compliance across the business from training development, supporting sales to assisting our customers in understanding what was required to export or import.

I decided to sit for the US Customs Brokers License exam after months of courses, and I was lucky enough to be part of the 1% that passed the examination to be licensed.  Obtaining my license allowed me to manage any type of Customs Brokerage operation in the US and gave me the opportunity to be the Corporate license holder for a business.

 

How has the need for compliancy changed since you started in this industry and why has it become so important in recent years?

Compliance has always been a focus when I first started in transport and international trade, but the game and the players were quite different. It was a smaller world, and there was le

ss accessibility to all involved in the supply chain.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) created the first-ever Harmonised Tariff System, effective in 1988 – also known as Harmonized System (HS). This was the start of a major shift in compliance with some structure and clear regulated rules around product classification and duties and taxes.

The role of Customs at that time was to collect duties and taxes at the point of entry. The focus was on late filing of entry summary and duties and taxes and fines.

Everything changed post-9/11. New laws and regulations came into play, and if they had already been in place, they were now enforced. Compliance was the focus. The cost of non-conformity to these old and new laws was high, and ignorance was no longer an acceptable defence.

Understanding your customers, who do you do business with, what are red flags, became critical to business. Government agencies created partnerships with trade through voluntary programmes like Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) for example.

 

How have advancements in technology allowed improvements in compliance to occur so smoothly?

Technology was not even part of the process – manual intervention is what you relied on, and human error was always a factor. The internet was a new concept and regulators were just learning how to navigate the rules and laws around it.

Advance data is a game-changer for all, and improvements in technology have meant there is no room for error.

Regulatory authorities around the world are demanding accurate data and in many cases at wheels up or 4 hours prior to arrival at the destination. This was a culture shock for all industries and a very heavy financial burden on the private sector. Bad data creates fines, penalties, detentions, and more.

Compliance is a critical business requirement that is also a benefit. Compliance should not be considered a cost centre, but rather a selling proposition. In today’s world, businesses want transparency, accuracy, and compliance to be reputable and successful.

 

How has the Trump Presidency impacted international trade and particularly compliance?

Trump’s Presidency has seen a big shift in the US’s approach to International Trade. One such example is the introduction of the STOP ACT, which is aimed at targeting postal opioids shipped via overseas postal operators.

Advanced Data requirements are mandated to postal operators to support the STOP ACT among other things. Compliance measures will be in place to support the STOP ACT with heavy fines associated with non-compliance.

Other changes during this administration have included the China Trade Wars, additional tariffs, the new Universal Postal Union (UPU) Terminal Fees agreement and the removal of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to form the United States Mexico Canada agreement (USMC). These are all game changes in the world of compliance, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and international trade.

 

With the US election coming up later this year, how big an impact will it have on upcoming regulatory changes and the chances for more to be introduced?

I do not have a crystal ball, but I can say this is a critical election year for the United States. Regardless of the outcome, if President Trump is re-elected or if Vice President Biden is elected there will be changes ahead.

Trade relations will be something to watch closely. If it is sanctions lifted or tightened, or if we see more prohibitions or restrictions, tariff rates, or more trade wars, new regulatory changes will happen.

 

What initial steps can a business take to improve their compliance procedures?

Compliance should be the foundation for every organization and falls into two main categories: Compliance with laws and regulations and Compliance with internal policies and procedures.

Compliance, both legal and internal, is a tone that needs to come from the top of all companies as non-compliance has implications company wide. Once established, a company’s compliance programme should be regularly internal audits, and gaps identified and addressed.

Having a designated Compliance Officer within a company providing guidance to the business is critical, and in recent years has become a Board level position.

Many new businesses or current businesses that expand into international transactions do not always understand the cross functional connections to a single process and the impact it may have. Understanding your compliance requirements is the start of a Global Trade Compliance Programme.

A designated Compliance Officer within a company providing guidance to the business is essential. Mapping out processes and potential risk or remediations is recommended. Know your customers and always screen all your parties in your supply chain to ensure you are working with good people.

By having a programme in place your business can swiftly adapt and update processes and procedures when new laws or regulations come into place and be compliant.