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Doing business and mitigating risk internationally can be tricky, especially if you import and export. There is so much to know about the import and export business and if you do not know all of the rules and regulations then your business can fail very quickly. One way to ensure that your business succeeds when importing and exporting is to mitigate risks where you can. Today we are going to go over ways you and your business can mitigate risk when importing and exporting.
Pay attention to the details and do not take short cuts. Do this by developing formal import and export policies and standard operating procedures. This is like business 101. Create a customs manual specific to your operation. A document like this will be an overview of your business. You will articulate where you import from and export to. You will state any customs programs you participate in and outline your key international processes. This will ensure that no step is overlooked when doing business. All employees need to have a good understanding of this document.
Be organized and document everything. This is important because Customs can review your previous five years’ worth of import transactions. If there is anything that looks odd or if Customs thinks you are breaking the law then your business is in big trouble. The best way to record keep is to do it electronically through the cloud or outsource it to a trade partner such as a customs broker.
Invest time in and prioritize self-audits. Again, this is to avoid problems with Customs. You need to make sure that your trade processes are current with things like the classification of your goods or parts database, any required customs or government agency documentation, or maybe a NAFTA Certificate of Origin. Self-audit annually at the very least. To be safe it is always recommended to do a mid-year or quarterly review as well.
Doing these things from the get go is the best way to mitigate all risks when it comes to importing and exporting. Working with a customs broker is never a bad idea but if you have a good foundation, a broker is not always necessary. Do the right things up front so your business can survive the tricky import and export industry.