We would first like to wish all of our clients, friends and associates a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2005. As we begin another year we realize that we are faced with a period of enormous opportunities and challenges. In no area is this truer than in the area of international trade. International trade has become the lifeblood of many companies as well as our nation. Opportunities abound for companies large and small to find new markets, vendors, and partners across the globe. However, significant challenges mirror all of these opportunities.
Today companies must not only deal with increasing competition from domestic and foreign companies but must also address issues which only a few years ago most executives would have considered beyond the scope of their responsibility. Since "9/11" government agencies have undergone a reorganization of unprecedented proportion. The historic Customs objective of revenue protection has been superseded by the overriding issue of security. Supply chain security is not merely a U.S. issue it has become a global initiative and has been identified as such by the World Customs Organization. In conjunction with the country’s new objective Congress has passed several trade-related bills. These include the Trade Act of 2002, which mandated the early electronic transmission of relevant import and export information - Advance Manifest Reporting, the Bio-Terrorism Act, which is designed to safeguard our nation’s food supply, and the Miscellaneous Trade Act, which significantly modified traditional Customs administrative appeal procedures. Moreover, the Bureau of Industry and Security as well as other agencies are continually modifying the U.S. export requirements, e.g. the Syrian embargo. In addition, Customs continues to encourage companies to secure their supply chains through C-TPAT participation.
Add to these requirements the impact of the post Enron and WorldCom era in which the government began mandating that executives not only be aware of but that also be responsible for what occurs in their companies, i.e., Sarbanes-Oxley, and finally, shareholders began requiring company management to institute and comply with stringent internal corporate governance programs.
All of these changes require companies to first recognize that complying with this new labyrinth of regulations is essential to their financial success. It also requires that companies cease viewing imports and exports as a series of independent transactions but rather that they constitute parts to a comprehensive corporate-wide process and must be addressed as such. We realize that many companies have undergone significant restructuring in the past years, which in many instances has resulted in fewer employees having greater responsibilities.
In order to assist companies address these challenges we are:
- Conducting additional training sessions on various import-export related issues
- These training sessions may include both public seminars as well as in-house training sessions that are geared to company specific issues
- Since we believe that import and export issues must be viewed from a corporate-wide basis we assist companies in:
- conducting executive awareness sessions
- conducting internal compliance reviews and audits
- developing compliance procedures
- drafting written compliance manuals
- identifying and quantifying shortcomings and deficiencies, and if necessary
- filing disclosures with the relevant government agency
We believe that these services will assist companies in meeting the increasingly stringent and complex requirements involved in the international trade arena with the reduced internal resources most companies are experiencing.
Finally, as a law firm any information discovered is protected by attorney-client privilege. If you have any questions concerning these services please do not hesitate to contact us.