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Establishing a Compliance Plan for 2014

As we quickly approach 2014, the timing is right to improve your company’s overall import compliance. 2014 can be the year to put in motion new ideas, or to finally address old ideas that have been placed on the back burner.  Below you will find a blueprint for establishing your compliance plan, as well as a list of projects that will help you drive increased compliance.   

Establishing a plan
Starting the New Year off with the right momentum is the key for having a successful and compliant year. The first and most important thing that a company can do is define and outline your compliance goals and strategy for the New Year.  The goals should be reachable, understandable and quantifiable.  The overall strategy should be one that aims for compliance as well as efficiency and cost avoidance. As an example, a goal this year might be to maximize savings opportunity by using a new or different free trade agreement. This is a goal that  can be measured in duty avoidance and can be accomplished by qualifying items for free.  
The second item of importance is to get the correct people involved.  Stakeholders and persons who have a role in the import process (purchasing, finance, receiving and engineering) will be a big part of identifying and accomplishing your goals. You may have to notify, train and even assist these stakeholders along the way, but,  in the end,  having all parties working in one direction will make accomplishing your goals that much easier.  
Finally, in order to accomplish your goals, it is crucial to have the management team buy into all of your key compliance goals. Getting management buy- in is done by making the business case for the need to have a robust compliance plan. The business case is made by showing the value it will bring; that you have capabilities to get it done on time and the risk that the company faces if any lingering compliance issues go unaddressed.  
It is of the highest importance to track your progress throughout the year and share the results as necessary with management.


There is no finer way to start off  the New Year than with a compliance assessment.  During an assessment,  a company’s import procedures and transactions will be looked at closely with a program designed to resemble a customs focused assessment (customs audit). 
This self-assessment will include a detailed look at all import processes to make sure they demonstrate that an importer is exhibiting reasonable care.  The assessment will also look at a reasonable sampling of customs data to determine if imports have been imported correctly, and if the aforementioned import processes were followed correctly. Lastly, a self-assessment will provide an importer with an opportunity to see if they are in compliance with Customs (CBP) recordkeeping requirements. 

Broker Management
A company can have all of the right personnel and the right process in place from a compliance standpoint, but if this company is not proactively managing their customs brokers, then they are not correctly managing their compliance. An importer’s process is only as strong as the relationship they have with their customs broker.  This relationship should include: SOP s, audits and metrics. All brokers should have customized SOP s in place that outline the broker’s scope.   An importer should measure how their broker is doing, and review performance with brokers on a regular basis. This is the best way to ensure that you are getting the best performance out of your  broker. This is also a great tool when it comes time to negotiate broker rates. 

Duty Reduction Study
Is your company taking advantage of any and all potential special programs or duty deferral options? There are many ways a company can save on customs duties. Free trade agreements, duty drawback, US Goods Returned, FTZ and TIB are just a few of the many ways an importer can save dollars by avoiding customs duty.  An examination of your import data, as well as your manufacturing and purchasing practices, may reveal opportunities that you have not yet begun to take advantage of.  With these programs comes increased risk, but the savings, if they are done right, will make the process worthwhile.  

Trade Strategy
Are you currently monitoring or running reports on your import data?  Having data that shows what items are being imported, by HTS, value, location, and duty, is an import strategic tool for any importer.  This data can be used for conducting internal compliance reviews, but it can also help assist in areas such as purchasing, sourcing and transportation. Knowing where materials are coming from and how much it is costing to import them is valuable information.  Having access and analyzing this data will allow you to look for opportunities to save and will allow you to track progress. 

Implementing any of the above strategies will take time, expertise and resources.  If you feel that your company could use some assistance in any of these areas, please contact Allyn International.   Incorporated in 1992, Allyn is a privately held professional services firm that employs 160 personnel in nine  countries. 

Allyn has experience in the following industries: Electronics, Automotive, Power Generation, Oil and Gas, Drilling and Mining, Textiles, Chemicals, Paints and Coatings, Telecommunications, Computing, Automotive, Jewelry,  and Process Equipment. 

Aside from Global Trade Compliance,   Allyn provides the following services to our clients: Logistics Management, Supply Chain Consulting, and  Tax Management.
Allyn’s mission is “p roviding exceptional services for the global marketplace, enabling our customers to succeed by focusing on their core business, while inspiring our employees to achieve their full potential.” 
If you would like more information on this or any other Global Trade Compliance matter,  please visit us at, or contact Allyn at (239) 489-9900 or  


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