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Business Group Promotes Standardized Criteria for Designating Trusted Traders

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The International Chamber of Commerce recently published a set of 59 supply chain security best practices that businesses and border authorities can use to develop “a harmonized understanding of what criteria should be used to objectively judge whether a company meets the definition of trusted trader.” The ICC notes that its guidelines are not binding and that their observance does not exempt traders from compliance with local law.

As part of a growing number of authorized economic operator programs, trusted traders receive benefits such as expedited border clearance in return for investments in security and compliance. The measures identified by the ICC as representative of trusted traders are broken down into categories of management engagement, internal coordination, controlled environment, customs compliance, intellectual property, export and import controls, logistics management, brokers and agents, security, recourse to experts, personnel skills, automated systems, and engagement with government. Highlights of these measures include the following.

- ensuring that a senior manager with broad authority over all pertinent staff is assigned and accountable for oversight of internal trade compliance

- assuring that all departments with a role in importation or exportation are internally coordinated with the assignment of specific written responsibilities reflected in internal procedures

- maintaining programs to independently test internal processes on a risk basis, taking into account the magnitude of effect and probability of occurrence of errors or omissions in customs declarations

- self-disclosing identified errors or omissions in customs declarations to the relevant authorities without delay, as required by national legislation

- assuring compliance with customs rules, including rules of classification, valuation and origin, and providing assurance for the payment of duties and applicable taxes

- preparing truthful and accurate documents and systematically auditing declarations against internal documents and accounting records to ensure accuracy

- in sourcing copyrighted or trademarked and patented goods, using affirmative processes to assure intellectual property rights have not been violated

- taking cautionary steps to assure that exported goods are not ultimately destined to prohibited destinations, entities or persons

- assuring that goods not permitted to be sold in the country of manufacture or production are not exported without the prior consent of the competent authority of the importing country

- performing background checks on logistics service providers, brokers, agents and new employees (as allowed by national legislation)

- providing adequate direction to brokers and agents, and employing a system of post audit, to assure proper filing of declarations

- maintaining access controls to facilities and computers, using ISO certified conveyance security seals and using tamper-evident means to secure loose pallets or pieces

- using the resources of third-party lawyers, specialists, consultants, chambers of commerce, associations and government agencies, as needed

- employing automated systems to communicate with brokers and government agencies (where possible) and receive notifications from border agencies and external sources

- engaging with government authorities as often as possible in discussions on improvement of processes, security and business facilitation

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