Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Advisory: Finding a Willing Buyer Only One Part of the Export Process
Finding a Willing Buyer Only One Part of the Export Process
Exporters Looking to Boost Business Need to Mind Rules and Regulations Too
The Obama administration is launching a government-wide effort to double U.S. exports over the next five years as part of a plan to increase domestic employment and boost the U.S. economy. However, companies looking to take advantage of the new National Export Initiative to break into new markets should be aware that shipping goods overseas comes with potential perils as well as opportunities.
As part of the NEI, the federal government plans to increase its trade advocacy efforts, including educating U.S. companies about opportunities overseas, directly connecting them with new customers and advocating more forcefully for their interests. The NEI will also include a focus on improving access to export financing and helping to remove barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting access to foreign markets. Only a very small percentage of U.S. companies currently export their products, and of those that do, 58% export to only one country. The Obama administration is looking to increase these figures in the expectation that doing so will also increase employment.
However, warns Doug Jacobson, head of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg’s export controls practice group, while increasing the number of U.S. companies that export and increasing trade promotion assistance are laudable goals, U.S. exporters must be aware that finding a willing buyer is only the first step in the exporting process.
“In addition to taking the necessary steps to ensure they are paid for their goods, U.S. exporters must be aware of the wide range of U.S. regulatory and legal issues applicable to exports,” Jacobson said. “The benefits of exporting can be great for U.S. companies, but the penalties for violating export laws and regulations can be severe. ST&R often represents exporters in enforcement actions that learn of their export compliance obligations only after they receive an administrative subpoena from the Bureau of Industry and Security or the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Many of those violations could have been avoided if the exporters understood their export compliance obligations in advance.”
Examples of the important compliance-related issues that U.S. exporters should be aware of when selling goods overseas include the following.
Ultimate Destination. U.S. export restrictions and licensing requirements vary by the country of destination. Some countries are subject to comprehensive embargoes, while others are subject to targeted sanctions directed at certain individuals and companies.
Jurisdiction and Classification of Goods. Proper jurisdiction and classification of goods under the Export Administration Regulations or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations is required to determine export licensing requirements and end-use and end-user restrictions for all products being exported from the U.S. In addition, the proper export classification is required to be declared in the Electronic Export Information filing that must be transmitted via the Automated Export System.
Know Your Customer. To avoid engaging in transactions with parties that have been denied export privileges or are subject to U.S. sanctions, exporters should screen all customers and parties involved in the export against the government’s various restricted party lists.
Anti-boycott Compliance. Boycott requests, which often contain the words “boycott” or “blacklist” or provisions prohibiting the importation of goods from certain countries, are often found in documents involving sales to the Middle East, including purchase orders, tenders, contracts, shipping requests and letters of credit. Certain boycott requests must be reported to the Bureau of Industry and Security.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA prohibits U.S. persons and their agents from making prohibited payments to foreign government officials to obtain and keep business.
For more information on these issues, or how ST&R can help you increase your exports while remaining compliant with applicable laws and regulations, please contact Doug Jacobson at (202) 216-9307.
You can also stay up-to-date on the latest developments on this issue by subscribing to ST&R’s WorldTrade\INTERACTIVE daily e-newsletter.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A., is a customs and international trade law firm concentrating in assisting clients with the global movement of goods, ideas and personnel and the setting of global trade policy. Our affiliated consulting company, Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services Inc., is a leading provider of trade-related management and consulting services to government and industry. For more information about ST&R and STTAS, please visit our Web site.
Reprinted with permission of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.