Trade Compliance

GHY discusses changes to international trade regulations and explores cutting-edge compliance strategies.

Fly Fishing and the Current Trade Environment

Posted August 02, 2018

Write a blog post they said. It would be easy they said. Alas, I’ve stewed about what tidbit of information “I” can share with the trade community that someone would find of value? It then came to me, in the midst of changing a fly!

A fly? Yes, a fly – a fishing fly that is. As an avid angler who resides in the great state of Montana, I’ve spent a lot of time on rivers and lakes in constant search of that ONE fly. That ideal fly that will irresistably lure a beautiful rainbow or brown trout into eating it before taking my fly line out into the water as they frantically evaluate what just happened. Then the sound of my fishing reel spiraling out of control, as the rush of adrenaline pumps through my veins... While I sit here fondly day dreaming about my most recent fishing trip on the Gallatin River, I’m reminded what came to me in the middle of changing that fly at the end of my line.

It occurred to me that fishing, is a lot like the trade climate we live in today. Fear, uncertainty and doubt about all the unknown variables and circumstances we cannot control are, for obvious reasons, currently running at the highest levels in years. 

In fishing, I have been fearful about: breaking my rod; seeing a bear while fishing; falling on a slippery rock; falling in the river and having my waders fill with water (all of which have happened). From a professional standpoint, I have recently found myself in a similar state of anxiety worrying about the potentially damaging impact all of the new tariffs being imposed by the U.S. and other countries could have on our clients’ bottom line.

While fishing I have read the water and been doubtful there is a fish in that shallow of water, only to be delightfully surprised when my dry fly was gulped by the jaws of a hungry trout. In business, I seriously doubted that the threats of increased tariffs would be implemented. Unfortunately, my skepticism in this instance proved to be wrong and now here we are all treading in uncertain waters that are swirling from what looks to be a rapidly escalating trade war.

What can we do in uncertain times or while navigating treacherous waters? Remain flexible, be patient, avoid panic and trust the process. It is important to be proactive and establish procedures and contingency plans to address what we can, to ensure the ability to safely travel through the chaos; before it happens. We need to constantly educate ourselves, so we understand our risk, liability and how to appropriately deal with ever-changing circumstances.

It is unknown how long we will have to deal with the stressful climate of uncertainty that has become our reality, at least for the time being. When tariffs seem too big and it all feels too serious in the trade community, we need to be willing to adjust to the conditions and try something different, even if it is just temporary. We are where we are, right now. We’re all doing the best we can to successfully wade through the troubled waters, so take a breath, hug your Customs Broker and think twice before you import steel or aluminum hooks to be used in tying that “money fly” which is sure to land a lunker.   

And when all else fails, don’t be afraid to change your fly – you never know what you might land with that new bug on that water!

One thing is for sure, as I wait for the murky, chaotic waters of trade to clear and calm, I’m not afraid to swap out my Calvin Klein for Cabela’s and stilettos for Simms gear to get outside and embrace the unknown that comes with the outdoor adventure. 

Linda Zyvoloski, LCB, CCS

Senior Customs Associate - FDA Specialist

GHY International | Geo. H. Young & Co. Ltd. | GHY USA, Inc.

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