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Talking About Compliance No Substitute for Investment in Training

Posted August 11, 2016

A recent survey by the Global Trade Academy of software and trade management solutions provider Amber Road found that many U.S. companies engaged in international trade and commerce still don’t see compliance training as a priority.

Over half (56%) of the more than 300 executives surveyed said their company doesn’t invest in trade compliance training; this despite almost three-quarters (73%) of their organizations having a formal trade compliance plan. Moreover, roughly a third of the respondents said their company actually had no budget at all in place to spend for training employees on trade compliance.

This finding came as somewhat of a surprise to the researchers given that almost 1 in 3 (28%) of the respondents admitting to having been fined or warned by government agencies about their non-compliance with various trade laws.      

Other than facing possible fines and other violations for failing to comply with trade laws, not understanding trade compliance “is causing many companies to leave money on the table,” the report states. “Many organizations are not taking advantage of preferential trade programs, including duty drawback, free trade agreements (FTAs) and free trade zones, yet companies with trained staff that can take advantage of these programs can save millions of dollars.”

The Amber Road survey also discovered a contradictory gap between how companies plan for trade compliance, but often fail to take action, leading the report’s authors to wonder “are companies talking the talk and not walking the walk?”

Although 69% of respondents said they have on-going trade compliance training for employees, few companies are providing employees with the means to actually train. Almost half (45%) of survey respondents said they don’t require trade compliance training as part of employee professional development and a similar number said their company doesn’t require trade compliance training on an annual basis.

“Given that 100% of companies surveyed are subject to either the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or both, one would expect a greater commitment to training,” the authors say.

One possible reason for the discrepancies in training plans versus actual training investment could be that some executives are under the impression that their companies are offering more training that what they actually are, the report suggests.

Click here to download the Amber Road white paper (registration required).