Free (Trade) Lunch

Posted by Gregory Nichols

10/14/15 2:25 PM

Free (Trade) LunchWhen I was growing up my father had a few signs posted on the door of his office and one that said ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch’. As a young child, I remember being confused by it and once I understood its implication as a teenager I was annoyed by it. It implied that I was going to have to actually do something to get something good. When seeing what often happens with Free Trade Agreements (FTA) usage in Asia, I sometimes think of that phrase and wonder how companies, and trade compliance officers, forget that they have to actually do something to reap the benefits of the FTA. 

In the past couple months there have been a few public announcements by Customs agencies in Asia related to investigations into misuse of some of the FTA in the region as well as other preferential duty programs. In Thailand, a special investigation is trying to collect over $400 million USD in retroactive duties and penalties from a couple of global automotive companies. This is an unprecedented amount of money. In India, a global consumer electronics company is on the line for over $45 million USD due to apparent violations of the ASEAN-India FTA. 

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Topics: Best Practices, Risk

Risk Mitigation – Thoughts While Traveling

Posted by Jim Conrad

10/8/15 8:30 AM

Risk Mitigation - Thoughts While TravelingI will be safely flying to Seattle tonight. From Charleston, SC to Boston and then on to Seattle. I listened to the Governor of South Carolina talk about assessing the ongoing risk and damage to the environment, to assets and to people’s lives. There are currently more than 500 roads closed in South Carolina. A cascade of dams are being breached. As my wife, Liz was driving us through the 18” of water on the road we were looking around at the carnage and it got me thinking about how this risk might have been assessed and mitigated earlier versus just assessing and repairing the damage after the fact.

In a similar manner, unidentified risks can lead to unexpected damage to your company. Experience tells us that it often starts with a single-issue request for information (CF28) from Customs and Border Protection and cascades like those dams, where each failure swiftly leads to the uncovering of others. I am sure that you have seen this. One classification inquiry leads to a second, and a third and then a request for a sample, and documents confirming transaction value. Then what about those free trade claims? It is very difficult to stop the process once it starts.

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Topics: Best Practices, Risk