Five trends every trade compliance professional should know about

Five trends every trade compliance professional should know about

Leonid recently attended a webinar, entitled ‘5 Trends Every Trade Compliance Professional Should Know’, organised by Descartes and Dojo.  The event was designed to stimulate discussion around current priorities for trade compliance managers and an opportunity to share best practice and learn from others.


Here’s a brief summary of the key talking points:


  1. Go back to basics.  Classifications are everything in trade compliance. Use data to get buy-in from the business to run an audit and cleanse the database so that you feel empowered to move forwards with everything in good order.  For those starting a new job, it’s an ideal task to set yourself from day one – so you can start as you mean to carry on, with a strong foundation.


  1. Leadership skill sets are changing. In 2024, companies will likely see a shift in leadership. It’s no longer enough to simply have the technical skills; trade compliance leaders must be first and foremost great strategists. When you look at typical backgrounds in this industry, some leaders came from the trade compliance world, but most did not. In many ways it makes sense. When a leader with a generalist background leaves but the technical know-how is ingrained in the team as a whole, it leaves the business far less exposed. Some would call this a “risk-centric approach” to trade compliance management.


  1. Re-consider the role of brokers.  Ask yourself this, why do you use a broker?  Consider what you want to achieve from them and then you can set targets and restructure the relationship. They are not your compliance officers, so bear that in mind and use your procurement team to ask the more obvious questions, so you challenge them - but without damaging your relationship with them. 


  1. Challenge your suppliers.  Companies are becoming ever-more discerning in their use of suppliers. Average won’t cut it – they have to be exceptional, to keep the relationship alive. Take a look at your suppliers and ask what value do they really add – all the while keeping in mind clear business objectives.


  1. Green deals and forced labour.  While not strictly speaking a trade compliance remit, there is an obligation to educate the sustainability team on customs and EUDR regulations, so that they can implement the right measures with respect to green deals and other human rights issues.


  1. An additional 6th trend was added to the mix: go beyond the basic sanctions screening and really dig deep on your due diligence, when it comes to working with other entities. A company may say all the right things, but a more through sanctions check could well uncover more vital details. This is an important step in protecting your business’ reputation. 


With thanks to the organisers and speakers for their insights:


Nicolas Urien and Thibaut Grandjean-Vernet from Dojo and Konrad Preuninger from Descartes.