World Trade laws and guidance provisions are complex and dynamic. If sudden significant regulatory changes are required, is your Trade Compliance program flexible and agile enough to adjust quickly? What are the steps, and how do you manage them effectively? The compliance framework must be dynamic and capable of responding swiftly to changes.

Top-level commitment, clear accountability and a strategic plan will guarantee success. Individuals and entities are required to assess the nature of the compliance program, supply chain and regions where they trade and operate to devise an appropriate compliance framework.  It is important to react quickly to avoid the risk of infringing on the new legislation to prevent enforcement action tomorrow. Managing regulatory changes takes commitment, proficiency, and attention. Robust due diligence is a must. Below are some best practices to make the regulatory change process more manageable.

  1. Understand the law. If you are not a legal adviser or in a related profession, it isn’t easy to interpret the regulations correctly. Legal counsel will come in handy to ensure that regulations are understood to implement correct processes.
  2. Maintaining awareness is key. Monitor regulatory agency websites and official communications, signing up for alerts and newsletters. Also look at enforcement orders and actions to learn about and avoid pitfalls from past cases, and stay abreast of new requirements and procedures. An RSS feed reader is helpful, as it automatically curates updates from different sites or news outlets in one designated place.
  3. Create a process map. Assess the impact of new regulatory changes in your company and map out where they must be applied. Usually, changes will apply to parts of your business rather than the whole organization. See what other areas are affected by a knock-on effect and analyze what adjustments may be required. Trade Compliance is the responsibility of all employees.
  4. The proper dissemination of information to the areas affected is essential. Determine how employees will be engaged in the compliance process. Depending on the complexity of the changes, the task could be as simple as providing training to the affected employees. They need to understand the risks and be engaged in achieving compliance to avoid penalties. These actions will help cultivate a strong compliance culture among staff and business partners.

Continual reassessment. Implementing change is not as straightforward as it may seem. Unforeseen impact with even small changes is expected. After adjusting the workflow and processes, re-evaluating, and re-assessing the compliance program, it is essential to determine whether tasks are being completed and if the compliance goals have been effectively met. It is important to ensure proper oversight and ongoing monitoring of the Trade compliance program.

When sanctions, embargos and political changes occur, ignoring them until the storm hits the company would be a strategic shortfall. Current or future business plans that are in contentious areas should be monitored closely, and contingency plans should be developed immediately. Breaching sanctions can result in civil, regulatory, and criminal liability along with their associated fines and reputational damage.

For further help in managing regulatory updates, join NAITA and follow updates on programs. NAITA offers several opportunities for Trade Compliance Training:

  • NAITA Trade Compliance Roundtable – quarterly updates sponsored by Baker Donelson
  • NAITA offers on-demand Trade Compliance training provided by Content Enablers.
    Click here for details and to subscribe
    to available courses that range from awareness level to thorough certificate series on important topics.
  • NAITA Global Strategies Forum sponsored by Womble Bond Dickinson – to cover key Export Control Issues and Updates, Emerging and Foundational Technologies, National Security and Innovation, National Security and Commercial Space, OFAC, CFIUS, Cyber Security for Government Contractors, and Global Supply Chain Issues.  This will be a 2-day forum this fall to provide updates and opportunities for discussion among key government regulators; policy leaders; and trade, legal, and academic practitioners.
  • Stay Tuned for Further Details • Additional Sponsorships Available. Contact Anne Burkett, NAITA Executive Director at for information on Sponsorship.

Angela Guerra, MBA, is NAITA Vice President, Programs & Services, and the Global Trade Compliance Manager for Aviagen.