Wednesday, March 17, 2010

News - Live From the ICPA Conference!

Ahoy mateys! The first two days have been a great learning experience at the ICPA Conference in Orlando. As expected, the speakers are fantastic. Since the Wizard learns something at each session, it seemed like a good day to share a little of it with our faithful readers who are not at the conference with us. Unfortunately, the Wizard cannot attend all five sessions at one time, so only a small portion of the news will appear here for now.

Third Party Violations
This session started with three questions –
1. What did you know?
2. When did you know it?
3. What did you do about it?

Knowledge is key! Burying your head in the sand won’t make it go away! The session also included helpful hints on how to prevent third party violations through training, reviewing terms and conditions and performing end-use/end-user checks.

Training Employees on Export Control
Natalia Shehadeh delivered a dynamic presentation in which she outlined a winning approach to implementing a comprehensive training program for a large multinational company with over 100 locations all over the world. She reminded the audience that it’s important to sell compliance – get buy-in and support from executive management as well as those who have responsibilities in the export process. Her approach tackles the locations with the highest risk first and includes face-to-face training with these locations. As the program grows, a variety of methods will be employed to get the message across.

Understanding Incoterms
Always a favorite for attendees, Frank Reynolds told the crowd that he couldn’t say much about the new Incoterms 2010 because they weren’t finalized and his counterparts would do him serious bodily harm if he told us too much. In a nutshell, the new Incoterms will become effective on 1/1/11, will contain fewer than the 13 terms currently used plus one new term. The new Incoterms is a major revision and it is hoped that they will be adopted for domestic transactions. After the big news, Mr. Reynolds made it clear that the Incoterms were not law and did not convey ownership. He then went on to explain in detail the meaning of all 13 terms.

Does anyone know how many languages the Incoterms are printed in?

Export Control Violations
Attorneys from Holland & Hart provided a great roadmap for handling export violations. Of course it all starts with the identification of a possible violation. How a company handles these violations could affect the amount of penalties paid. Companies should be careful to conduct interviews in which the employees understand the “civil miranda” (the company doesn’t represent the employee) along with considering cultural differences and maintaining proper records of the interviews. Another key step in the process is to make sure all documents related to the transaction are maintained.

Case Studies and Consequences in Trade Compliance
This session started out with a detailed review of the former University of Tennessee professor who was convicted of multiple export violations and sentenced to 4 years in jail. Colleges and universities need to take notice of the U.T. case as this one is only the tip of the iceberg. This case likely prompted several dozen disclosures that were filed by institutions of higher education. This case was followed by a detailed explanation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This portion of the presentation provided information about prohibited payments, exceptions to the rule and some best practices for keeping your company out of trouble.

Stay tuned! We’ll be back at the end of the week with some additional tidbits from the conference!

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