Global Trade Compliance Jobs

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International trade has now almost completely replaced domestic trade. The clothing, furniture, automobiles, technology, and even groceries of most Americans are mainly manufactured or grown on foreign soil. However, before they enter American homes, they pass through rigid inspection and safety monitoring. Those who work global trade compliance jobs regulate the safety and legality of these imports. In essence, global trade compliance officers act as the country's economic gatekeepers.

Global trade compliance officers generally work for international companies. They track their company's exported goods while examining their imported goods. Since imported goods originate from various countries, compliance officers maintain knowledge of these nations' regulatory procedures and customs laws to ensure legal adherence. Moreover, they stay aware of any recent boycotts in foreign countries that may mean forbidding imports from those countries.

Global trade compliance officers are knowledgeable about import/export procedures and international business. They maintain knowledge of U.S. legal and tax systems, as well as those of first-world countries that are major exporters. Since they communicate with many foreign officials, they are often fluent in one or more foreign languages. More recently, they also stay aware of environmental regulations concerning imports and exports.



Businesses attach a variety of names to those who work global jobs in compliance. However, these jobs are most commonly labeled global compliance officers, managers, or administrators. These names indicate that these workers are well versed in international law, international customs regulations, import and export procedures, and international trade credit practices.

American compliance officers are aware of U.S. regulations toward varying trades, goods, and means of transportation. They are also fully aware of international trade compliance laws and regulations, such as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR). In summary, a person who works a compliance officer job simultaneously maintains knowledge of both U.S. international trade procedures and those of business-leading foreign countries.

In regards to exports, compliance officers' primary duty is filling out the Shippers Export Declaration (SED). This document is filled out by the officers prior to the exportation of goods. It summarizes the export's contents, date, destination country, and valuation. The SED is collected by the U.S. Census Bureau for calculating U.S. export data.

When working with imports, these officers are responsible for customs brokerage, or screening goods through customs barriers. They screen these goods by preparing customs documents concerning the foreign-based goods, such as goods classification and valuation estimate. They also demonstrate knowledge of international trade compliance laws and regulations, such as ITAR and EAR. In order to perform these activities, the officer has to possess a Customs Broker License or a Jurist Doctor (J.D.). Moreover, they ensure all foreign duties, taxes, and excises are paid, by scanning their tariff records on a computerized database. Officers may also submit clearance documents to customs authorities at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and many other federal agencies. These officers additionally supervise the allocation of duty bills and communicate with foreign countries about the imported or exported transactions.

Many global trade compliance officers work for corporations. Regardless of their industry, the business they work for is a licensed import/export business. The U.S. government does not enforce this licensing requirement, though many state or local governments do. However, global compliance officers pay constant attention to U.S. Customs Regulations as well as North Atlantic Free Trade Association (NAFTA) regulations.

If their licensing requirements are met, the main duties of global trade compliance officers include auditing imports and exports, record keeping, developing business-specific trade compliance procedures, and liaising with other department heads of the company over compliance procedures. Moreover, they often train import/export staff in these procedures and work with computer applications such as Microsoft Office and Microsoft Access. Naturally, they also have knowledge of the trade for which they work, whether it be technology software, pharmaceuticals, and so forth.

Global trade compliance officers should have a bachelor's degree. Yet, they obtain a wide range of bachelor's degrees that typically concern the line of import/export business they would like to enter. For instance, a compliance officer wanting to work for a technological company may obtain an engineering degree. However, many officers opt to gain degrees in economics or business, especially international business. This major often instructs them in international customs laws and import/export procedures.

Yet, nothing can replace on-the-job training for gaining practical knowledge of global compliance. For that reason, many aspiring officers take internships at international businesses that import and export goods. In addition, students can take internships at U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Commerce.

This combination of a bachelor's degree with internships prepares students well for entry-level compliance job openings. Graduates can also complete professional certificates, such as the U.S. Export Compliance Officer certificate offered by the International Import-Export Institute.

Over time, many compliance officers wish to advance to compliance manager jobs. To be considered eligible, they have usually amassed several years of global-trade compliance experience and have obtained master's degrees.

Global trade compliance officers are in huge demand, due to the full-blown internationalization of the world economy. As a result, many global trade officers receive ample compensation and benefits. Entry-level compliance officers may receive about $50,000 per year, while many highly experienced compliance managers receive over $100,000 per year.
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