Rajiv Uppal, chief executiveWith the threat of additional terrorism now imminent, many nations are undertaking extraordinary efforts to control merchandise entering their borders, which impedes international trade. This is in stark contrast to the trend over the past 10 years during which time regional trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union have eliminated many trade barriers.
As a case in point, the U.S. Customs Service has established a Level 1 or Code Red alert, meaning that sustained anti-terrorism operations are in effect. Customs is particularly vigilant for implements of terrorism such as chemical, biological or nuclear materials that could be used as weapons. Inspections are largely concentrated on intercepting documents, drawings, flight manuals, chemical data and similar articles that might be smuggled in by terrorists.
This heightened scrutiny places a large burden on international traders, particularly those dealing with time-sensitive goods. To clear customs efficiently, a trader must have the correct documents available and in the required format. Any failure to produce the necessary import or export licenses, or filing documents that appear suspicious in any way, could attract the attention of Customs and lead to lengthy delays in clearing goods. Companies also must have a mechanism in place, such as Denied Party Screening, to verify the trustworthiness of their trading partners and alleviate any possible connections to terrorists.
The ability to plan ahead for increased law enforcement will prevent delays at the border, which in today's suddenly volatile economy is a distinct competitive advantage. NextLinx suite of automated trade-compliance solutions, which includes license determination, document management and Denied Party Screening, are ideally suited to help companies manage the intricacies of today's trade environment.