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General counsel face more government regulatory enforcement and tougher compliance requirements worldwide than ever before. In the United States, government agencies have noticeably increased their enforcement actions in the international trade law field, forcing companies to scrutinize and improve their corresponding compliance policies, procedures, and programs in light of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, export controls, customs, economic sanctions, trade remedies, and anti-boycott regulations. In effect, companies have been compelled to create and nourish a “culture” of international trade regulatory compliance—or else. In recent years, these prosecuting agencies—the Department of Justice; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the Department of Commerce; the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Internal Revenue Service at the Department of Treasury; Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Department of Homeland Security; and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) at the Department of State—have assessed hefty civil and criminal penalties against those companies failing to have robust policies, procedures, and programs in place. To assist general counsel, here is a checklist of the top 10 best practices for strengthening companies’ international trade law compliance efforts:
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