Five steps multinationals can take in the new era of trade under President Trump

Those that don’t prepare could face significant disruption in today’s changing trade environment.

By Bob Nihen

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – the second-largest source of government revenue through its collection of tariffs and duties – is ramping up scrutiny of goods and services coming into the U.S. as part of President Trump’s focus on promoting free and fair trade.

“CBP is more aggressively pursuing trade law violations, and it’s taking a more coordinated and industry-focused approach to detecting, deterring, and disrupting non-compliant activity,” says Doug Zuvich, a Tax partner with KPMG LLP’s Trade & Customs Services practice. “Many multinationals are just beginning to feel the impact of the CBP’s more muscular approach to trade enforcement, and most haven’t adjusted to the new normal yet.”

This approach is posing new risks and challenges for many multinationals.

In the new normal, for instance, the CBP is significantly increasing its inquiries and audits of importers, Zuvich says. It’s also relying more on the deterrence tools in its enforcement arsenal – including the imposition of large civil penalties, seizure of prohibited goods, and disclosure of the names of violators.

According to Zuvich, some of the steps multinationals can take in response to heightened scrutiny of imports at the U.S. border include:                 

  • Improving processes and control procedures in their trade compliance programs, as well as increasing the use of automation
  • Using data & analytics tools to assess risks, especially those around the CBP’s industry-specific priority trade issues
  • Enhancing existing internal and broker guidelines for handling inquiries from the CBP, or developing new ones
  • Assessing the use of voluntary disclosures as a tool for addressing compliance issues
  • Collaborating more closely with related compliance functions in their organizations, including social and labor compliance, intellectual property protection, and product safety.

To talk with Doug Zuvich about the changing trade environment and the impact of heightened enforcement activity at the U.S. border, contact Bob Nihen.

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Douglas Zuvich

Douglas Zuvich

Partner, Trade & Customs, Global Practice Leader, KPMG US

+1 312-665-1022