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International Trade Compliance Manager Facts

The rules and regulations governing international trade are complex and challenging. They become even more complicated when you consider that each country has different criteria.

If you have an analytical mind, are detail oriented and possess excellent problem-solving skills, you may find you are well-suited for a career as an international trade compliance manager.

The main responsibility in this role, according to, is to ensure products imported and exported by domestic companies comply with both country of origin and international trade regulations. Duties mainly involve creating and implementing internal policies to ensure a company-wide compliance with domestic and international shipping requirements, custom regulations and trade laws. They work in any company that imports and exports products.

A Deeper Dive in an International Trade Compliance Career

International trade operations are risky because every nation has its customs issues, highly detailed rules governing import and export controls, and penalties if rules are broken. The duty of the international trade compliance manager is to establish internal procedures to ensure compliance that will protect the company from litigation and penalties.

To that end, Financier Worldwide lists several responsibilities of a trade compliance manager, including the following:

  • Know the hot spots. A trade compliance manager must identify risks as well as prevent and mitigate damages related to the customs laws of the countries where the company does business.
  • Be all inclusive. Their program should involve each part of the company that works with import and export regulations.
  • Identify the red flags. Trade compliance managers should know the company inside and out so they can identify potential problems in advance. They need to continually research regulations including domestic laws and rules of the country or origin of the product, of the destination of the product, of the country where the company is located and any international rules that apply.
  • Don't forget the third parties. Customs brokers and trading companies must be monitored because their direct exposure to customs authorities put them more at risk in customs operations.
  • Or the lawyers. Trade compliance managers must work closely with the company's legal department to draft necessary documents and write procedures.
  • Keep everyone on the same page. Trade compliance managers should ensure staff involved in the legal, logistics, foreign trade and finance departments undergo regular training on trade compliance matters.

Financier Worldwide suggests the trade compliance manager should be able to monitor different staff activities and thus should not fall under one division: "For this reason, it is advisable that the manager report directly to the company's board, which would enable them to fully implement the measures required to achieve trade compliance."

A Rewarding Career reports that careers in global trade compliance are tied to the strength the global economy. For example, the World Trade Organization reported that the value of global merchandise exporters grew by 2.5% in 2014 while the export of commercial services grew by 5%.

PayScale reports the median salary of an international trade compliance manager at $85,278, as of October 2019. says that trade compliance managers should have certain skills and education. They must:

  • Be analytical and detail-oriented with excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must know regulations, policies and laws affecting foreign trade, including those affecting currency, environmental concerns, taxes and security
  • Possess strong computer and internet skills

Knowledge of multiple languages can also be helpful. says international trade compliance advisors usually have a bachelor's in foreign trade or a related field. Some employers may require a Master of Business Administration.

That requirement plays to the strengths of the online MBA in International Trade & Logistics program at Texas A&M International University.

The program is designed to help graduates master the many challenges of import and export operations. MBA candidates learn strategies to tackle logistics problems to strengthen their company's bottom line.

Import procedures, international trade terms and applications, operations management, global government controls, and customs regulations are only a few of the areas that will require in-depth study. The program also covers freight forwarding, international transportation, warehousing and distribution.

The AASCB-accredited program is also designed to build general business skills, including business research methods, strategic management, financial statement analysis, managerial economics and financial management. Students can complete the online program in as few as 15 months.

Learn more about Texas A&M International University's online MBA in International Trade & Logistics program.

Sources: Global Trade Compliance Advisor Job Description

Financier Worldwide: The Role of the Trade Compliance Manager

PayScale: Average International Trade Compliance Manager Salary

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