Export Compliance Program Introduction 

Export Compliance Program Introduction

July 8, 2021

(The Exporting Source) by Blake Gill *

So, you were voluntold into a position of export compliance? Don’t worry, this is a path that many individuals are forced into. Some even embrace the challenge and turn the new assignment into a prosperous career. After all, it’s not every day a child tells their parents they want to be a trade compliance professional!

When beginning a trade compliance department, the first step should be to develop an Export Compliance Program or ECP. This program should contain certain elements and establish how an organization operates in accordance with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Since every company is different, no two ECPs will be exactly alike. Some ECPs will be more involved and robust while others may be more concentrated and focused on fewer elements. Some of the foundational ECP elements are management commitment, risk assessment, export authorization, recordkeeping, training, audits, handling potential violations and associated corrective actions, and finally building and maintaining your ECP. These elements are not an exhaustive list and the final ECP will depend on your organization’s specific needs.

Now that we have established some fundamental elements that make up an ECP, we can begin to think about some factors that dictate your organization’s specific needs. How large is your organization? If the organization is larger and well established it is beneficial to involve other departments in creating the ECP, such as the quality control department. What is the organization’s strategic nature? If one company manufactures hardware and another creates software, these two companies will likely have very different looking ECPs. What is the geographic location of the organization and who are the end customers? A company that is headquartered in the U.S. and only sells to U.S. companies will have different needs from an international company with offices around the world. What is the volume of exports that your organization participates in? A larger volume of exports will increase an organization’s risk, resulting in a different strategy and ECP than an organization with lower volume and lower risk. What is the complexity of the internal export processes? Different departments all being involved in the export process will drastically change an ECP versus an organization that has a single department handle exports through the entire process, from order intake to license determination and shipping.

Now that we have established the basic understanding of what an ECP is and its purpose, we will do a deep dive into each of the elements. Stay tuned for our review of each element and how to best approach them!



* Blake Gill is an experienced International Trade Compliance professional with a demonstrated history of work in the technology industry. He has many years of experience working with export control, customer screening and item classification over a wide variety of products. Additionally, Blake has performed the duties of Empowered Official at multiple international companies.

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