Elements of Export Controls Training

Export controls training is a broad church.Export controls training seminars are standard fare for many professional seminar organisers and often provide excellent programmes.

What of export controls training in industry? Export controls training is becoming more important to UK companies as the risks associated with non-compliance increase. Recent prison sentences and a “compound penalty” of £575,000 imposed on a UK company are all serving to focus senior management on the risks of non-compliance with export controls, in a manner more commonly experienced only in companies with links to the United States.

In order to be effective,export controls training must be multi-layered. As a minimum the following export controls training elements should be built into any effective compliance programme:

•Top Level Briefings (to enable the Board to appreciate the underlying reasons for the controls and the risks to them and the company of non-compliance)

•Senior Management Training. To give operational effect to compliance policies, developed and agreed by the Board.

•Introductory Export Controls Training. For all employees, to provide an awareness of the need for compliance.

•Intermediate Export Controls Training. For employees dealing with export issues.

•Advanced Export Controls Training.For export compliance personnel.

•Induction Export Controls Training.For all new employees, as part of an overall induction programme.

•Refresher Export Controls Training.At least annually and/or whenever significant changes in export controls take place.

In larger companies, export controls training may in part be carried out via an intranet site. This can also, if regularly updated and maintained, provide a valuable resource where legislation, licences, policies etc may be readily accessed.

Export controls training for the supply chain is likely to also benefit the purchasing company which provides the training, even if it does so free of charge. The benefits gleaned from a reduction of untoward incidents in export controls, e.g. prevention of production delays arising from late identification of export licensing issues, are likely to far outweigh the negligible costs of adding a few external attendees to an in-house training event. The increase in goodwill alone could justify the action!

Export controls training should, as far as practicable, be tailored to meet the needs and circumstances of the company concerned. There is little point spending half a day discussing the intricacies of dual-use export controls on stand by navigation systems for commercial aircraft in a company which makes valves for the chemical industry, or even if the company actually does make stand by navigation instruments but is exclusively in the military market. In the latter case, the potential impact of dual-use controls is a more suitable topic for Top Level Briefings in relation to impact on possible future sales in an area into which the company may expand.

Purely legal training has its place and is best aimed at lawyers and paralegals. What exporting companies want to know is how the rules affect their day to day operations, not the fascinating legal background as to why.

The most important factor in relation to export controls training is that your company cannot claim to have an “effective compliance system” if the training which it provides is not adequate to the tasks it is intended to perform. If your compliance system is not effective, you may lose any right to mitigate penalties in case of violation. Losing the ability to mitigate can cost you millions, training will not. Training though is but one element of an effective compliance system; others will be covered in later articles.