Global Trade and Customs Journal

Volume 12 (2017)

Volume 12 (2017) / Issue 1

Lila Rose, 'Free Trade Is Not Free: The Costs of Trade Compliance for Businesses' (2017) 12 Global Trade and Customs Journal, Issue 1, pp. 25–28


This article will examine trade compliance from the perspective of businesses that import and export. Though free trade agreements (FTAs), and specifically the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are voluntary, we discuss why this may not hold true in the real world. Next we will lay out the basic elements of a trade compliance program to identify the cost components for a business that wants to take advantage of NAFTA or other FTAs, including staffing and software. Fines and penalties are briefly discussed as another potential cost. We will then examine the Global Trade Management (GTM) software industry, which has been created in part as a response to the complexity of FTAs, before a final conclusion on the net benefits for importers/exporters.

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ISSN: 1569-755X
ID: GTCJ2017003