The proliferation of new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) will attract more imports and give U.S. shippers more options as they attempt to penetrate ripe markets and strike up fresh sourcing relationships. And while much has been written about the demise of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a negotiating forum, two announcements late last year indicate forward momentum, which may establish a new relevance for the organization, say trade experts.

So, while an importer should consider the overall savings by using an FTA both in duties and merchandise processing fees, they should also bear in mind the documentary responsibilities of proving compliance with the FTA.

“That seems obvious, but Customs clearance will also become more complex if certain immediate steps are not taken to ‘leverage’ these agreements,” says Angela Chamberlain, vice president of global trade content at Integration Point, a provider of global trade management and trade compliance solutions.

With limited resources to manage a single trade agreement, and no system in place to automate many of the tasks involved, some shippers may be in a poor position to maximize duty saving potential and fully incorporate free trade agreements into their sourcing strategy.

“Furthermore,” says Chamberlain, “shippers who fail to generate or apply for documentation required to move goods under an agreement may lose duty savings that could otherwise be easily captured. The same holds true if the shipper does not create the necessary audit trail when preference is claimed.”

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Global trade management (GTM) systems traditionally have focused on helping organizations comply with the myriad regulations governing how components and products cross borders. While compliance remains a key feature, many GTM systems providers are adding new capabilities. Some GTM systems, for instance, have broadened the concept of compliance to include checking that products were made, packaged, and/or shipped within the user's parameters.

While larger companies, often in heavily regulated industries, tend to be among the first to leverage shifts in the GTM market, small firms aren't left out of the picture. Many start by implementing specific modules, such as those that screen potential business partners against terrorism watch lists. "The ROI threshold to purchase the software keeps dropping," says Virginia Thompson, vice president of product management for compliance software provider Integration Point.

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NEW YORK, Feb. 5, 2018 -- Infor, a leading provider of industry-specific cloud applications, today announced a partnership with Integration Point, a leading provider of Global Trade Management (GTM) solutions, whereby the two companies will deliver the most comprehensive Global Trade Management solution in the market.

Infor and Integration Point will provide global trade management on a shared information network that integrates all the elements of GTM – including logistics, trade finance, trade compliance, trade content, customs filing, and duty optimization. The global trade management capabilities are part of a broader suite of supply chain management solutions offered by Infor, including warehouse management, supply chain planning, supplier collaboration, and procure to pay automation.

Tom Barnes, CEO of Integration Point, said, "Connectivity with trading partners and regulatory agencies, together with localized knowledge, enables our customers to stay ahead of changing regulatory requirements. This combined solution enables customers to conduct automated due diligence for 206 countries and territories before and during the transaction lifecycle, streamlining document creation and customs clearance – thereby reducing cycle times and risk."

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CARY, N.C. MercuryGate International, Inc., a leader in Transportation Management System (TMS) solutions, announced today, at their annual user conference Velocity2017, that the company is enhancing its comprehensive global offering through an OEM agreement with Integration Point, a leading provider of Global Trade Management (GTM) solutions. With the total volume of world merchandise trade growing by 1.7% in 2016 and expected to grow between 1.8% and 3.1% in 2017, according to the World Trade Organization, an increasing number of companies are looking outside of the U.S. borders to find and connect with trading partners, suppliers, and customers. With expanded global trade compliance capabilities, MercuryGate is further reducing risk and ensuring compliance for these organizations.

“We work with numerous global customers to manage the complexity of their supply chains and as a result recognize the increasing challenges often encountered with compliance, especially in today’s ever-changing global trade environment,” said Monica Wooden, CEO and Co-founder, MercuryGate International, Inc. “We are pleased to join forces with Integration Point, a world class GTM provider, to strengthen our TMS solution offerings.”

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