What is an International Trade and Customs Manager?

An international trade and customs manager handles global logistics, customs compliance and supply chain management. International trade and customs managers usually have a master’s degree and credentials through the IIEI’s industry recognized certification programs. These include the certified international trade professional, international trade marketing specialist and U.S. export or import compliance officer exams, according to the International Trade Certification.

Career Profile – Automobile Industry

Automobile corporations that import foreign made vehicles will employ international trade and customs managers to provide leadership and expertise in global commercial activities. They are subject matter experts on international trade and customs regulations related to importing and exporting automobiles. They manage international trade compliance programs and administer corporate policies that comply with applicable regulations. This means federal customs’ rules and regulations for imports and Export Administration Regulations (EARs) for exports.

They direct departmental staff in the management of import and export compliance activities and documentation. They ensure that subordinates submit customs paperwork that is on-time and accurate. They need experience determining the classifications of parts and vehicles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule’s (HTS) guidelines. They must know how to identify, analyze and determine savings opportunities. This could be through duty drawbacks and free trade agreements. Every day, they communicate with custom brokers, freight forwarders, government agencies and port authorities to ensure proper coordination of imports and exports.

Career Profile – Consumer Products

International trade and customs managers who handle exported consumer products will be experts in export control management. They will have expert knowledge in terms of trade compliance for various sales products and applicable export controls. They analysis of existing trade flows, consultant on new trade flows to sensitive countries and answer questions regarding trade compliance issues. They advise stakeholders on current regulations on export sales, share information on export control activities and provide partners with logistics analysis and guidance for new orders.

These international trade and customs managers are the main contact of authorities for inquiries and external audits. They coordinate internal audits of export control documentation, policies and performance at different locations. If required by internal or external audit, they will implement recommended actions like updating or evolving export controls and procedures. They maintain relationships with customs and governmental authorities, read up on foreign trade agreements (FTAs) and share regulatory new on customs compliance.

Mandatory Education

Local trade or customs managers will need a bachelor’s degree, but international trade and customs managers will need a master’s degree. These special programs provide knowledge of modern management principles and global trade workplace practices. Many degree programs offer areas of concentration to choose from, such as trade management, trade compliance law and global supply chain management. Students will graduate with a degree tailored to their needs and preferences. These degrees provide students with the decision-making and problem solving abilities that employers seek.

There may be classes on exporting and importing environments, which will cover laws and logistical practices, and trade documentation, which will train students how to fill out and submit EAR and ITAR paperwork. Classes on trade organizational behavior explore the global aspects and dynamics of international import and export operations. International logistics covers shipping, freight forwarders, port authorities, warehouses and trucking operations. Other classes may cover trade management principles, inventory accounting concepts and importing duties and regulations.

Related Resource: Accounts Payable Specialist

International trade and customs managers who deal with imports may be required to maintain a customs broker license.