In some areas of commerce, penalties for non-compliance with established rules, regulations and controls can be relatively minor. In such cases, they do little to discourage deviance.

That most certainly is not the case when it comes to complying with U.S. export controls.

In fact, penalties for non-compliance with these controls can be civil, criminal or administrative; they can include up to millions of dollars in fines, among other consequences; they can apply to companies and individuals alike; and with national security at stake, enforcement officials pursue non-compliance with diligence and tenacity.

Yet, when it comes to complying with these controls, it takes more than just a willingness to do the right thing…it’s all about execution. U.S. export controls are as complex as they are numerous. If your company seeks to export items abroad, your path to compliance will be challenging—and you must avoid any misstep along the way.

Wrongdoing May Not Be Driven By Malicious Intent

At the Export Compliance Training Institute, we work with business professionals every day to help them comply with U.S. export controls. We understand that your company’s success is predicated on ideas, initiative, timing, persistence and execution. You operate in a competitive marketplace—you need to make things happen. We get it. But if a potentially lucrative opportunity presents itself with an overseas company, you can’t just forge headlong into developing prototypes and deploying go-to-market strategies before doing some basic export compliance due diligence. In the realm of export controls, that includes:

  • Determining the correct jurisdiction and classification for your products, technologies, services and/or data
  • Taking the proper steps to follow to decide if a license is required
  • Assuring your potential overseas business partner that doing business with your company is a safe proposition—both financially and legally
  • Knowing all the pitfalls to avoid along the way

You may move forward with the project with or without this knowledge; and if you end up violating one or more U.S. export control laws, you may not have meant ill in doing so. But a violation is a violation—that not only affects you and your company, but it could likely negatively impact the overseas company and its stakeholders as well. Consequently, considerable time, money and effort will be wasted; reputations and livelihoods will be damaged; and your company could potentially be liable for penalties and face exporting bans well into the future.

That’s where export compliance training comes into play.

How Export Compliance Training Helps Businesses Avoid Penalties

Whatever your export strategy may be, it makes good sense to align with an established and widely acclaimed export compliance training partner who can guide you step by step toward compliance success. The Export Compliance Training Institute is built around this model by offering industry-leading e-seminars, live seminars and live webinars and a catalog of 80-plus on-demand webinars. Many of these focus on strategies for building, evaluating and enhancing compliance programs in your business, as well as reducing export compliance risk in all relevant areas. Equally important, we also offer the industry’s premier Export Compliance Professional (ECoP®) certification program which demonstrates to your employer, colleagues, customers – and even potential future employers – that you possess the skills necessary to perform your expert compliance duties.

That alone should make a compelling case for training. But think again about penalties and consider one more point:

As we’ve said in previous blogs, complying with U.S. export controls is no easy task. Mistakes happen. Oversights occur. Deadlines can be missed as the tide of business swirls around you. Therefore, undertaking established and reputable export compliance training helps to demonstrate that you and your business have made a tangible commitment to pursuing compliance. Training in and of itself is considered by the U.S. government as a mitigating factor when considering penalties for non-compliance; so, if you can show the government that you and your company invested in export compliance training, you will prove that you have made an honest effort to comply with U.S. export controls. That, in turn, can greatly reduce the chances that the government will pursue an enforcement proceeding or penalty against you or your company.

Related article: Export Compliance Certification: Understanding the Benefits and Steps for Exporting Businesses

We hope this article highlights the risks of non-compliance with U.S. export controls, and the ways that training can help minimize those. Your company’s investments rely on achieving 100% compliance with all applicable export regulations and controls. That said, it is absolutely achievable—you can do it, provided you take the necessary time up front to align with an established and widely acclaimed export compliance training partner who can guide you step by step toward compliance success.

Contact the Export Compliance Training Institute

Do you have questions about ITAR compliance training, EAR compliance training or other export compliance challenges? Visit to learn about our company, our faculty, our staff and our esteemed Export Compliance Professional (ECoP®) certification program. To find upcoming e-seminars, live seminars and live webinars and browse our catalog of 80-plus on-demand webinars, visit our ECTI Academy. You can also call the Export Compliance Training Institute at 540-433-3977 for more information.

Scott Gearity is President of ECTI, Inc.