Export compliance may not sound like a sexy topic compared to the excitement of selling products internationally. But it can get exciting quickly if you ignore it: civil penalties for export license violations or sending sensitive goods to banned countries, for example, can run up to $250,000 per violation, and criminal penalties can carry jail time with fines topping $1 million, experts say. Companies may even be prohibited from exporting going forward.
“A lot of companies in Maine don’t have compliance offices,” says Janine Bisaillon-Cary, director of the Maine International Trade Center, which helps companies export and import.
Companies like IDEXX are large enough to have internal compliance offices, Bisaillon-Cary says, but most Maine companies are small- to medium-sized enterprises, and have to rely on freight forwarders, consultants, groups like MITC and others to make sure they’re selecting the correct paperwork to export a certain type of sneaker, for example, rather than a boot in the regulator’s list of codes for export products.