Congratulations – you’ve found a new prospective sales deal or you’re ready to ship your product. But there’s a critical step to take before you follow-up on that deal or send those goods out the door and over the high seas.

Restricted / denied party screening is a key part of the export process, and here are a few reasons why.

  1. Restricted/denied party screening applies to every export, even goods that wouldn’t normally require an export license.

Restricted/denied party screening refers to the screening of people, companies and countries that you are sending to – no matter what you happen to be sending. If you’re dealing with military or dual-use products, you understand the sensitivity of these items and the need for export compliance. But the restricted and denied party lists apply to all exports, no matter how innocuous, even those that wouldn’t normally require a license. Everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink, is covered.

  1. The lists are constantly changing.

Restricted/denied party screening is forever! There are many lists – Denied Persons, Unverified, Debarred, Sanctions Evaders, and so on – and they are endlessly being updated by US government departments (Commerce, State, Treasury, CIA, and FBI, to name a few) as well as international bodies such as the United Nations, European Union, various central banks, and law enforcement organizations including Interpol. The export control landscape is shifting day by day, and a one-time check of a potential customer is only the beginning.

  1. You might be supporting some shady operations.

Sure, you’re doing export compliance because the government says you have to – but remember the idea behind it. While a whole range of political, economic, and security motivations go into building these lists, there are some truly shady operations out there: terrorists, traffickers, criminal fronts, and straight-out fraudsters. Think of them as a menu of who you’d rather not have as a customer.

  1. Hefty penalties are in store for non-compliance.

The penalties for shipping to a denied or restricted party are enough to make any exporter gag. Your business can be broken with fines and loss of export privileges, and in the most extreme cases you might even be spending some time behind bars.

If it’s found that you have done business with a denied or restricted party, you’ll have some explaining to do to one or more very unhappy government agencies. “I didn’t know” is not a phrase that impresses them.

With a comprehensive restricted/denied party screening program, you can quickly and reliably block or clear your potential customers. Besides saving you a boatload of trouble, this can also make your export business more efficient. Rather than scrambling to respond to incidents on a case-by-case basis, you can keep your customers happy with smooth and timely shipments while keeping your overhead low.

Before you ship, make sure you’ve screened against the blacklists – or your business might end up joining one of them.