What is G:TEC & Why is it Important?

It is easy for me to get carried away with my excitement about what the NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI) is doing for our industry:

  • increasing the level of professionalism by increasing our members’ awareness of changing rules within our daily procedures,
  • helping companies become more compliant by understanding the legal aspects of international trade,
  • providing a robust resource  to individuals who are seeking people or companies who provide International Trade Education,
  • providing certification programs which help companies identify qualified people to handle international trade transactions, and lastly,
  • providing an economical way of continuing the training of those individual to keep up with the ever changing industry rules and regulation.

We are even working closely with several universities to bring international trade education to a new generation of people to satisfy the growth of our industry.

Now, we have taken the next step.  It is with great pleasure that I discuss our latest venture: our first annual Global Trade Educational Conference (G:TEC).

GTEC Postcard10

Since this is a new endeavor, I would not be surprised if some of you are wondering “What could this conference offer me?” I would like to take this time to give you a greater understanding of what you can expect from this event.

As the title states, we are all about international trade education. In that vein, we are bringing together industry experts from the private sector (attorneys, consultants and actual practitioners within our industry) as well as the public sector (people from government agencies that oversee industry-related regulations) to share some of the best practices they have observed in our industry.  We expect everyone to leave this conference with ideas and tools which will help them improve the quality and efficiency of their daily work.

G:TEC will also promote an environment for people to openly share their experiences and seek needed advice by offering opportunities for our attendees to network with their industry counterparts.

Finally, this conference is not catered towards a specific demographic of the international trade industry but to all global trade professionals.  We will have attendees from the import and export community as well as service providers such as Customs Brokers, Freight Forwarders, Insurance Companies and Logistics Companies.  This blend will promote a better understanding of what each participant in our industry deals with during the life of an international trade transaction.

G:TEC will also offer other amenities such as a fantastic venue at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, Chicago, a network reception, and an open forum to seek feedback from you to share what your global logistics education needs are.  We will also be exploring all the benefits of our new Learning Management System scheduled for launch this April.  We offer all this at reasonable costs as it is important to us that we make such educational opportunities as affordable as possible.

My level of excitement is so high I could continue to write about all the wonderful happenings in the NEI, but I will keep this short.  I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity and become part of the beginning of what I am sure will be an excellent tradition in global logistics education. 

See you this August in Chicago!

Happy Thanksgiving from the NEI!

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Thanksgiving is not only a wonderful holiday, it is a reminder to pause for a while and give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives.  We give thanks for our lives, our family and friends, our health, and for living in this wonderful country where we are allowed to have freedoms to express ourselves as well as improve our lives through hard work and dedication to our professions.  We at the NCBFAA Educational Institute (NEI) want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving holiday and we look forward to our next year together continuing to improve our knowledge and increase the professionalism of our industry.  “Be proud of your profession and the service you provide not only your clients but your country as well.”

-From the entire staff of the NEI

WCO, WTO, and You!

Recently, I attended the ASAPRA Annual Conference, which is the association of international trade Forwarders and Brokers of South and Central America.  It was here that I had the good fortune to hear a representative from the World Customs Organization (WCO) address the conference attendees.  During his presentation he spoke not only of the work of the WCO but also of the work being done by the World Trade Organization (WTO).  While listening to the presentation, I realized how much the decisions made at these global organizations affect the trade as well as the livelihood of the trade community, including service providers.  We should make sure we stay informed on the work being done in the global trade arena because eventually it comes back to affect how we accomplish our jobs within our own countries.

In my mind, I was always trying to distinguish the difference between the WCO and the WTO when it came to the effects it would have on my business as a service provider. In brief, the difference between the WCO and the WTO is the following:

The WCO is comprised of Customs Authorities within countries around the world (179 Members, three-quarters of which are developing countries and are responsible for managing more than 98% of world trade).They deal mostly with procedures to streamline the process of customs clearance in the global market while improving security and improving transparency and predictability in the customs clearance process.

World Customs Organization HQ

The WTO has 160 members as of June 2014 and is an organization where countries negotiate trade agreements, settle trade disputes, and operates a system of trade rules. In a nut shell, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out trade problems they may have with each other, creating rules which are transparent and predictable for global trade.

World Trade Organization

From this group come some WTO agreements we have all heard of regarding international trade such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) agreement.  These agreements are essentially contracts binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits.  The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business, while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives.  This process is in place to help trade flow as freely as possible, thus improving the economic growth of the global economy.

One of the latest agreements being discussed at the WTO is the Bali Package, which was adopted on December 7th, 2013.  While you may initially think that this package is not important to our daily jobs and work, when you read through the agreement, which is being deliberated and adopted by the member countries, you will see statements  addressing the importance of services providers such as brokers and forwarders in the process of international trade.  We should never take for granted the work being done by the WTO as well as the WCO because the recommendations being made by these global organizations will eventually be adopted by our own governments. In turn, directly influencing our daily work.

Never forget the pivotal role we play in the movement of International goods as well as the importance of being well informed on what is being agreed to, decided, or changed within our industry.  We can only be effective if we stay informed and are part of the process.  Be proud of what you do for the global economy.