How FITT train Canadian businesses to foster compliant cross-border trade

Fri 19 Oct 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

customs day

This article is taken from an interview we did for the autumnal edition of our World Trade Matters journal with Scott Ferris, Director of Business Development at the Forum for International Trade Training in Canada.

To read the other half of the interview – in which we talk about how customs practices differ in Canada – sign up as a member and receive copies of our journal quarter, as well as a wealth of trade information and updates.

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What are the courses that FITT offer and how do they compare to what we do here in the UK?

Specifically with FITT we provide a series of six courses that can be broken down into 17 workshops. In terms of customs compliance, we tackle it at a fairly high level.

The training we provide is very much at that foundation level, we’re not training up customs compliance experts, but training people to have that broad knowledge across core aspects of international trade – including customs compliance. In this way, our trainees understand why compliance is critical for their business and will know how to select and work with their brokers.

We’re trying to bring a general understanding of the requirements of customs compliance as an activity that a company will engage with as it crosses over borders and international supply chains.

We’ll make recommendations to the major stakeholders engaged with customs compliance, starting with Canadian Borders Services Agency (CBSA) and bringing in customs brokers and forwarders that operate in Canada.

What can international training organisations do together do to ensure better international customs compliance and therefore easier trade globally?

Trade training organisations have to remain connected to industry and have an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that industry is facing. They cannot simply be organisations with a set suite of workshops and training, simply sitting on that material and offering it over and over again. The field we operate in is too dynamic for that.

Secondly, in FITT’s case we’ve connected with and are endorsed by our own government through Global Affairs Canada, the lead trade finance provider, Export Development Canada, and we maintain connections with CBSA. We do this in order to get a better understanding of the trade agreements and customs requirements that are changing and to promote this information through our social channels and through the association of certified traders we have as well.

FITT has done a good job of connecting with organisations like the World Trade Centres, but there are strong opportunities for national organisations like FITT and IOE&IT to work together and partner - to share best practices, to cross-pollinate members, to create opportunities for those members, and also to foster better understanding.

FITT and IOE&IT have many areas in common though IOE&IT goes an extra level in terms of its ability to answer question for clients. FITT doesn’t have the same facility to answer specific member questions through a helpline and do not we have the consultancy option that the IOE&IT offers.

Nonetheless on the membership and training front, there seems to be a great deal in common that we could mutually benefit from. Nobody knows the issues and challenges around compliance or trade finance or generally logistics better than the companies themselves. When the leading training organisations also have a handle on that, it makes them a very powerful force to be able to support businesses and train them.

Trade-training organisations need to connect with industry, connect with governments, and better connect internationally between ourselves.

To find out more about the Forum for International Trade Training, visit their website at: