Sanction screening – We are not allowed!
Exporting companies have to verify whether or not sanctions have been imposed on their business partners in order not to become subject to prosecution themselves. This is an organizational challenge in the already complex environment of international trade.
This is done, for instance, by consulting the so-called sanctions lists: Economic activities with person listed there can be prosecuted under certain circumstances. An efficient solution for this sanction screening in entrepreneurial practice is provided by the visitor management system Visit.net by Astrum IT.
The United Nations Security Council adopted a number of resolutions following the attacks on September 11, 2001 with the aim to combat terrorism. The European Community embraced these, and issued legally binding directives on their basis. The objective is to prevent interaction with terrorist organizations or persons associated with them, and to eliminate the financial basis for their business activities and financial interactions.
Since then, there are not only country-specific embargoes, but also person- or organization-related ones. These organizations and persons are specified in what is termed sanctions lists. These are issued by the United Nations Security Council, the European Community, the European Union, the World Bank or country-specific economic institutions, and apply as an imperative surveillance instrument.
Business relations and trade with persons, enterprises and organizations listed there are prohibited. For exporting companies, it means that they have to verify whether or not sanctions have been imposed on their business partners in order not to become subject to prosecution themselves. This is an organizational challenge in the already complex environment of international trade.
Economic relations prohibited
Sanctions lists, terrorist lists, blacklists – the terms are different, yet they all mean the same. It is about individuals economic relationships with whom are prohibited and are subject to prosecution according to the provisions the European Community and the European Union. Particularly the companies that have been verified and certified by the customs as an Authorized Economic Operator ‘AEO‘ in order to be able to trade in a simplified procedure within the entire EU are subject to this necessary verification of their trade contacts. However, the screening is also relevant for all companies that work with external persons on their premises and have trade relationships outside the EU.
Sanctions lists are subject to constant amendments and updates – and this makes the automated process essential for data comparison. Meanwhile, there are some providers that offer systems for surveillance and comparison of the data available. The master data of customers, suppliers but also personnel are checked at regular intervals here. Regardless of whether or not the software is installed, online using a PC, or on the go via different mobile devices. There are versatile offers for reviewing the existing information.
Visitors and new business partners
But what about persons or companies business relationships with which have yet to be launched? Potential new business partners arrive to have a talk for the first time; there are no master data sets, customer files or supplier entries yet. What information can be used for verification? Do gatekeepers or receptionists have to search a list for matches when a visitor, a supplier or a contractor employee arrives?
The effort would be enormous. Verification of visitors or drivers has not been possible so far without a great deal of effort. A visitor management solution that is usually the first system to record new contacts may be used here. Intelligently integrated into the visitor workflow, persons and organizations can be checked in a discreet, efficient and reliable manner.
Solution per visitor management
In practice, this may look like this: The visitor is added to the visitor management with all known data such as name, company and address via pre-registration. This information is already sufficient to conduct the check against a sanctions list. The visitor management sends out the date to the sanctions list software at the desired intervals to have them checked against the current terrorist list. If there are any matches, these will be displayed in the visitor management system and viewed by, for example, a security officer. They will then have an option to review the suspicion, and to either confirm or delete it in the system. Pre-registered but also expired visits are subject to review. Important for substantiation: Both the actual review procedure and the findings shall be documented.
The advantages for enterprises are therefore quite obvious: AEO regulation-compliant recording of suppliers and other external persons can be provided. Since the verification takes place via interfaces, the workflow is automated, documented and involves no extra effort. Not only external companies are checked, but also the visitors and their companies that were previously left out.