Freight forwarders are essential logistics service providers in international trade. The functions performed by forwarders make it possible for any business to export their products without a large staff. In recommending forwarders to clients I always emphasize the importance of maintaining a good business relationship with providers. It is important to note, however, that primary responsibility for compliance with the EAR falls on the “principal parties in interest” (PPI) in a transaction. This usually means the US seller and the foreign buyer.
Here is some useful info from BIS:
Responsibilities of the Forwarding Community
Forwarding agents have compliance responsibilities under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) even when their actions are dependent upon information or instructions given by those who use their services. However, hiring an agent, whether a freight forwarder or some other agent, to perform various tasks, does not relieve a party of its compliance responsibilities.
Agents are responsible for the representations they make in filing export data. Moreover, no person, including an agent, may proceed with any transaction knowing that a violation of the EAR has, is about to, or is intended to occur. It is the agent’s responsibility to understand its obligations.
Primary responsibility for compliance with the EAR falls on the “principal parties in interest” (PPI) in a transaction. Generally, the PPIs in an export transaction are the U.S. seller and foreign buyer.
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