Todd R. Benson

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The United Parcel Service (UPS) is a major participant in world trade, with a simply stated purpose: "to enable global commerce." Serving more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, UPS is directly involved with the movement of goods, information, and funds,' essential elements of international trade.

Increased globalization and trade means the movement of goods and commodities to virtually anywhere in the world. Because of the benefits from trade and the genuine needs for goods and supply-chain services around the world, there are good reasons to be concerned about factors that impede trade.' These factors may be direct impediments such as in import or export restrictions, tariffs, or the need to supply information and documents. Procedural delays are indirect impediments' that can result from well-meaning efforts to address security concerns, overly complicated laws and regulations, or the commercial objectives and vested interests of strong local actors. In all cases, impediments increase costs and may have critical implications where timely or just-in- time delivery is a key factor driving profitable business or functional industry, which is just about everywhere. In such scenarios, missed or delayed shipments involve critical components in the supply chain and may result in damaging financial loss, strained business relationships, or project failure. These issues are critical for large industrial actors and even more critical for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which typically have small margins for error. Examples are myriad; for instance, in the healthcare field, missed or delayed shipments might have life-or-death or serious health implications where time-sensitive tests, treatment, or medicine is needed for patients. Ideally, customs and other cross-border agencies adopt principles and objectives that accomplish legitimate regulatory purposes, while helping people and strengthening communities by facilitating trade.