Logistics and Politics in Trade

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rade restrictions affect logistics firms directly.  In many cases, the firms are not only complying with government policy, but working as de facto government agents;  distributing forms, collecting fees in advance, and so forth.  A logistician cannot avoid making difficult decisions about these issues.

The bare-bones options are as follows:

  • Comply, by
    • Helping block restricted trade.
    • Trying to make controlled trade as cheap and painless as possible for everyone
    • Circumvent restrictions by
      • Using legal channels, such as transshipment through a third country
      • Using questionable procedures, such as shell companies
      • Ignoring restrictions, and hoping for the best.

These decisions aren’t straightforward.  Consider two extreme cases.

  1. A shadowy company tells you, quite candidly, that it wants you to help them send Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the so-called Islamic State, and will pay you a fortune in exchange for running the risk of hard time in a Federal prison.  Are you even tempted?
  2. Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and the Gates Foundation want your help in getting critically needed drugs to victims of an epidemic.  The epidemic is located in a war-torn corner of Africa.  The local militia chieftains, who are the closest thing to a national government, are demanding massive bribes, plus carte blanche to give the drugs only to the people who support them.  The UN is helpless.  Assuming you have contacts and assets in Africa, do you assist?

Please discuss the issues involved in how an international logistics company deals with trade restrictions. Make full use of sources.

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