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AI Can Augment Your Export Controls

Artificial Intelligence, including modern large language models (LLMs), are becoming increasingly popular in business. These models are trained using extensive databases. In the case of general LLMs such as ChatGPT, the training data is “as much publicly available text data as possible”, and in the case of business-specific AI, the training data may be more domain-specific.

The use of AI for export control compliance is still being explored, but there are some clear areas where AI could be useful. For example, an AI model could be trained on the export control regulations and hazardous materials regulations for a variety of countries, then used to classify exports headed to those countries, flagging up any that need to have documentation printed. The AI could also be used for risk assessments and to identify packages requiring additional checks or declarations.

At this stage, AI models are not perfect, although error rates vary depending on the complexity of the subject and the training model used. However, they can be effective when combined with predictive analytics as a way of speeding up common tasks. There’s still room for human intervention and more basic forms of automation that follow prescriptive rules. Indeed, machine learning technologies can be used to analyze historic patterns and refine the rules used in more basic forms of automation, maximizing the efficiency of your operations.

Intelligent automation that takes advantage of machine learning algorithms can assist export control officers when dealing with more complex issues. They’re useful for summarizing information and finding the relevant sections of regulatory documents, which might otherwise take many hours for a human to wade through. The time savings may not seem significant when you look at them on a per-package basis. However, when you scale up to processing hundreds of orders per day, those minutes and hours saved rapidly add up.

Export Control Compliance Is Getting More Complex — AI Helps Us Keep Up

Whether you’re new to the world of export control compliance or have been running a logistics operations for a long time, you’ve likely noticed how complicated export controls have become in the last few years:

  • The list of sanctioned entities has grown significantly in the last couple of years
  • New regulations are being added every year
  • The impact of Brexit is still being felt both in the United Kingdom itself, and by those who trade with that country
  • In the B2B world, understanding the web of business subsidiaries is difficult, making account screening time-consuming.

While smaller businesses may have the time to study regulations and look up information on a case-by-case business, this is not sustainable for a business with a long list of customers handling many shipments per day.

AI can cut the process of screening a new account or assessing a shipment from a four-hour job to one that takes less than an hour. These time savings can allow a logistics company to handle more clients confidently, safe in the knowledge they’re operating within the regulations of the countries they deal with.

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