A nationwide survey of trade specialists found that knowledge of supply chain management practices including documentation and international finance expertise should be an important part of a certification process they are developing, according to James F. Foley, who is heading up the certification drive.

            “We found throughout the United States strong support for making sure that people have broad training that goes beyond international marketing and sales,” Mr. Foley told GlobalFax in a telephone interview from Peoria, Ill., where he teaches at Bradley University.

            Without the technical knowledge involved in moving goods internationally, he said that errors derived from misidentifying shipping terms, terms of sale or international trade terms can prove to be very costly.

He chairs the international trade certification committee of North American Small Business International Trade Educators, a non-profit professional association that organized focus groups across the country last year, including one in Atlanta, to determine the competency requirements.

The association is developing the standards but will not be responsible for its implementation, which will be conducted on a voluntary basis by companies and educational institutions.

The program has contracted the New York-based Professional Examination Service, which develops similar processes for other fields, to help develop the program. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies also are involved in its development.

Although certification is to be voluntary, the task force hopes that it will attain the state of the examination for certified public accountants, according to Mr. Foley. “International trade is such a broad topic. We had to develop a clear vision of what the program should look like.” The program is to be launched in the spring of 2005.

            Mr. Foley may be reached at (309) 677-3075 or send an e-mail to jff@bradley.edu