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How to Screen Foreign Buyers
November 30, 2021 Ken Click, Business Development Specialist

Customer due diligence is a critical component of any business transaction. This is especially true for exporters who must obtain specific information about their customers and confirm their identity before doing business with them. Fortunately, there are free resources available to make this process more straightforward.

One critical resource for exporters in the customer due diligence process is the Consolidated Screening List (CSL), administered by the International Trade Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Businesses and individuals impacted by export restrictions will appear on the CSL – a single comprehensive database which integrates 13 screening lists across three federal government agencies. The CSL contains multiple search fields, including keyword, name, fuzzy name, address, country, and screening list source, to facilitate fast and easy searches. Frequently updated and free to use, it can be accessed through the ITA website and is also available for download.

It’s a "red flag" if a match involved in an export transaction turns up on the CSL. Should this occur, the ITA mandates exporters to conduct additional due diligence and “consult the requirements of the specific list on which the company, entity or person is identified by reviewing the webpage of the agency responsible for the list.” The Bureau of Industry and Security, another U.S. Department of Commerce agency, publishes a list of additional red flag indicators for exporters to be aware of.

It is the exporter’s responsibility and a prudent practice to screen foreign buyers prior to completing any international transaction. EXIM’s underwriting department will also check the CSL for any transaction that requires a foreign buyer to be qualified. For more information about EXIM’s policies, including foreign buyer qualification requirements, please click here to schedule a free consultation with an EXIM trade finance specialist.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.