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SAP launches Trade Services upgrade

SAP is working with partners to add more features to its Global Trade Services software package. Firms are choosing the software as a way to extend visibility to the supply chain.

SAP is launching the latest version of Global Trade Services (GTS) this week, introducing new trade preference processing capabilities into the software package.

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With SAP GTS, trade compliance managers can review and calculate imports and exports and comply with federal and global trade regulations. Companies conducting business globally can use the software to standardize import and export processes throughout the supply chain.

The composite application is installed on top of SAP's NetWeaver platform and integrates data from various systems to manage global trade activities.

Targeted at existing SAP customers, the software is used mainly by heavily legislated companies, such as chemical manufacturers that must meet strict compliance and oversight when doing business overseas. Currently more than 125 companies are using the software, SAP said.

SAP has been working over the last year with partners to increase the functionality of the product. In May, SAP announced a new agreement with FedEx Trade Networks, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., to build in shipping data into the application.

The agreement made SAP the first vendor to integrate automated global duty and tax information into its compliance software.

The latest version of the product helps companies manage the processes of documenting product origin, calculate and determine preference eligibility, and movement certificates as the goods pass through customs.

SAP Risk Management, included in the GTS package, automates the documentation process, including requesting vendor declarations from suppliers, calculating and publishing eligibility information in sales documents, and providing detailed reports.

Companies have been interested in software that can manage the massive amounts of documentation generated from global trade since 2001, when the United States and other foreign governments began enforcing tougher trade rules, according to analysts. The rules require closer monitoring of goods and products shipped globally.

Installing a composite application such as SAP GTS is just part of an overall plan some companies take to build an adaptive supply chain, according to Navi Radjou, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

"If you look at the world today, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that many enterprises are facing, and that makes supply chains much more vulnerable," Radjou said.

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