Indirect taxes and global trade

In recent years, issues related to managing indirect taxes — such as VAT, GST, customs and excise duties — have risen on the corporate agenda. Geopolitical, economic and regulatory uncertainty have made it apparent that new approaches to Global Trade are also needed to keep up with in today’s fluid and complex environment.

        What EY can do for you

        Knowing the indirect tax rules for your business operations and applying them correctly are key to avoid assessments, penalties and goods blocked on airports, harbors, roads, etc. Taxpayers and tax administrators do not always agree about the rules. Complex local legislation, evolving business models and widely different compliance obligations in different jurisdictions add to the risk of disagreements.

        We can advise you on the steps to take to strategically meet your tax obligations and resolve tax controversy. We foster an open dialogue with customs authorities, government officials, business partners and other stakeholders about customs and international trade issues, the impact of policy decisions and the importance of free trade.

        By matching our services to the local, regional and global footprint of our clients, we help you to shift the focus from tactical and transactional activities to trade activities that are more strategic and focused on value creation.

        Here is how EY Indirect Tax and Global Trade team can help you:


        • Global Trade consulting services

          Plan, rather than react to the current challenges in the global trade environment.

          • Duty planning services to reduce duty and embedded costs in the supply chain:
            • FTA utilization, origin planning & strategic sourcing
            • Customs valuation planning & tax/transfer pricing alignment
            • Beneficial tariff classification rulings
            • Special customs regimes (e.g. processing reliefs/bonded zones)
            • Integration with custom, supply chain, tax and business requirements
          • Solutions that minimize risk and prioritize remediation through simplification and standardization:
            • Operating model and business transformation
            • Automated tariff classification
            • Centralized procedures & controls
            • Export control
            • Sanctions/denied party screening
        • Integrated Trade Strategy

          Bring those with a stake in trade together and equip them with data insights they trust and a vision for the future – to give them a comprehensive view of trade, let them understand the full impact of dynamic regulations and develop a more proactive and coherent response.

          • Carry out a Global Trade Function and Maturity assessment to benchmark the current state of your global trade operations and highlight the risks and opportunities
          • Develop and implement an integrated trade strategy with established governance and accountability 
        • Analytics-driven optimized supply chain

          Gain greater visibility and data-driven insights into your supply chains to reduce costs and compliance risks and improve agility and speed to market.

          • Identify opportunities and plan different supply chain and transactional scenarios with EY Trade Analytics
          • Provide access to data analytics modelling for extract key business intelligence and make informed decisions
        • Trade Automation and Managed Services

          Leverage technology to reduce time spent on repetitive, routine and transactional activities to allow you to focus your time on what matters most – adding value by supporting strategic trade activities.

          • As part of a managed service offering, leverage EY Trade Connect, a modular technology platform that can conform to the needs of the business, rather than the other way around:
            • Automate key tasks, such as classifying products for export, assisting with pre or post-entry compliance, and apply or explore options for duty deferral
            • Get updated extensive trade intelligence in real time — from tariff and classification codes through to restricted parties and global compliance rules — to drive confident decision-making
          • Integrate SAP S/4HANA into global trade solutions
            • Build robust data management systems to obtain complete and trustworthy trade data from both internal and external sources
            •  Implement trade automation solutions (e.g. SAP GTS, Oracle GTM)

          Our services let businesses take control of their entire global trade operations.


        In today's global economy, moving goods internationally can be a complex and costly activity. Our Global Trade newsletter, TradeWatch, provides timely information about customs and international trade developments to help our clients develop strategies to manage duty costs and the risks of global trade, to improve trade compliance and to increase the operational effectiveness of international supply chains.

        TradeWatch Issue 2 2021 (pdf) features a special ‘post-Brexit’ section and includes insights and tax alerts from our network of Global Trade professionals around the world.

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