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flag United States United States: Buying

In this page: Customs Procedures | Industrial and Manufacturing Profile | Identifying a Supplier | Controlling the Quality of the Products | Organizing Goods Transport To and From the United States


Customs Procedures

Export Clearance
It is necessary to comply with the specific procedures determined in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Export.gov provides tools, assistance, and expert knowledge to help your company grow in the global marketplace.
Depending on the good or service, you may need a license or permit to export it from the U.S. as a part of your business. Most items exported to a foreign buyer will not require an export license.  However, all items are subject to export control laws and regulations. To avoid any problems, follow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) exporting requirements or contact the local port of entry used to export your goods.

It is imperative that the appropriate export documentation, thoroughly and accurately completed, accompany all export shipments. Failure to do so can result in tax payments, detention or seizure of shipments, miss-shipments, penalties, government audits, and adverse publicity. The documents described below are required for exports

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Electronic Export Information

The Electronic Export Information (EEI) needs to be filed when the value of the commodity classified under each individual Schedule B number is over $2,500 or if a validated export license is required to export the commodity. The exporter is responsible for preparing the EEI and the carrier files it with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through the AES or AES Direct. Exporters are to maintain records of all exports for a period of five years from the date of export or last export or re-export.

Necessary Declaration

Entering merchandise is a two-part process consisting of: (1) filing the documents necessary to determine whether merchandise may be released from Customs custody, and (2) filing the documents that contain information for duty assessment and statistical purposes. Both of these processes can be accomplished electronically via the Automated Broker Interface program of the Automated Commercial Systems.

  • Invoices
  • Each package is marked and numbered so it can easily be identified against the invoice.
  • A detailed description of the merchandise in each package is on the invoice.
  • The country of origin is clearly marked.
  • Any special laws that apply are complied with. Merchandise such as food, drugs, cosmetics, alcohol and so on will usually fall into this category.
« Export permission » and « Export approval » are necessary but they only concern goods internationally recognized as being subject to such restrictions (weapons, nuclear energy, missiles, etc.).
Export Taxes

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Industrial and Manufacturing Profile

The U.S. is the leading industrial power in the world. Industry represents 18.2% of GDP. Its production is highly diversified, technologically advanced and includes the following sectors: petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber and mining.

Sector-specific professional associations

192 professional associations listed for the United States.

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Type of Manufacturers

Original Equipment Manufacturers
OEMs are found in every major American industrial sector, for example IBM, General Motors, Boeing, etc.
Original Design Manufacturers
This is a company that manufactures a product which ultimately will be branded by another firm for sale. ODMs create their own intellectual property and are very proactive in patenting it. Most of their patents are filed in the US, Taiwan and China.
The labor cost in USA is too high to allow the country to be competitive for this type of business relation. Nevertheless in some particular case inside the country, big companies use smaller one of the same industry as subcontractors on some projects.

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Identifying a Supplier

American multisector Business directories

4Wholesale USA - USA wholesale suppliers listed by categories

All.biz - USA - Directory of companies in the USA

Columbia Chamber - Columbia business directory

Manta - US business directory

Merchant Circle - Multi-sector directory focused on the U.S. market

Openfos - US manufacturers, wholesalers, and suppliers of industrial product or services

Spoke - Multi-sector directory

SuperPages - Search engine of local US Yellow Pages.

Thomas Net - Directory of manufacturers, distributors and service providers in the USA

Zipleaf - Business directory for several countries in the world

American Marketplaces

Sample of marketplaces incorporated in the United States (A to Z)


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Upcoming Trade shows in the United States

May 30th, 2023
Electricity, electronics - Electrical equipment - Electronic equipment and components - Embedded systems - Technique and technology - Engineering
May 30th, 2023
Music, opera
May 31st, 2023
Territorial administration - Institutions, other communities - Horticulture, forestry, forest - Horticulture - Forestry, forest - Land planning, urban planning - Water treatment - Fruits and vegetables - Home and garden services - Sports and recreation - Outdoor sports - Amusement parks, fairgrounds - Gardens, parks - Monuments, tourist attractions - Camping, resorts
May 31st, 2023
Jewellery - Hygiene, perfumes, cosmetics - Precision, measures, optics, watches - Textiles, ready-to-wear: unspecified - Textile, fur, accessories - Fashion, ready to wear - Shoe
May 31st, 2023
Primary and secondary education - Higher Education - Learning - Technical education, vocational education
June 1st, 2023
Environment, ecology, water - Natural resource management, ecology - Urban and industrial waste - Water treatment
June 1st, 2023
Jewellery - Hygiene, perfumes, cosmetics - Precision, measures, optics, watches - Textiles, ready-to-wear: unspecified - Textile, fur, accessories - Fashion, ready to wear - Shoe
June 1st, 2023
Agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry - Agriculture - Forestry, forest - Viticulture - Fisheries, aquaculture, fish farming - Multimedia - Food industry - Food industry: unspecified - Jewellery - Hygiene, perfumes, cosmetics - Toys, games, gifts - Libraries - Bookstore - Medical professions - Hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy - Home services - Household linen
June 1st, 2023
Education, training - Primary and secondary education - Higher Education - Learning - Technical education, vocational education - Vocational training - Software - Social science - Social studies - Services and business consulting - Accounting, taxation - Management - Translation - Legal - Recruitment, temporary employment, outplacement - Job training, unemployment
June 1st, 2023
Insurance, mutual funds, pension funds - Banks - Investment funds, other financial institutions - Stock Exchange, investments - Financing, aid - Marketing - Incentive - Commercial property, patents, trademarks - Franchise

To see 1.695 more, check out our Trade shows database

Other Useful Resources

Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Small Business Administration
National Business Association
Office of the American business representatives
Contact the British-American Business in the United Kingdom.
Contact Your Commercial Representations in the United States
Contact UK Trade & Investment in the United States.
Contact the British Embassy in the United States.

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Controlling the Quality of the Products

Quality Control Organizations
American Society for Quality

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Organizing Goods Transport To and From the United States

Main Useful Means of Transport
According to the latest data provide by Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2018 the U.S. transportation system moved a daily average of about 51.0 million tons of freight valued at more than $51.8 billion. Water is the leading transportation mode for U.S.-international freight trade. Ships moved 41.9 percent of the value (nearly $1.8 trillion) and 70.9 percent of the weight (1.6 billion tons) in 2018. Air freight, which accounted for 0.3 percent by weight, was the second largest mover of goods by value (27.5 percent), accounting for $1.16 trillion. Truck moved 10.4 percent of total freight and 18.4 percent of total value.  Trucking was the primary mover from and to Canada and Mexico, followed by rail. Together, rail and pipeline accounted for about 6.0 percent of the total value and 17.3 percent of the total weight of U.S.-international freight trade. The top 25 U.S.-international freight gateways, measured by value of shipments in 2017, consist of 10 water ports, 5 land-border crossings, and 10 air gateways.

All coasts of the country have advanced, highly computerised ports, automated for a fast distribution of the goods (especially in containers); some of them offer a direct connection towards waterways. The Port of Los Angeles is the leading U.S.-international freight gateway (water), moving $214.8 billion in cargo.

After deregulation in the 1980s, the railway freight market has rapidly expanded and increased more than 40%. Regional oil shipments by rail increased, on average, from less than 1 percent of all regional shipments in 2010 to over 7 percent in 2019.

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By Air

List of U.S Airports
Transport Professionals
List of Air Transport professionals
Government Transport Organisations
Federal Aviation Administration

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By Road

Transport Professionals
Government Transport Organisations
U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration

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Latest Update: May 2023