Congratulations! Just the fact that you are interested in exporting products means that you are thinking progressively and looking to shape the future of your business and improve your financial security. As with any business endeavor, there is some risk involved and the best way to minimize risk is to do you research and make informed decisions. With that in mind, I have put together a short guide to help point you to the right resources and help you become familiar with the basics of exporting products.
US Export Regulations
While some think that the US has strict guidelines on what products can be imported and exported from the country, I would argue that the government takes a common sense approach to regulation. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection,
“The products CBP prevent from entering the United States are those that would injure community health, public safety, American workers, children, or domestic plant and animal life, or those that would defeat our national interests.”
Essentially, regulations aren’t meant to hamper the trading abilities of any one industry, but rather they are designed to protect people, animal and ecosystems that could be affected by transactions. Seems pretty reasonable, but it might also mean that you have to go through some extra bureaucratic hurdles to prepare your business and products to start trading overseas.
Do I Need a Permit?
Simply put: it depends. Not every export business needs to acquire a permit, but it is a good idea to make sure that you are dotting all your i’s and crossing your t’s. To determine whether you need to obtain a export permit, you should”
- Visit Export.gov where you can speak with experts ans access important information and forms.
- Check with the federal agency who regulates your industry. A list of agencies can be found here.
- Contact your local port of entry to learn about the details of the process so that you don’t run into any delays due to non-compliance.
Keep in mind that even if exporting your products doesn’t require a permit, you will still have to abide by certain shipping protocol that can vary from port to port. At the very least, you will need to complete CBP entry forms within 15 days of the shipment.
What Legal Considerations Do I Need to Make?
Different countries will have different standards when it comes to accepting products from overseas. The European Union makes it easy for goods to safely travel across borders, but other areas of the world may require specific documents and taxes. Once you have chosen your target market, it is a good idea to work with a legal expert to make sure you are meeting all the basic requirements. Investing in legal advice now can save you money by helping you avoid penalty fees down the road.
In the next installment of the my guide to entering the export market, we will discuss how to choose your target market and how you may have to change the way you package and market your products in order to address cultural differences.