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Export FAQs

Starting Up
  1. Do I need any special permits or approvals to start an export business in the U.S.?
  2. Who can help me with export start-up advice and assistance?
  3. Where can I find information on how to export?
  4. How can I determine whether to export on my own or use an export intermediary?
  5. Where can I find an intermediary to handle my export business?
  6. Can the CITD help me with specific trade-related questions?
Assessing Export Readiness
  1. What does it take to be a successful exporter?
  2. How do I tell if I am "export ready"?
Understanding Trade terms and Codes
  1. What coding systems are used to classify products for export and import?
  2. What's the difference between U.S. Schedule B and HTSUSA codes?
  3. How do I determine my HS, Schedule B, HTS or SITC codes?
  4. What are SIC and NAICS numbers, and where can I find them?
  5. What are Incoterms and how do I use them?
  6. What are EIN, VAT, RFC and BN numbers and how can I obtain them?
Market Analysis & Planning
  1. Do I need an Export Market Plan, and what should it cover?
  2. Where can I find U.S. and foreign trade statistics for market analysis?
  3. Where can I find product/country research for market analysis?
  4. What are my market distribution options; how do I determine which is best for me?
  5. What are my market promotion options; how do I determine which are best for me?
  6. What are my market pricing options; how do I determine my export prices?
  7. What are my market adaptation options; what can I do to be more accepted in culturally different markets?
Identifying & Assessing Markets
  1. How can I determine which markets are best for me?
  2. How can I identify likely users of my product in specific markets?
  3. How can I identify my likely competitors in specific markets?
  4. How can I identify markets that are relatively open to my product?
Complying with U.S. Export Regulations
  1. Where can I find advice and information about U.S. export controls?
  2. When does a shipment require an export license? How do I get a license?
  3. Do I need a license to take my laptop and professional equipment overseas?
  4. How do I file a license application? What happens after I file it?
  5. How do I obtain an “Advisory Opinion” on export licensing questions?
  6. What is an ECCN; where do I find one for my product?
  7. What are “Denied Persons” and how do I know who they are?
  8. Are there any restricted countries where I may not sell my goods?
  9. Where can I find information on trade sanctions?
Accessing Foreign Markets
  1. What foreign trade barriers might affect my access to particular markets?
  2. What import duties and taxes might apply to my products in specific countries?
  3. How do I avoid paying foreign duty and tax on goods to be returned to me?
  4. How do I move goods duty-and tax-free under a Temporary Import Bond (TIB)?
  5. What is a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)?
Finding Suppliers, Buyers & Distributors
  1. Where can I find U.S. exporters by product and location?
  2. Where can I find U.S. importers by product and location?
  3. Where can I find foreign companies by product and location?
  4. Where can I find specific offers to buy or distribute products like mine?
  5. How can I attract inquiries/orders from foreign buyers and distributors?
  6. How do I respond to inquiries about my product?
  7. How do I respond to a specific trade (offer to buy) lead?
  8. How do I respond to a request for a price quote?
  9. How can I evaluate prospective agents and distributors?
  10. What provisions and protections should I seek in an Agent/Distributor Agreement?
Filing Required Documentation
  1. What documents will I need to export my goods?
  2. When do I need a Shippers Export Declaration and where do I get one?
  3. What is a proper commodity description?
  4. What is a Certificate of Origin, and where do I get one if it’s needed?
  5. How do I get my certificate of origin "certified"?
  6. How do I determine the country of origin/manufacture?
  7. When do I need a NAFTA Certificate of Origin and where do I get one?
  8. Is a NAFTA Certificate of Origin required for shipments to Canada and Mexico?
  9. When and how do I submit a NAFTA Certificate Of Origin?
  10. Who determines if the product qualifies under NAFTA; who completes the certificate?
Preparing and Shipping Goods
  1. Are there any special requirements to package and deliver goods for export?
  2. What is the harbor maintenance fee? How is it used?
  3. What is cabotage?
  4. What are pre-shipment inspections and when are they required?
  5. Who carries out the pre-shipment inspection and who pays?
  6. Are any special certifications required for agricultural and food products?
  7. What is Cargo Preference and where can I find information about it?
  8. Where can I find air and ocean carriers and schedules for a specific location?
  9. Where can I find freight rates?
  10. What cargo insurance do I need and where can I get it?
Getting Paid
  1. How do I get paid for export sales; what are the risks of different payment methods?
  2. Where can I find sources of export finance?

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