Where can I find information on U.S. government regulations for importing and exporting?
Numerous federal agencies are involved, at some level, in the import and export process. For example, the Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) focuses on threat reduction for U.S. agriculture from pests or diseases. APHIS plays a major role in ensuring that US agricultural exports are accessible to foreign countries, and also works with countries seeking to establish preclearance programs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating products for international trade such as: food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics, animal drugs and feed, radiation-emitting products and cosmetics. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) oversees the development of compatible motor carrier safety requirements and procedures throughout North America in the context of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). These are just a few examples, and there are many more federal agencies that have requirements that affect an international import or export transaction. The U.S. government, through the International Trade Data System, is working to develop a one-stop shop for filing of information related to cargo, crew and conveyances involved in international trade transactions. Under this system, being developed in phases, over the next several years, the requirements of all U.S. federal agencies would be represented.
In terms of import requirements, the primary U.S. federal agency with oversight in this area is the U.S. Customs Service (now) of the Department of Homeland Security. Information on Customs import requirements can be found at http://www.customs.ustreas.gov/xp/cgov/import/. General information on export requirements can be found at the Census Bureau's web site http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/regulations/index.html, as well as the International Trade Administration web site at: http://www.export.gov/.
Where can I find information about how to export from the United States?
The Trade Information Center (TIC) at the International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce is the first stop for companies seeking export assistance from the U.S. government and comprehensive export counseling programs. TIC trade specialists: advise exporters on how to find and use government programs; guide businesses through the export process; direct businesses to market research and trade leads; provide information on overseas and domestic trade events and activities; supply sources of public and private export financing; inform callers on how to access reports and statistics from the computerized National Trade Data Bank (NTDB); and direct businesses to state and local trade organizations that provide additional assistance. The TIC also provides export counseling for Western Europe, Asia, the Western Hemisphere, Africa, and the Near East. TIC trade specialists can assist exporters on: import tariffs/taxes and customs procedures; standards, intellectual property rights, government procurement, and other commercial laws, regulations, and practices; distribution channels, business travel, and other market information; opportunities and best prospects for U.S. companies in individual markets; and difficulties encountered on specific commercial transactions. You can obtain more information on the TIC by visiting their website here: http://www.trade.gov/td/tic/.