Exporting

Grow your business by using the United States as a launch pad to new markets

In 2015, total exports from the United States were valued at $2.2 trillion. Many foreign investors use their U.S. presence as an export hub to serve customers around the globe – and companies of all sizes benefit from a wide range of U.S. government export assistance and promotion resources.  

Exporting Basics

Most exporting from the United States requires minimal paperwork, and 95 percent of all items exported to a foreign buyer do not require an export license.

Learn more from the Basic Guide to Exporting and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Free Trade Agreements

The United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) in force with 20 countries, and is working with regional partners on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The FTA Tariff Data Tool is an online resource to help U.S.-based firms determine product-specific tariff rates that FTA partners have committed to implementing.

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Foreign-Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) are designated locations in the United States where businesses can enjoy reduced duty and customs-related costs. There are approximately 250 FTZs and over 500 foreign trade subzones across the United States, and the value of merchandise handled by FTZs exceeds $640 billion.
 

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U.S. Department of Commerce Export Promotion and Assistance Resources

The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), a part of the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers companies a full range of expertise in international trade, marketing, and finance at every stage of the exporting process. Companies can find local assistance at U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACS) in more than 100 locations across the United States and globally in 75 international offices. These trade specialists  counsel companies on the steps involved in exporting, help assess product export potential, identify markets, locate potential overseas partners, and resolve customs clearance and other trade-related issues.

USCS is the local connection to many resources listed below, including trade shows and customized international expansion opportunities. USCS organizes regular overseas trade missions for U.S.-based firms to explore export opportunities by meeting directly with potential buyers in their markets. USCS also supports certified trade missions organized by state and private sector organizations. 

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U.S. Government Export Financing and Insurance Assistance Programs

Financing offered by commercial lenders is not always sufficient to meet the needs of U.S. exporters – and early-stage small and medium-sized exporters are usually not eligible for commercial financing without a government guarantee. Government-guaranteed export working capital (EWC) loans provide exporters the liquidity to grow U.S. export sales and compete more effectively in the global marketplace. 

Learn more from the Trade Finance Guide: A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters or explore export financing assistance programs offered by the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Other Exporting Resources

The U.S. Trade  and Development Agency (TDA) helps companies grow through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries.  The Agency’s objectives are to help build the infrastructure for trade, match U.S. technological expertise with overseas development needs, and help create lasting business partnerships between the United States and emerging economies.

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