Resource Library for Importers
This library provides import tutorials, how to's, and websites to provide the importer with the tools needed to learn and implement effective trade. We have gathered resources based on requests and input from the trade community. Information listed is constantly being updated in order to provide the most current and relevant information. Be sure to see our resources page for a complete listing of general research, transportation, legal, and financial resources to further assist your import endeavors.
Import How To
Find answers to frequently asked import related questions. For a tutorial on the entire import process, click here.
What is included in a product description?
Developing a concise product specification and description is one of the first required pieces of information when importing. See our example for more details.
How do I determine what product specific or agency requirements exist for my import?
Page 105 of the CBP's Publication: Importing Into the U.S.
Do I need a license to import my product?
A common mistake made by new importers is the assumption that they’ll need a special license to import goods into the United States. Learn more about the license requirements.
What is an HTS number, why do I need it, and how to I find one for my import?
Get a quick overview of HTS here. Use the HTSUS to determine your HTS number.
How do I locate and contact a supplier?
Many online resources are available. Contacting foreign consular offices in the U.S. is another option. Next, develop a concise letter to request information. See our example for details.
How do I determine my landed cost? What is included?
View our example for details.
What are the basic required documents to import?
The following documents are commonly used in importing, but specific requirements vary by destination and product. For assistance with country specific documentation requirements, please contact us.
*Country specific requirements exist.
What are INCOTERMS?
INCOTERMS define the rights an obligations of the parties of the contract with respect to delivery of goods.
*Please note that INCOTERMS have been revised. The most recent version, INCOTERMS 2010, is now in effect as of January 1 2011. Although it is not required that INCOTERMS 2010 be used, buyers and sellers should take caution to ensure that all parties are aware of which version of INCOTERMS is being used in transactions.
How do I know if I am conducting reasonable care?
Look at the checklist provided in the CBP Publication: Importing Into the U.S.
Need a supplier? Search by product.
Made In China
CROSS (Customs Rulings Online Search System)
CROSS is a searchable database of CBP rulings that can be retrieved based on simple or complex search characteristics using keywords and Boolean operators. CROSS has the added functionality of CROSS referencing rulings from the initial search result set with their modified, revoked or referenced counterparts.
HTSUS (Harmonized Tariff System of the United States)
This link to the HTSUS contains the chapter-by-chapter listing of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule and general notes.
The International Trade Administration’s Import Administration is the agency’s lead unit on enforcing trade laws and agreements to prevent unfairly traded imports and to safeguard jobs and the competitive strength of American industry. The primary role of Import Administration is to enforce effectively the U.S. unfair trade laws (i.e., the anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws) and to develop and implement other policies and programs aimed at countering foreign unfair trade practices. Import Administration also administers the Foreign Trade Zones program, the Statutory Import Program and certain sector-specific agreements and programs, such as the Textiles and Apparel Program and the Steel Import Monitoring and Analysis licensing system. The Import Administration provides practical information to help you select your markets and products, ensures that you have access to international markets as required by our trade agreements, safeguards you from unfair competition resulting from dumped and subsidized imports.
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
NAFTA resolves trade disputes between national industries and/or governments in a fair, timely and impartial manner. The NAFTA Secretariat, comprised of a Canadian Section, a Mexican Section and a United States Section, is responsible for the administration of the dispute settlement provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This site is a collaborative endeavor of the three national sections and contains information on the dispute settlement proceedings, legal texts and panel decisions and reports respecting the NAFTA.
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
CBP is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws. This links provides direct access to CBP's TRADE section which contains links to forms, tutorials, and many other tools to the importer and exporter.
CBP Informed Compliance Publications
CBP has a number of Informed Compliance Publications in the "What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: ..." series. As of the date of this posting, the subjects listed are available for reading or downloading.
A listing of CBP forms in PDF format.
U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Administration)
The FDA Import Program is responsible, with the exception of most meat and poultry, for the examination of all food, drugs, biologics, cosmetics, medical devices, and electronic products that emit radiation, as defined in the FD&C and related Acts, when they are being imported or offered for import into the United States.
USITC (U.S. International Trade Commission)
The USITC is an independent, quasijudicial Federal agency with broad investigative responsibilities on matters of trade. The agency investigates the effects of dumped and subsidized imports on domestic industries and conducts global safeguard investigations. The Commission also adjudicates cases involving imports that allegedly infringe intellectual property rights. The Commission also serves as a Federal resource where trade data and other trade policy-related information are gathered and analyzed. The mission of the Commission is to (1) administer U.S. trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner; (2) provide the President, USTR, and Congress with independent analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs, international trade, and U.S. competitiveness; and (3) maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).