Business FAQs

The U.S. Commercial Service has programs and services to help you locate potential business partners overseas. Contact your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center and speak with an International Trade Specialist. You can also receive free export counseling and learn more about our programs and services to help you compete around the globe. Call 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) or visit export.gov to find your local Export Assistance Center.

Market Intelligence is good first step to learn about the sales potential of your product or service in countries abroad. Check out our Market Intelligence section where you can find our Country Commercial Guides (CCGs), which provide comprehensive views of a selected country’s commercial environment, including, market, economic, and political conditions, best export sectors, trade regulations, investment incentives, finance techniques, upcoming trade events, marketing strategies, services for exporters, business travel tips, etc. In addition, CCGs include important government and trade association contacts in a given country.

Additional information is also available on export and import statistics.

There are also numerous services available from the International Trade Administration that enable you to obtain customized market research reports to help determine the overall marketability of your product, identify key competitors, and possible business partners, as well as learn about distribution networks. For more information, please contact your local Export Assistance Center. Locate the Export Assistance Center nearest you or call 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) to speak to a Trade Information Center (TIC) international trade specialist.

In addition, many countries maintain their own web pages with business information specific to that country. For a list of foreign embassies in the United States posted on the Internet, visit http://www.embassy.org.

The U.S. Department of Commerce offers many programs to assist exporters with trade leads. These programs include:

  • Global Business Opportunities (GLOBUS),
  • Country Commercial Guides (CCG),
  • International Partner Search,
  • Gold Key Service,
  • International Buyer Program (IBP),
  • Trade Missions,
  • Product Literature and Sample Displays,
  • Orientation Visits,
  • U.S. Export Pavillions,
  • Trade Show Central,
  • Trade Show News Network,
  • Allworld Exhibitions,
  • Journal of Commerce (JoC),
  • Export Hotline,
  • World Trade Centers Association (WTCA), and
  • Business Information Service for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS).

The Trade Information Center (TIC) does not have comprehensive lists such as these, but can direct callers to other useful resources, such as:

  • The International Partner Search,
  • Commercial Officers in foreign trade offices, embassies, and consulates,
  • Foreign Trade Associations,
  • The Foreign trade Register,
  • Kompass International Trade Directories, and
  • AllBusiness.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NMFS, otherwise known as NOAA Fisheries, works with fishing industry representatives and organizations to facilitate access to foreign markets. In cooperation with the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, NMFS assists exporters seeking information on export inspection services for fishery exports and issues U.S. government certifications. The NMFS can be contacted at:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) is the first point of contact for agricultural export advice and information on USDA export and marketing programs, foreign market research, trade data by country and commodity, trade policy and regulations, export sales, and trade leads. The FAS can be contacted at:

Office of Outreach and Exporter Assistance: (202) 720-7420.
Email: USTHelp@fas.usda.gov
Internet: http://www.fas.usda.gov

The FAS website contains many useful research materials, including World Production, Trade and Market Reports, and Attaché Reports. For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center:
Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
E-mail: TIC@trade.gov
Internet: http://www.export.gov

To obtain U.S. tariff (duty) rates for imports, check on regulations such as import quotas, or obtain general import information, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Department of Homeland Security) website at http://www.cbp.gov and click on “Import” or visit the U.S. International Trade Commission website at http://www.usitc.gov and click on “Tariff Schedule.” Local Customs offices can also be contacted for import information.

Exporting can be profitable for U.S. companies, large and small. To learn more about getting started, visit the How to Export section on the U.S. government’s export portal, export.gov. You’ll be able to take the Export Readiness Assessment and learn how to prepare to enter new markets. You can also talk to trade specialists at the U.S. Commercial Service’s Trade Information Center. Call 1-800-USA-TRAD(E).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides numerous online resources for agricultural exporters, including import requirements for specific products and countries. For additional assistance with agricultural exports please contact the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service: (202) 690-3576.

Several legal assistance resources are available to help businesses that are new to exporting:

  • International Trade Administration at https://www.commerce.gov/doc/international-trade
  • Export Legal Assistance Network (ELAN): A nationwide group of attorneys with experience in international trade. Read More on the ELAN
  • District Export Councils (DEC): Community business leaders whose knowledge of international business and trade serves as a valuable source of professional advice for local companies. Read More on the DEC
  • American Bar Association (ABA): The ABA publishes information on the legal aspects of doing business in specific countries, including guides to foreign law firms and law organizations. Read More on the ABA

China Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Advisory Program: Consultations for American small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about IPR issues in the Chinese market: how to protect and enforce intellectual property rights (IPR), such as trademarks, patents or copyrights, in China. Read More on the Chine IPR Advisory Program

For further assistance, please contact the Trade Information Center:
Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
E-mail: TIC@trade.gov
Internet: http://www.export.gov