Key Business Links
U.S. Government Resources
- Department of Commerce: The U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce supports U.S. commercial interests and assists American businesses in their export marketing efforts.
- Export.gov: Brings together resources from across the U.S. Government to assist American businesses in planning their international sales strategies and succeed in today’s global marketplace. Export.gov also hosts information on the National Export Initiative. For more information about doing business in Spain, click here: http://export.gov/spain/spainprofile/index.asp.
- Export Import Bank of the United States: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is an independent federal agency that fills gaps in private export finance in order to bolster U.S. job growth at no cost to American taxpayers. EXIM provides trade financing solutions – including export credit insurance, working capital guarantees, and guarantees of commercial loans to foreign buyers – to empower exporters of U.S. goods and services.
- National IPR Center: The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) stands at the forefront of the U.S. government’s response to global intellectual property (IP) theft.
- Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR): The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, commodity, and direct investment policy, and overseeing negotiations with other countries. Through an interagency structure, USTR coordinates trade policy, resolves disagreements, and frames issues for presidential decision. The trade policy advisory committee system consists of 26 advisory committees, with a total membership of up approximately 700 advisors. Under the Trade Act of 2002, each advisory committee is required to prepare a report on proposed trade agreements for the Administration and Congress. These reports are made public on USTR’s website.
- Overseas Private Investment Corporation: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. OPIC mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds. OPIC’s products are uniquely tailored to assist the private sector in some of the world’s most challenging places.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides support to U.S. small businesses and small –business owners across the nation through capital (loans), access to federal contracts, and counseling.
- U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA): The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is an independent U.S. Government foreign assistance agency that is funded by the U.S. Congress. Its mission is to help companies create U.S. jobs 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. USTDA provides grant funding to overseas project sponsors for the planning of projects that support the development of modern infrastructure and an open trading system. The hallmark of USTDA development assistance has always involved building partnerships between U.S. companies and overseas project sponsors to bring proven private sector solutions to developmental challenges.
- Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Working to improve market access while promoting U.S. food and agricultural exports around the world.
- The Direct Line for American Business program connects U.S. businesses with American Ambassadors and U.S. mission personnel overseas, making you part of our “country team.” You will get up-to-the minute information on markets vital to your business, and learn about new sectors and tenders to help you expand your business. For more information and to receive announcements of new calls, visit www.state.gov/directline.
- The Business Information Database System (BIDS) gives U.S. businesses up to date information about significant foreign government and multilateral development bank procurements. Through an interactive map interface, businesses can find new export opportunities, validated by U.S. government economic and commercial experts overseas. Public and private partners can link to or download BIDS data for matchmaking, analysis, or other purposes. http://bids.state.gov.
- AmChams: AmChams (American Chambers of Commerce) advance the interests of American business overseas. They are voluntary associations of American companies and individuals doing business in a particular country, as well as firms and individuals of that country who operate in the U.S. Currently, 115 AmChams in 102 countries are affiliated with U.S. AmCham. Listings of AmChams and contact information by region of interest or country are also available.
- Spanish Customs: The website of the Spanish customs agency offers information on taxes, credit, and other legal information useful for business owners in Spain.
- Customs Taric: The European Commission’s Taxation and Customs Union provides data on taxation within the single market. The site also includes information on efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy within the European Union.
- Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX): ICEX is part of Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and provides information on investment, market conditions, and trade events in Spain.
- Doing Business in Spain. A comprehensive online publication with information on investments, regional governments, and other services.
- Ministry of Public Administration. An online destination for business management, sustainability, R&D data and other essential information needed to start a business in Spain.
- Ministry of Economy. The official website of the Spanish Ministry of Economy is a useful source for economic conditions in Spain as well as R&D and investor information.
How can I locate importers, distributors, sales reps, etc. in an overseas market?
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.
How can I learn more about my products or services sales potential in overseas markets?
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.
How do I locate trade Leads for my exporting business? How do I locate potential distributors in overseas markets? How do I find information about a particular overseas company?
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).
Where can I find a list of foreign companies in a particular industry or sector?
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
Where can I obtain Information on foreign markets and trade opportunities for fish and seafood products?
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:
- Seafood Inspection Services Division: (301) 713-2355 for information on export inspection services and foreign country requirements. Or visit them online at http://www.seafood.nmfs.noaa.gov/
- National Marine Fisheries Service website: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/
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.
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
How can I obtain information about importing products into the United States?
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.
How do I import products into the United States?
Please contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
I think that my company’s product would be successful in other countries, but I’m not sure how to get started in international business. Is there help for new exporters?
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).
What are some resources that can help with exporting U.S. Food and agricultural products?
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.
Are there sources of legal assistance for people who are new to exporting?
Several legal assistance resources are available to help businesses that are new to exporting:
- International Trade Administration at https://www.commerce.gov/bureaus-and-offices/ita.
- 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
Agricultural Trade Opportunities
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS/Madrid) is the office of the agricultural attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid. FAS/Madrid assists U.S. agricultural exporters, commodity associations and state and regional trade groups participate in trade shows, trade missions, market research and other promotion events in Spain and Portugal. Specialists in the Office of Agricultural Affairs know most of the prospective buyers in Spain and Portugal, as well as the local business conditions, distribution patterns and outlets, and consumers’ preferences.
If you are new to this market, contact us and we will guide you to our latest reports on market opportunities, including local supply and demand conditions, market access issues and regulations, and promotional opportunities in Portugal and Spain.
USDA/FAS Trade Leads Service is once again available!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service has re-launched the Trade Leads Service. Effective immediately, importers of U.S. food and agricultural products can request that the local U.S. Embassy produce a list of U.S. suppliers to provide the products they seek.
Our staff within the FAS/Madrid office prepares a wide variety of agriculture-related reports yearly. Some of our reports focus on production, supply and distribution of different strategic products in Spain and Portugal. Others identify market conditions, including market access barriers and/or opportunities in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. Please follow this link to access our reports worldwide: FAS/USDA Global Agricultural Attaché Reports.
Market Access Problems?
The Foreign Agricultural Service in Madrid will assist U.S. exporters if and when export problems occur as the result of Spanish and Portuguese Government application of European Union regulations. If you have a shipment that is blocked entry and your broker/importer cannot resolve the difficulty, please contact us at AgMadrid@fas.usda.gov. We will assist you to clarify import requirements and attempt to resolve any problems you encounter.
U.S. Exporter –Association Missions to Spain and Portugal
FAS Madrid will assist U.S. trade missions to Spain and Portugal to schedule appointments and provide support as is feasible. There are also a number of food and agricultural trade shows in Spain and Portugal every year. Please contact us at AgMadrid@fas.usda.gov for more information and/or to initiate plans for a visit.
Did you know?
- Spain is the world’s largest olive oil producer and the United States is the largest olive oil importer in the world.
- Meanwhile, Spain is the top export destination of U.S. almond exports – importing over $300 million in almonds – mainly from California.
- Spain is the 9th largest investor in the U.S., with an investment stock of $51 billion in 2012.
- Subsidiaries of Spanish-owned firms employed approximately 74,600 people in the United States as of 2010.
- Spain ranked second globally in terms of international tourism receipts in 2012, only outpaced by the U.S.
- Spain ranks among the top ten countries in the world with the best infrastructure quality.
- Seven out of the ten largest infrastructure companies in the world are Spanish.
- Three out of five flights around the world are controlled by Spanish navigation systems.
- Spain is participating in NASA Mars Science Lab “Curiosity” mission with key communications and environmental monitoring components that were designed and built in Spain. This is only the latest part of the Spain-NASA relationship, which began in the 1960s with the development of a Deep Space Communication Complex where many of the Apollo moon mission communications came through, and where 100+ personnel currently work on supporting 40+ deep space missions.
- Abengoa’s PS10 Solar Power Plant, commissioned in 2007, is the world’s first commercial solar energy power tower. Located outside Seville, Spain, PS (“Planta Solar”) 10 produces electricity by concentrating solar radiation from 600+ large movable mirrors onto a 350 foot high tower.