US Export Logistics: Key Understandings of Trading Internationally

With approximately $5.6 trillion in exports and imports of goods and services in 2019, the United States is the world's largest trading nation. The United States has trade agreements with over 200 countries, territories, and regional organizations throughout the world. The United States is the world's second-largest exporter of products.

What is exporting?

Exporting is the process of moving domestically produced products from one country to another to make a sale/trade. An example of exporting would be Ecuador selling bananas to other countries, or China selling rice to other nations.

How Large is Exporting In the US?

The US export industry is a massive one that generates an abundance of jobs and employment opportunities. It’s a major contributor to the United States’ yearly GDP. 

According to the US Commerce Department, here’s a quick rundown of the largest export industries in the US in 2017:

  • Food and beverage - $133 billion
  • Civilian aircraft and engines - $99 billion 
  • Engines, car tires, and auto parts - $86 billion
  • Passenger cars - $53 billion
  • Pharmaceuticals - $51 billion
  • Fuel, crude oil, and other petroleum-based products - $109 billion
  • Industrial machines - $57 billion

Requirements For Exporting Food and Beverages from the US

If you’re a manufacturer of food, beverage, or any other dietary supplement in the US and wish to export your products to the rest of the world, there are certain requirements you must fulfill. For one thing, you must comply with all FDA regulations. 

Here’s a quick rundown of all the steps you must follow to successfully and legally export your goods:

  • Register yourself with the Food and Drug Association (FDA) - As per the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, all facilities in the business of processing, packing, and manufacturing food products must register themselves with the FDA. 
  • Have a designated US Agent.
  • Make sure your labeling is compliant with all federal laws and regulations
  • Verify that your products don’t carry any prohibited ingredients listed by the FDA
  • See if your products need an FCE Registration.
  • Submit notice for every shipment beforehand
  • Ensure compliance with all FSMA requirements.

What is an Export Trading Company in the US?

An export trading company offers export logistics services to companies in the business of exporting goods and services. Typically that entails taking care of shipping, warehousing, insurance, and billing on behalf of clients. 

Other than that, export trading companies sometimes also help manufacturers and clients find relevant markets and buyers overseas. It’s not uncommon for several producers to often form their own export trading company.

How do Export Trading Companies Help the US Economy?

Exporting creates tons of job opportunities for Americans and American companies. Those jobs tend to carry a wage premium of 13-18% compared to non-export jobs and companies. 

Here’s a quick look at why export trades are important for the US:

  1. Over 40 million jobs in America depend on international trade.
  2. Roughly 98% of 300,00 US-based companies involved in export are small to medium-sized. They are accountable for 1/3rd of the total US merchandise export.

Finding an Export Trading Partner & Must-Haves

If you’re a US-based business involved in export who is looking for a trading partner, you need to look for a certain skill set and qualities. These are the qualities that make for a promising export trading partner:

Understanding of International Trade Compliance

An exchange of goods between countries is governed by complex rules and regulations. More often than not, it’s the import/export manager responsible for handling trade compliance. It’s their job to make sure that all involved parties (including employees of both organizations) are abreast of the latest laws governing import/export.

Analytical Skills

Businesses depend on mining and analyzing data to gain insight into demand across national and international markets as well as customer behavior. Such knowledge is important for making informed business decisions.

So, an export trading manager must have an analytical mindset. He/she should be able to look at sales stats to anticipate future needs and respond accordingly.

Production and Resources Capacity

Securing a large contract is only half the deal. It’s quite another to fulfill it on time. A trading partner with inadequate production/resources capability is the surefire way to lose such contracts. There must be, at all times, enough storage and production capacity to meet sudden and unexpected foreign demands. 

The trade partner should be resourceful enough to modify the manufacturing process and deliver different versions of services/products based on the foreign market’s regulatory, cultural, and certification requirements.

Accountability and Adaptability

It’s the act of taking ownership and responsibility for the work you do. Adaptability, on the other hand, is a willingness to modify your processes and ways of thinking to meet the changing circumstances and new scenarios.

Foreign Language & Cross-Cultural Knowledge

An export trading partner must have a knack for understanding the target foreign market and foreign culture. They should know how the cultural nuances and subtleties influence demand for the product. It pays to know the foreign language in which you do business.


It’s the ability to convey your message concisely and clearly without causing any confusion. Poor communication often causes costly misunderstandings. Other than speaking, communication also involves listening skills so you know exactly what others need.

An Understanding of International Logistics

Logistics entail taking care of safe storage conditions, making sure the shipment leaves on time, submitting a prior notice for the shipment, and ensuring that the goods/service reach the destination on time. As simple as it sounds, the actual logistics are quite complex.

Without an understanding of the export logistics, you’re destined to fail. Knowledge of logistics allows you to troubleshoot issues as and when they arise anytime in the supply chain.

Who is American Trading International (ATI) and How Does ATI Help the US Companies?

ATI or American Trading International is a US-based Food and Beverage export company that works with 80+ countries. The establishment has been functional since 1995. It’s based in California.

Equipped with a knowledge of international and local markets, a multicultural staff, in-house labeling capacities, and a solid knowledge of registration/logistics; ATI is the best strategic partner to grow and expand your brand internationally.

American Trading International represents hundreds of American name brands and international buyers. As a logistics expert, it streamlines the whole export process on behalf of its clients. Not only that, but it also connects sellers with international buyers by exposing them to target markets.

Questions on what we can do for your brand or company? Call us today at +1 (310) 445-2000 or fill out our form on the contact us page.

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