Importing into the United States: A Guide for Overseas Importers

Importing entails bringing goods and services to a country. The United States is known to import more than it exports, which means many opportunities for investors.

Importing into the US can be complex for both new and existing importers. Finding suppliers, new customers and getting the correct documentation can be a tall task for many businesses. For this reason, we put together a guide for overseas importers to make the process easier to understand. Keep reading to discover more.

Why Are Import Costs High in the US?

The United States is the second-largest importer in the world. Its imports increased by 1.2% in January 2022, due to more purchases of goods like automotive parts, crude oil, and copper.

The food and beverage imports have immensely increased, with the only decline recorded in the importation of services. Overall in 2022, the US import market is performing exceptionally well.

The growth of imports has led to a trade deficit, advantageous for importers shipping into the United States. Allowing so much trade into the country keeps the scarcity of goods and services low, with US citizens continuing to spend.

The United States imports so much for various reasons - the main one being low costs. US importers can outsource cheaper products from foreign markets, and China and Mexico are the main ones.

The United States spends over $93 billion on imported vehicles from Mexico. On the other hand, China is the leading exporter of electrical equipment, and the US spends over $135 billion on this electrical equipment.

Emerging markets can produce at a low cost due to low labor wages compared to the US, where the labor wages are high. Differences in wages significantly contribute to the disparity in the charge of production.

Opportunities for Importers

The US genuinely provides a conducive environment for traders. It has reduced trade barriers, transparent trade rules, trade agreements, etc. All these increase opportunities for importers who want to import from or into the United States.

American Trading International helps you spot these opportunities, and guide your company steadily through the entire importing process.

Essential Recommendations for Importers

There are various factors to consider before importing into or from the US. As an importer, you should remember that each country has its importing terms. Proper research is necessary before undertaking any vital steps.

Importing, especially for first-timers, can be tricky. Here is a detailed process on how to begin importing.

Examine the Legislation, Trade Restrictions, and Tariffs in Your Country

Countries have different trading relationships with other countries which can be advantageous or disadvantageous.

The US has several trade agreements, such as the free trade agreement (FTA) in force with twenty countries. As a US importer, trading with these countries is beneficial.

Trade restrictions are mainly to discourage trade with another country. They can be in the form of tariffs or non-tariffs. Tariffs are taxes imposed on imports to protect domestic products. The four types of tariffs are:

  • Ad Valorem
  • Specific
  • Compound, and
  • Tariff-rate quota

You need to understand your type of import to know if it is subject to tariffs. US imports can have formal or informal entries. Any product that has a commercial value of over $2,500 is considered a formal import, while products with a commercial value under $2,500 are considered informal imports. The former are liable to duty charges and the later ones aren’t.

Also, make sure to confirm the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of your imports. The US utilizes the HTS to check the import tax of products based on the Harmonized code. This code is used to classify products around the world.

Trade restrictions generally limit importation into or from the US. Always make sure you are aware of all trading regulations and laws.

Make Genuine Contacts in the Exporting Country

Establishing contact is essential for the health of your business. Interacting and getting to understand the manufacturers of your goods is a must. You get to evaluate the quality of imports and ensure the standards are met.

If making connections is a hassle, consult with ATI. They have a diversified, friendly workforce to handle communications.

Obtain All Necessary Licenses, Bonds, and Permissions

Documentation is everything, mainly when importing into the US. It's proof that the right channel was followed during importation. The documents needed are dependent on the type of imported product.

It doesn’t matter if you are importing into or from the US. Ensure you attain all the licenses, bonds, and permits. Failure to do this you risk paying fines to the US government, and your products may also be confiscated.

Educate Yourself and Consider Seeking Advice From a Professional Trading Company

Having the correct information is critical in importing into the US. Understand how the process works and how other experienced importers make it. Always read up and investigate the exporting country; after all, knowledge is power.

Working with a professional trading company to avoid mistakes is best. American Trading International is perfect for new importers. You can easily seek trading advice.

American Trading International Company (ATI)

ATI is your true friend when it comes to exporting or importing. 

Mostly majoring in food and beverage brands, ATI has been around since 1995. Its dedicated multicultural staff has ensured the company remains the top best over the years. ATI’s global presence certainly speaks for itself, and its networks and developed image are over the chart.

ATI offers quality exporting of US-made foods and beverages. It achieves this by eliminating any risk, handling logistics, finding buyers and customers, etc. American Trading International goes above and beyond to satisfy its clients.

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


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