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International Desk


Which regulation affects foreign companies doing business in the United States?

The Foreign Trade Regulation, created by the US Department of Commerce, sets up some of the rules for foreign companies trading with the United States.

Is a company considered foreign if the owners/ shareholders are not from the United States?

Companies and partnerships are considered domestic if they are created or organized under the laws of the US, in any US state or the District of Columbia. All other companies or partnerships are considered foreign. US citizenship or residency is not required to start or expand a business in the United States.

Are there any advantages for foreign companies from certain countries when trading with the United States?

Yes. The United States currently has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 17 countries. Some of them are multilateral agreements involving more than one country, like the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, or the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. Some other agreements only affect specific countries, like the ones held with Australia, Bahrain, Chile, Peru, or Panama among others.

Are there any specific locations in the United States where foreign trade laws are less restrictive?

Yes. There are several Foreign Free Trade Zones distributed around the United States, in which the entry procedures and duties established by the US Customs and Border Protection are not required on foreign merchandise. However, these Free Trade Zones are still subject to the laws and regulations of the United States and the state in which they are located.

Do companies require licenses to export or import from the United States?

Some items require a license before they are imported or exported into or from the US. Some sorts of technology, chemicals, agricultural and dairy products, cosmetics, copyrighted materials, or other products are subject to receive a license before being traded. It is the responsibility of the company to find out if the product falls under a category that requires a license, and to have the license granted before proceeding with the export or import of the merchandise. Many companies work with licensed customs brokers that prepare all of the required documentation.

Do companies receive any support from the US Government?

Yes. The US Government has several initiatives to help companies grow in the United States and create employment in the country. Through organizations like the US Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) the Government provides financial assistance with grants, loans, or contracts.

Can a foreign company open a bank account in the United States?

Yes. Santander, Bank, N.A. (“Santander”) can open local bank accounts for non-resident companies in the United States. Companies that have non-resident accounts with Santander can manage their accounts from their home country either through Santander’s online banking platform or through the phone, with customer service available both in English and in Spanish. Foreign companies can use these accounts to collect payments from the United States, to pay US suppliers, or as an investment for excess cash.

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