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International trade compliance

flag United States International trade compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
International Economic Cooperation
The United States is a member of the following international economic organisations: G-7, G-10, G-20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), WTO, IMF, OECD, ICC, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates the United States click here. International organisation membership of the United States is also outlined here.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
  • Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533) or Application and Special Permit for Immediate Delivery (CBP Form 3461) or other form of merchandise release required by the port director,
  • Evidence of right to make entry,
  • Commercial invoice or a pro forma invoice when the commercial invoice cannot be produced,
  • Packing lists, if appropriate,
  • Other documents necessary to determine merchandise admissibility.

To go further, check out our service Shipping Documents.

Free Zones
In the United States, free-trade zones are called foreign trade zones. There are currently more than 250 foreign trade zones; for a full list click here.
The foreign-trade zones (FTZs) program was authorized by Congress in 1934 (FTZ Act - 19 USC 81a-81u) and is used to help encourage activity and value-added at U.S. facilities in competition with foreign alternatives by allowing delayed or reduced duty payments on foreign merchandise, as well as other incentives. For further details consult the portal of the Foreign Trade Zones Board and that of the International Trade Administration.
For Further Information
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. State Department Services and consular affairs.
Non Tariff Barriers
Farm products are subject to both FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (U.S. Agricultural Department) rules.
- Dairy products require an import license. Quotas are in place. Products must conform to the strict sanitary and labelling rules and a description of ingredients is also required.
- Most fruits, vegetables and hazelnuts are subject to import licenses. The APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) analyses the risks of disease.
- Meat-based products can only be imported via ports with checking sanitary installations authorised by the USDA. The APHIS examines all goods.

Nearly 20% of all imports into the U.S. are food and food products. In 2002, Congress passed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act), which, among other things, required the FDA to develop two systems: one to support the registration of facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food products intended for consumption in the United States and one to receive prior notice before food is imported or offered for import into the United States. Prior notice must be submitted electronically at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Manufactured goods should also conform to American standards, which imply potential additional costs. Electric equipment should be systematically guaranteed by a third party. There are no less than 2,700 municipal or federal authorities able to distribute safety certifications and they vary from state to state. As there is no central source of information about these normative aspects, it is imperative to enquire beforehand with the help of an importer.

Whatever the nature of the product, documentation is important- especially in terms of the invoice and certificate of origin. The documentary formalities are notably very heavy for textile imports (all products comprising above 5% in the composition of the textile product should be listed very precisely). The labelling rules can also generate substantial additional costs.

The U.S. applies a certain number of embargoes, forbidding the import of products manufactured with components originating from several countries. For a list of countries for which the U.S. applies an embargo (full or partial), visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury's website.

Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Please click here to see all the USA commercial disagreements have been registered with the WTO.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
USA’s commercial policy, as seen by the WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

Learn more about How to Export to the United States on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Latest Update: June 2022