The U.S. government provides a wide range of resources for small businesses interested in international trade. Whether you are searching for trade statistics, need a loan or line of credit to expand overseas, or want to research possible market opportunities, there is likely to be information for you on one of these sites.
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Government Export Portal
This catch-all site provides access to all government information relevant to exporters or companies considering exporting. It includes access to export counseling, country and industry reports, finance and insurance, trade statistics, trade agreements, and much more.
U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration (ITA)
The International Trade Administration offers a range of information and services designed to help U.S. businesses participate in the global marketplace. In addition to assisting businesses in need of information about overseas opportunities, it also ensures that international markets are accessible to U.S. business as required by trade agreements.
Export-Import Bank of the United States
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (commonly known Ex-Im Bank) is an independent agency that supports the financing of U.S. exports. Ex-Im Bank provides pre-export financing, protection against buyer nonpayment, and financing for buyers. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with commercial lenders, but assumes the risks they cannot accept.
U.S. Small Business Administration
Office of International Trade
This office of the SBA provides information and development assistance to help small businesses considering exporting. It provides access to counseling and training through U.S. Export Assistance Centers. The SBA also provides a wide-range of export-related loan guarantees, including export working capital loans, international trade loans, and others.
Export Legal Assistance Network (ELAN)
A cooperative program of the Federal Bar Association, the U S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the ELAN program provides legal assistance to small businesses interested in starting export operations. International trade attorneys from the Federal Bar Association provide free initial consultations, which can be arranged through local SBA and Department of Commerce district offices.
The United States Department of Agriculture
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
Companies involved in agricultural products can use FAS to obtain specific overseas market information. FAS has posts in 80 embassies and consulates worldwide. It also maintains sector specialists in the United States to monitor foreign markets for specific U.S. agricultural products.
U.S. Customs Service
The United States Customs Service is in charge of enforcing all import and export-related laws and regulations. It oversees assessment and collection of customs duties, excise taxes, fees, and other tariffs related to imported merchandise. It also enforces regulations related to export or import restrictions (including technology export laws). The department also collects import and export related data for compiling international trade statistics.
U.S. International Trade Commission
This federal agency provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement. Its Web site includes a downloadable version of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, a crucial document for importers.
U.S. Trade Representative
The U.S. Trade Representative is the countrys chief trade negotiator and trade policy advisor to the President. The offices Web site is a good place to learn about recent trade agreements and negotiations. Databases include details of trade agreements by world region, as well as by industry.
U.S. Census Bureau
International Trade Statistics
The Census Bureau regularly profiles U.S. exporters, and also offers access to the latest exporter-related business statistics. It also sponsors a series of seminars of trade regulations.
Export Yellow Pages
A public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce and Global Publishers LLC, this site is designed to provide a fast and convenient way for exporters to locate suppliers, services providers and other contacts. The Web site allows users to search for services providers listed in the U.S. Trade Assistance Directory.
The views and opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of American Express and are intended as a reference and for informational purposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or other business professional for advice specific to your business.
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