United States - Selling and buying
Reaching the consumers
It is the ultimate test market for exporters. The country is open to all kinds of new products and technologies, but geographically it is very spread out and there is an intense competition. This market is, however, very demanding and requires a considerable amount of preparation, groundwork and long-term consistency.
- Wal Mart ( 4000 outlets)
- The Kroger Co.
- Sears Roebuck & Co (bought by Kmart).
Market access procedures
The United States is also in negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pact.
- Dairy products require an import license and quotas do exist. Products should conform to the strict sanitary and labeling rules. 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 authorized by the USDA. The APHIS examines all goods.
Nearly 20% of all imports into the US are food and food products. In 2002, Congress passed the Bioterrorism Act as a part of its ongoing effort to fight terrorism. The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Bioterrorism Act) requires that FDA develops 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, beginning on December 12, 2003. Prior notice must be submitted electronically at Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Manufactured goods should also conform the American standards, which imply potential additional costs. Electric equipment should be systematically guaranteed by a third part. There are not less than 2,700 municipal or federal authorities able to distribute safety certifications, and they do vary from State to State. As there is no central source of information about the normative aspects, it is imperative to inquire beforehand with the help of an importer.
Whatever the nature of the product is, documentation is important, especially in terms of invoice and certificate of origin. The documentary formalities are notably very heavy for textiles import (above a part of 5 % in the composition of the textile product, all the products should be listed very precisely). The labeling rules can also generate important additional costs.
Finally the USA 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. apply an embargo (full or partial), visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury's website.
The WTO gives a sheet summarizing the Customs tariffs by country.
Organizing goods transport
The network in place for goods transportation is much wider than the one of travelers and concentrates on its own 30% of total goods transport.
An important deregulation took place on the American railway freight market in the 80s, and since then, the part of total freight transport increased to more than 40%.