new to export

New to Export

We can help you assess your export readiness, understand what you need to know and consider before pursuing an international sales strategy, and, when you are ready, develop and implement your export strategy.

Nothing takes the place of meeting with one of our trade specialists locally, but these resources can help you become familiar with what you need to know when exporting!

Getting Started

Test Yourself - Is Your Company Ready to Export?: Online assessment to find out if you're ready to pursue international sales.

Learn Export Basics: Are you ready to make international sales?

Develop an Export Plan: Are you ready to make international sales?

Exporting 101 Webinar: An introduction to the basic methods and strategies of exporting right from your own desk!

Terms of Trade: Definitions and explanations of common exporting terms.

Find Your HS/Schedule B Number: The HS number is needed to look up tariff rates; the Schedule B number is needed to complete the Shipper's Export Declaration. The HS number may be needed on shipping documents, including certificates of origin and the HS number is needed to determine whether a product qualifies for a preferential tariff under a Free Trade Agreement. The Census Bureau offers a free online tool called the Schedule B Search Engine which can help you classify your product.

Market Research: Plan your market entry the right way – use market research to learn your product's potential in a given market, the best prospects for success, and the market's business practices before you export.

USA Trade Online: The Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau is pleased to bring you USA Trade Online! With this dynamic service, you can access current and cumulative U.S. export and import data for over 18,000 export commodities and 24,000 import commodities. USA Trade Online provides trade statistics using the Harmonized System (HS) up to the 10-digit level.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): Over 42% of U.S. exports go to countries with FTAs because these agreements help to strengthen business climates by eliminating or reducing tariff rates, improving intellectual property regulations, opening government procurement opportunities, easing investment rules, and much more.

Develop Your Export Plan: Completing and analyzing an international business plan helps you anticipate future goals, assemble facts, identify constraints and create an action statement.

Making It Happen

Export Financing: Determine your financing needs, understand where to find financing resources and how to apply for financing tools.

Trade Finance Guide: Designed to help U.S. companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, learn the basics of trade finance so that they can turn their export opportunities into actual sales and achieve the ultimate goal of getting paid - especially on time - for those sales.

Export-Import Bank: Supports the financing of U.S. goods and services, maintaining, and creating more U.S. jobs. Check out the seminars offered through the Ex-Im Bank as another resource!

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): Provides investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

Insurance & Risk Mitigation: The U.S. Government offers U.S. companies insurance for both export transactions and for the political risk associated with overseas investments.

Methods of Payment: Learn more about some of your options, including Cash in Advance, Letters of Credit, Documentary Collections and Open Account Terms.

Preparing For Your Shipment

Automated Export System (AES) Filing: Your export information must be filed electronically through the AES. In addition, all exporters must adhere to the new filing timeframes determined by the mode of transportation.

Export Documentation: Definitions and explanations for common documents needed for exporting. Export Documentation Software Providers.

Export Licensing: An export license grants permission to conduct a certain type of export transaction. It is issued by the appropriate licensing agency after a careful review of the facts surrounding the given export transaction. Learn the essentials of Export Controls through the Bureau of Industry and Security's (BIS) "Training Room"!

Export Licensing - FAQ: A Frequently Asked Questions Guide to Export Licensing Requirements for Commercial Items.

Export Compliance: Information on Denied Persons lists, Embargoed Countries and Antiboycott Compliance.

Tariff & Duty Information: Country-Specific Tariff and Tax Information.

Incoterms: 13 standardized definitions of commonly used shipping and trade terms that cover issues such as control of goods and financial responsibilities such as payment of cargo insurance and freight.

Glossary of Shipping Terms: Definitions provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Maritime Administration

Logistics Frequently Asked Questions

Common Supplementary Topics

NAFTA Rules of Origin-Overview: This information is key to understanding the process involved in qualifying your product under the NAFTA rules, but are only guides on the Rules of Origin provisions of NAFTA. *Exporters should keep in mind that only the NAFTA text itself and the customs regulations of each country that may be issued to implement NAFTA are definitive.

ATA Carnets: A Carnet (or "Merchandise Passport") is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products (demos, products for trade shows, etc.) into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and value-added taxes (VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of importation.

CE Mark: Manufacturers in the European Union (EU) and abroad must meet CE marking requirements where applicable in order to market their products in Europe.

Intellectual Property Protection: Piracy, counterfeiting and the theft of intellectual property pose a serious threat to all U.S. businesses - learn what you need to know to protect yourself.

Special Opportunities

Commercial News USA: Learn more about reaching readers in 176 countries worldwide!

Featured U.S. Exporter (FUSE): Feature your company on U.S. Commercial Service websites worldwide!

Further Information

Frequently Asked Export Questions

International Tips

More information about the Milwaukee Export Assistance Center and how we can help!

  • Gold Key Service*: Knowledgeable Commercial Service trade specialists set up appointments for you with potential agents and distributors, major end-users, and key government officials. With access to a broad cross-section of contacts you will be sure to meet the right people at the right levels.
  • International Company Profile*: Additional due diligence so you can enter into an agreement with an international company confidently. Report information can include bank & trade references, principal officers & managers, product lines, financial data, sales volume, etc.
  • International Partner Search*: Helps you find potential agents, distributors or other partners, similar to the Gold Key, but without leaving the U.S.!
  • Featured U.S. Exporter Service*: Get your company featured on Commercial Service websites throughout the world.

*Service has a cost-recovery fee

For related information

Labor statistics, contact the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (New England Regional Office): 617.565.2327.

Economic data, contact the Bureau of Economic Analysis: 202.606.9900.

Resources related to starting or running a small business, please contact the Small Business Administration: 608.441.5263.