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Office What is regulates
U.S. Customs Office Imports Imports are classified using the U.S. Customs Office's 10-digit Harmonized Tariff System. You can do an online database search to determine the proper code at http://dataweb.usitc.gov/scripts/tariff.asp. Once you determine the classification, the following documents are required to import non-regulated items into the U.S. for commercial purposes (called a formal consumption entry):
  1. An airway bill or carrier's certificate (naming the person or company who will receive the items for customs purposes).
  2. A commercial invoice from the seller, which shows the value and description of the merchandise.
  3. Entry manifest (Customs Form 7533) or Entry/Immediate Delivery (Customs Form 3461).
  4. Packing lists, if appropriate, and other documents necessary to determine whether the merchandise may be admitted.
Your Tariff Classification determines the required duty taxes. In addition, there is a processing fee. Both must be paid prior to receiving the merchandise, or you can post a bond and pay the actual tax after receiving the goods.

Shipment under $2000 in value? Consider the U.S. Mail
Shipments by mail which do not exceed $2000 in value (except for commercial shipments of textiles and suits from Hong Kong), can be made through the U.S. mail with a simplified customs declaration form available at the post office. The parcel will be delivered to you and released upon the payment of the duty tax, shown on the package. There is also a small postal handling fee.

Restricted Merchandise
The following items require permits or licenses to import into the U.S.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animal and animal products
  • Certain drugs
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Fruits, nuts
  • Meat and meat products
  • Milk, dairy, and cheese products
  • Plants and plant products
  • Poultry and poultry products
  • Petroleum and petroleum products
  • Vegetables
The following items must comply with applicable regulations of a federal agency:
  • Art materials
  • Cultural property
  • Hazardous/toxic/flammable materials
  • Household appliances
  • Some electronics products
  • Toys and children's articles
All imported items must be properly marked with their country of origin. For more information, click here
U.S. Customs Office
Exports
Exports use the U.S. Census Bureau's Schedule B codes for classification. You can do an online search at http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/. Exporters are required to complete a Shippers Export Declaration, available at http://www.aesdirect.gov/. Exports must also have a certificate of origin, available through many chambers of commerce.

Please note that the destination country may have import requirements and tariffs. You may have to hire a freight forwarder to receive the shipment in the destination country and handle any paperwork. If you have any outsider handle your items, you will probably need to provide a power of attorney authorizing them to act on your behalf.

Federal Trade Commission Protects consumers,enforces antitrust laws and prohibits price fixing. The FTC has regulations and publications regarding
  • Mail order
  • Granting credit
  • Offering layaways
  • Offering warranties
  • Handling customer complaints
  • Labeling textiles
  • Telemarketing
  • Antitrust price fixing
  • Offers to work at home
US Department of Agriculture Marketing and Regulatory Division Animal health (including aquaculture, cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, poultry, wildlife): visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/permits/index.shtml.

Biotechnology: visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/index.shtml.

Organic certification: visit Click here.

Agricultural Marketing Service: visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/.

Grain inspectors, packers and stockyard administration: visit http://www.gipsa.usda.gov

Tobacco, alcohol and firearms Regulates tobacco, alcohol and firearms. For licensing information involving firearms, visit http://www.atf.gov/firearms/industry/ or call 1-866-662-2750.

For information about tobacco requirements and permits, visit http://www.ttb.gov/ or call (877)882-3277.

For tax information and due dates for tobacco, firearms and alcohol, visit http://www.ttb.gov/tax_audit/taxes_permits.shtml or call 1-877-882-3277.

Food and Drug Administration Regulates food labeling, cosmetics, medical devices, and drugs. If you manufacture drugs, medical devices, are starting a bloodbank or are canning low acid foods like vegetables, you must get a permit from the FDA.

Food: You must obtain a permit if you hold, pack, manufacture or process food, and are NOT a farm, retail food establishment, restaurant, non-profit establishment that prepares or serves food, or a fishing vessel not engaged in processing. Visit http://www.fda.gov or call (888)INFO-FDA.

For food labeling requirements, the FDA recommends that you purchase Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations, part 100-169 available from the Food and Drug Administration or by purchasing it through the U.S Government Bookstore at (866)512-1800.

For drugs, medical devices, bloodbanks, etc. visit http://www.fda.gov/default.htm or call 1-888-INFO-FDA.

Securities Exchange Commission Securities dealers: Investment advisors, brokers, dealers and investment companies must register with the SEC. Visit http://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/bdguide.htm or call the Branch of Registrations and Examinations (Office of Filings and Information Services) at (202) 942-8980.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Interstate truckers must obtain operating authority (U.S. DOT number). Visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov or call (800)832-5660 for further information. Also, intrastate (within the state) truckers should contact the state transportation agency and ask if there are any permit requirements.
Environmental Protection Agency Environmental hazards: The EPA works with county and state agencies, so usually businesses contact their county and state agency instead of the EPA directly. For air pollution and noise pollution regulations, call your county. For water or hazardous waste, call the state.