Office of International Trade | Resources

Importing goods and services is a unique way to fulfill recognized needs in the U.S. and can help you open new doors for your business. However, there are stringent rules and regulations governing importing, and doing so without proper research can be costly. There are assistance programs and online data to help you have an informed and smooth importing process.

Basic Information

The following resources are starting points for learning how to import products and services.

Customs Brokers

Working with a licensed customs broker could be a valuable asset to your import plan. Customs brokers are private individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations licensed, regulated and empowered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assist importers and exporters in meeting Federal imports requirements.

A customs broker works with importers similar to a freight forwarder who works with exporters. On behalf of their client, customs brokers are involved in the preparation of documents and electronic submissions, as well as the calculation and payment of taxes, duties and excises. The customs broker also facilitates communication between the importer and the government. Licensed brokers must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise. For this advice and involvement, the customs broker charges the importer a fee.

Assistance and Training

The federal government provides advice and seminars to small businesses interested in importing.