Doing Business in China 101

By: Iris Kapo, International Trade Specialist, US Commercial Service

China streetSpecialists from the Commercial Service can help you overcome challenges in the market and reach specific goals. Below are some tidbits of knowledge that stemmed from this year’s American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) tradeshow in Houston, Texas. Three Commercial Specialists from Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou participated in the USDOC’s Showtime Program. They met one-on-one with U.S exhibitors at the show and discussed each company’s unique challenges and goals in these diverse regions of China.

Below are some things to keep in mind when trading with China.

  • Where Are We. China is the world’s fourth largest country after Russia, Canada, and the U.S., so it’s unlikely that one distributor or business partner will be able to successfully serve the entire country. The U.S. Commercial Service has five offices in China and one helps you identify a local partner. Our offices can identify ideal distributors or business partners through our Gold Key Matchmaking Service, for instance, and offer several other services.
  • The Price is Right. Companies concerned with adequately pricing their product for the China market can rely on local partners to guide them through an appropriate pricing structure that will be successful for both parties. The SBA pricing model worksheet is also a good resource to help you get started.
  • Building Relationships. In Chinese culture, building a face-to-face relationship is necessary before any business or decision making is even conducted so frequent visits are a must to ensure success. It’s important to identify a distributor or to attend key trade shows within their industry, such as the China International Medical Equipment Fair CMEF. In many cases, doing business in China will require more than a one-time visit to identify your distributor. To identify trade shows/events within your industry, in specific countries, please visit our Trade Events Database.
  • Medical Devices. All imported medical devices must be registered with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) before being sold in their market. In addition to medical devices, the CFDA will also absorb food safety-related regulatory functions previously handled by other ministries. For medical devices, the CFDA has a comprehensive system for product registration and inspection, which includes product type testing and factory audits. Medical devices are divided into three classes (Class I, II, III) depending on levels of risk, similar to but stricter than that of the USFDA. Clinical trials are required for registration of Class III and some Class II medical devices. The product registration process normally takes from one to three years and registration must be renewed every four years.
  • Bring a Friend. If you’re making a trip to China, our overseas colleagues are happy to meet with you while you are there. You have to contact your local U.S Export Assistance Center (USEAC) to let them know to reach out to the specific Foreign Commercial Service office in China on your behalf.

Those were some of the most important pieces of guidance provided to the most frequent concerns voiced by U.S exhibitors. If you’re ever attending a trade show, locally or internationally, we urge you to contact your local USEAC to find out if we are offering our free services, such as Showtime. These programs are a great supplement to your attendance and will add value to your participation at the show.

The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries assist U.S. companies competing in the global marketplace. For more information on USCS visit

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Much Of Our Exports Come From Manufacturing?

Made in the U.S.A.

With almost 300,000 establishments and 11 million employees, manufacturing plays a major role in the nation’s economy. So much so that about 6 in 10 U.S. export dollars come from manufacturers. Click on the Infographic below to find out more things about the manufacturing industry you probably didn’t know.

Manufacturing Info Graph

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trade Deficit Grows in September

By: Shannon O’Brien

In September, the Nation’s international trade deficit in goods and services increased to $41.8 as exports decreased and imports increased. Exports decreased to $188.9 billion in September led by a $1.3 billion decrease in industrial supplies and materials. Imports grew $2.7 billion to $230.7 billion in part due to record high increases in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($27.1 billion). Notably September also recorded the highest on record deficit with China ($30.5 billion) partially due to holiday related imports as discussed below.

Holiday Related Imports 

As we enter into the most wonderful time of the year, demand for seasonal decorations can be seen with holiday commodity trade around the world.


This month alone we have imported artificial Christmas trees of $53.1 million and lighting sets of $187.4 million. China was the leading foreign source of Christmas trees in September making up $52.6 million of the $53.1 million world total imports to the United States.


Through 2013 year-to-date, we have imported a total of $95.8 million of Christmas trees and $349.6 million of Christmas lighting sets. Both Christmas trees and lighting sets are the lowest since the 2010 holiday season when imports of Christmas trees were $73.3 million and lighting sets were $256.8 million.

While there is still time to deck the halls, from all of us here in Foreign Trade, Happy Holidays to all!

You can obtain this data and more by going to USA Trade Online.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ALERT! Delay of the effective date for changes to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR)

By: Daniel Cariello

Fresh off the press today, the FTR final rule, published on March 14, 2013, will now be effective April 5, 2014. Previously it was scheduled to take effect on January 8, 2014. Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget has approved the collection of two new data elements (license value and ultimate consignee type) in the Automated Export System (AES) under control number 0607-0152.

Are you wondering why the effective date was extended?

paper writeChanges to the FTR are currently being programed into the Automated Commercial Environment, which is the new platform for the AES. However, the functionality to support the revisions addressed in the final rule published March 14, 2013, will not be deployed until April 5, 2014. As a result, the Census Bureau and Customs and Border Protection have agreed to delay the effective date of the final rule.

After April 5, 2014, exporters will be required to follow the new reporting requirements addressed in the March 14,2013, publication of the Federal Register FTR final rule. Some of the new requirements include the reporting of shipments for all used self-propelled vehicles (regardless of value or destination) as well as temporary exports valued over $2,500 per Schedule B. In addition to adopting new export reporting requirements and modifying the postdeparture program, we also made changes to the FTR for clarification on terms and responsibilities.

For more information regarding the key changes that will be effective April 5, 2014, check out our blog The New Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) Export Requirements.

If you have questions regarding these new changes to the FTR final rule, please contact the Regulations, Outreach and Education Branch at 1-800-549-0595, option 3 or via e-mail at

Posted in Foreign Trade Regulations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Watch a Free Webinar Series!

Recognize this Picture?


No, it’s not a game but we do hope that you recognize the image from our Go Global Webinar Series.

Yesterday we held our last webinar of the series. Throughout the 11 presentations we learned how government resources help you become a successful exporter. The last Webinar, Avoiding and Resolving Problems, is now available with all of the previous webinars in our Outreach, Education and Training page.

If you’re interested in becoming an exporter or just simply need a refresher, this webinar series is perfect for you!

Also located on our Outreach, Education and Training page are the upcoming dates for our Regulation Town Halls. Mark your calendards for these free informative events that focus on:

  • Changes in reporting requirements
  • New fields added to the Automated Export System
  • Changes in definitions
Posted in Export Filing, Foreign Trade Regulations, Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Record Retention

business woman filing paperBy: Brenda Jeffries

We have received several inquiries from the trade community regarding the requirements for retaining export information. Every party involved in an export transaction (owners and operators of the export carriers, USPPIs, FPPIs and /or authorized agents) should retain all export documents for five years from the date of export to comply with the Foreign Trade Regulations.

The record retention policies for the Census Bureau (15 CFR 30.10), Bureau of Industry and Security (15 CFR 762.6(a)), and the State Department (22 CFR 122.5) require keeping documentation for five years. The Census Bureau’s record retention requirements do not relieve filers from adhering to other government agency’s record retention policies.

All documents, correspondences and other relevant information to the export transactions should be maintained. These should include but are not limited to items, such as:

  1. Electronic Export Information (EEI)
  2. Shipping documents
  3. Invoices
  4. Orders
  5. Packing list
  6. Other documents relevant to the specific transaction

For more information regarding retention of export information, go to the Foreign Trade Regulations Section 30.10, or call the Foreign Trade Division at 1-800-549-0595, option 3.

Posted in Foreign Trade Regulations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

August Accelerates Automotive Exports

Balance of Payments, August 2013

By: John Sperry

In August, the Nation’s international trade deficit increased to $38.8 billion from $38.6 billion in July (revised), as imports increased and exports declined.  Imports increased slightly to $228.0 billion, primarily due to increases in capital goods ($1.0 billion).  Exports decreased $0.1 billion to $189.2 billion, driven by decreases in industrial supplies and materials ($1.3 billion) and foods, feeds, and beverages ($0.4 billion).  A $0.7 billion increase in automotive vehicles, parts, and engines exports helped set a record high for automotive exports ($13.1 billion).  August also topped highest on record exports ($56.8 billion) and imports ($37.4 billion) of services set last month.

Changes to the Release Schedule

Earlier this week the U.S. Census Bureau announced revisions to its release calendar for the 2013 economic indicators that have been delayed because of the recent lapse in federal funding.  This will delay our September 2013 data release originally scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th to Thursday, November 14th.  The data will still release at 8:30 A.M.  Furthermore, this will delay our September Preliminary Steel report from October 24th to October 31st.  We will return to our previously announced schedule with the October release scheduled for December 4th.  For a full listing of indicator schedule changes visit our website.

Posted in Foreign Trade Data | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Watch a Free Webinar: Understanding Export Regulations – Part 2

By: Omari Wooden

On September 24, we held Part 2 of the Go Globe-Webinars-2013Global webinar series, which focused on understanding the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The EAR is managed and updated by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and is used to determine if an export or product is subject to Department of Commerce license requirements. Learn the who, how, what, and where of determining export control requirements. The webinar included information on:

  • The role of the BIS and the EAR
  • Types of Commerce Exports
  • Consolidated Screening List
  • Export Control Classification Number (ECCN)
  • EAR99 Items
  • Commerce Control List (CCL)

The next free webinar in the Go Global series will be held on November 5 and focus on avoiding and resolving foreign trade barriers or unfair situations in foreign markets.

View past and sign up for future webinars.

Posted in Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why are Export Statistics and the Foreign Trade Regulations Important To You?

By: Sean Kline

Why are export statistics important to the average person?

The average person in America may not find export statistics relevant. What they may not realize is that the balance of trade (as presented in the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report), has a significant impact on our economy and is an integral part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These data can provide insight into the health of the economy. As you can see from the graph below, exports slowed from 2008 to 2009 but then began to rise annually after the “great recession” ended in 2009. Since these statistics are such important measures of the economy, the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis have implemented an accelerated release program in which the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report is available almost a week earlier than before. Here at the Census Bureau, our goal is to provide the most timely and accurate statistics possible so that you have access to the information when you need it.6-6-2013 4-34-27B PMWhy are the Foreign Trade Regulations important to the average person?

The Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) regulate all exports of goods out of the United States. Even if you may not consider yourself an exporter, a simple trip to the Post Office can change your responsibilities. Every day I receive calls from people sending packages to foreign countries. Although typically most packages don’t require an AES filing, you do need to know the exemption that applies your shipment.

For example, when I sent care packages to my brother in Afghanistan, I used exemption NOEEI 30.37(a) because the items were valued under $2,500 and did not require a license. This is just one example of the many instances in which the average American can become an exporter and fall within the scope of the FTR.

For more information about the FTR, please visit our website at

Posted in Foreign Trade Data, Foreign Trade Regulations | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Watch a Free Webinar: Understanding Export Regulations

By: Omari Wooden

Yesterday we held the ninth webinar of the Go Global series focusing on Understanding the Foreign Trade Regulations.

The Foreign Trade Regulations set Globe Webinars 2013forth the rules and regulations for all parties involved in the export transaction. Learn more to avoid common mistakes by making the right decisions regarding your export shipments from day one. The webinar included information on:

  • U.S. Principal Party in Interest
  • When filing is required
  • Types of export transactions
  • Penalties
  • Best Practices

The next free webinar in the Go Global series will be held on September 24 and will focus on understanding the Export Administration Regulations.

View past and sign up for future webinars.

Posted in Webinars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments