Sales in the United States

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior has not been regarded in the United States as an environmental issue. However, there is an increasing awareness that the earth's ecosystems cannot support rapid and unlimited consumption of its natural resources.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
American consumer is very open to buy foreign products. Product supply is very diverse in the USA. American consumer is rich, and highly diverse in their interests and tastes. They value home comfort, foods and cars. However, the recession have changed the economic landscape and seems to have fundamentally altered the behaviour of numerous US consumers, who are now learning to live without expensive products.
Consumers Associations
Consumers Union
Main Advertising Agencies
Right Media
Turn Inc
ContextWeb Inc

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
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.
In 2004, total retail trade was valued at 3,296 billion euros, with a growth of 7.9%, the consumption level being the driving factor behind American retail growth.
Market Shares
Market segmentation is drawn along various lines, including age groups, ethnic groups, even social and religious groups, which has forced distributors to adapt themselves to this situation. One of the most marked consequences of this absence of homogeneity is the emergence in the past few years of “Specialty Stores” such as (Home Depot, Best Buys etc) which currently represent 11% of retail sales. In fact, the American consumer is unique because of his demanding nature, the importance he attaches to price, and his product disloyalty. It is thus incumbent upon distributors to continuously adapt themselves to the market, and to engage in well-targeted marketing efforts in order to win the loyalty of the consumer. The majority of sales, however, are still achieved by large distribution chains:

- Wal Mart ( 4000 outlets)
- The Kroger Co.
- Sears Roebuck & Co (bought by Kmart).
Organizations in the Retail Sector
National Retail Federation
American Wholesaler Association
International Council Shopping Centers
National Association of Convenience Store

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Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Wassenaar arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
These are the countries that signed a Free Trade Agreement with the USA: Australia, Bahrain, CAFTA-DR (The Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement ), Chile, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), Oman, Peru, Singapore.


More information about the Free Trade Agreement in USA. Authorities have recently launched an online Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Tariff Tool.

Non Tariff Barriers
Farm products are subject to both the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the USDA (US AGRICULTURAL DEPARTMENT) rules.
- 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 implies 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 the following countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
USA applies a Customs tariff that is among the lowest in the world. It is 3% on average.
The WTO gives a sheet summarizing the Customs tariffs by country.

Customs Classification
Depending on the origin of products. .
Import Procedures
Import procedure is subjected to a specific process. Click here to see all the requirements to be completed while importing a product in The USA.
Importing Samples
Sample goods are classified under chapter 98 of the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule, a chapter designated for specialty import provisions. Most imported samples are classified under HTS number 9811.00.60. Samples classified in this way must not be valued over USD 1 or must be permanently marked, torn, perforated, or otherwise mutilated so that they are not suitable as a saleable item. Sample imports classified under HTS classification 9811.00.60 and meeting the above requirements for marking are free of duty from any country of import.
For Further Information
US Customs and Border Protection
US department of Commerce
US State Department
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in the United States on

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
All coasts of the country have important, highly computerized ports, automated for a fast distribution of the goods (especially in containers); some of them offer a direct connection towards waterways.

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%.

Port of Charleston
Port of Houston
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Miami
Port of Boston
Port of Norfolk
American Association of Port Authorities
Port of San Francisco
Port of Harlingen
Port of Seattle
Port of Tacoma
List of U.S Airports
Sea Transport Organizations
US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration
Air Transport Organizations
Federal Aviation Administration
Road Transport Organizations
U.S Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration
Rail Transport Organizations
Federal Railroad Administration

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The USA is leading industrial power in the world, highly diversified and technologically advanced; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining
Business Directories
Yellow Pages
White Pages
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
Information Technology Association of America
Independent Petroleum Association of America
Aerospace Industry Association
Producers Association of Mechanical Equipment
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
U.S Chamber of Commerce
US Small Business Administration
National Business Association
Enterprises Federation
Administration of Small and Medium Enterprises
National Association of Manufacturers
Find Sourcing Service Providers in the United States on

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