Us export guide


United States export guide

Learn about the basics of exporting from the United States.

Exporting from the United States (U.S.) 🇺🇸 Attribution for Twitter Emojis: ©️ Twitter, Inc. can be a lucrative business opportunity for companies looking to expand their customer base and increase their revenue streams. However, exporting comes with its own set of challenges and requirements that companies must navigate in order to export their products or services successfully. In this U.S. export guide overview, we will cover some of the key considerations and information that companies must keep in mind when exporting from the U.S. specifically, including the following:

All companies that export from the U.S. must be aware of the laws, regulations, and other requirements that apply to their products. This includes compliance with export regulations, licensing requirements, export controls, and sanctions. Additionally, exporters should ensure that their product or service meets all applicable safety, health, and environmental standards. Exporters must comply with the export controls governed by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Exporters must obtain an export license if required according to the aforementioned agencies and sanctions, and it must be acquired in line with customs.


Companies must understand the types of documents that are required for different countries they intend to ship to. The documentation required may vary depending on the country of destination, the type of product being shipped, and the mode of transport. The documentation required to successfully export goods may require a combination of the following documents and identification numbers:

It is important to know what each document is used for, when it is required, and how to obtain one. Failure to provide the required documentation can result in delays or even the rejection of the shipment by customs authorities.

Shipping and logistics 

Companies must understand the shipping and logistics involved in exporting products from the U.S., such as common U.S. carriers, shipping and logistics regulations, shipping methods, insurance, and international customs clearance. Exporters need to choose a reliable carrier and ensure that the goods comply with regulations outlined by the destination. Additionally, companies must understand the customs clearance procedures, which may include paying customs duties, taxes, and other fees.

Next steps 

If you are interested in pursuing opportunities in foreign markets and need additional guidance, we have sub-guides that go into detail on each of the above sections and outline the specifics of the requirements and regulations that exporting from the U.S. entails.

Top ecommerce exports

Note: You may want to keep the following information in mind. The top ten categories are likely the top ten due to the success rate in sales. You may want to consider selling these goods to expand into foreign markets. The top ten countries that U.S. ecommerce retailers export to have a higher demand for the goods that the retailers supply. Those countries are likely to have more experience with U.S. exports and, therefore, may result in a smoother export process.

Top ten product categories U.S. ecommerce retailers sell:
Top ten countries U.S. ecommerce retailers export to:
  1. Apparel and accessories - clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry

  2. Electronics - smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, and cameras

  3. Beauty and personal care - makeup, skincare, and hair care products

  4. Home and garden - furniture, appliances, home decor, and gardening supplies

  5. Toys and hobbies - games, puzzles, collectibles, and hobby supplies

  6. Sports and outdoor - fitness equipment, camping gear, and sports apparel

  7. Health and wellness - supplements, vitamins, and health products

  8. Books and media - books, ebooks, audiobooks, and movies

  9. Office supplies and equipment - paper, printers, and office furniture

  10. Automotive - car parts, accessories, and maintenance products

Import guides

Search our import guides for information concerning the following import regulations:

  • Market analysis and cultural and language considerations

  • Basic importing procedures

  • Customs regulations/legal framework

  • Duties and taxes (landed cost)

  • Import documentation

  • Shipping and logistics

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