Please visit our new website at www.export.gov!

FAQ: Trade Information Center (TIC)

What is the Trade Information Center (TIC)? How do I get export assistance?

Does the Trade Information Center have lists of company-specific information?

How do I contact the TIC?

The TIC’s Top 15 Questions

1. I run a successful business in the United States. How do I sell my product in foreign markets?

2. How do I calculate the cost that my customer has to pay for my product at Customs?

3. What foreign import regulations and standards do I have to comply with?

4. Does my product require an export license?

5. What export documentation is required for my shipment?

6. What country or market-specific information can the TIC provide?

7. I got an inquiry for a large order overseas. How do I ascertain the legitimacy of the overseas buyer and avoid potential scam?

8. How do I classify my products (obtain HTS/Schedule B product classification numbers)?

9. What is the best way to ship samples or promotional items overseas either permanently or temporarily?

10. How can I find information about U.S. sanctions and trade embargos that may impact my exports?

11. How can I make sure that I get paid for my export shipment?

12. What financing is available for exporting?

13. How do I find information about overseas markets and relevant trade statistics?

14. How can I get a list of potential customers in overseas markets or find trade leads?

15. I am looking for someone who could assist me with logistics/customs broker and freight forwarding capabilities. Can you recommend a company I can work with?

What is the Trade Information Center (TIC)? How do I get export assistance?

The Trade Information Center (TIC) is the first stop for companies seeking export assistance from the U.S. Government. TIC international trade specialists:

  • Advise exporters on how to locate and use government export programs;
  • Guide businesses through the export process;
  • Direct businesses to market research, statistics, and trade leads;
  • Provide information on domestic and overseas trade events and activities;
  • Explain sources of public and private export financing;
  • Refer businesses to U.S. Export Assistance Centers as-well-as state and local trade organizations that can provide additional ongoing assistance.

The TIC also provides export counseling for the Americas (including NAFTA), Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. TIC international trade specialists can help exporters with questions about:

  • Import tariffs, taxes, and customs procedures, especially for free trade agreements;
  • Commercial standards, regulations and practices and intellectual property rights;
  • Distribution channels, business travel, and other market information;
  • Opportunities and best prospects for U.S. companies in individual markets;
  • Difficulties encountered on specific commercial transactions.

Does the Trade Information Center have lists of company-specific information?

The TIC does not have comprehensive lists of American manufacturers and suppliers; other U.S. importers and exporters; or export trading / export management companies. For this type of information, please consider the following resources:

The U.S. Exporters' Yellow Pages™, produced by Global Publishers LLC in cooperation with the International Trade Administration's Office of Export Trading Company Affairs, is an annual directory of United States companies involved in international business. This free publication features over 20,000 U.S. export service providers, trading companies, and manufacturers that have registered their export interests through Department of Commerce U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC) located in more than 100 cities nationwide. The U.S. Exporters’ Yellow Pages™ is available on the Internet at http://myexports.com and in hard copy through USEAC offices.

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides country profiles, risk analyses, company lists, and reports on various topics related to business and trade. D&B can be reached by telephone at 1-800-932-0025, or on the Internet at http://www.dnb.com.

ThomasNet, powered by Thomas Register, provides listings of U.S. and foreign manufacturers worldwide. ThomasNet can be reached by telephone at 1-800-699-9822, or on the Internet at http://www.thomasnet.com.

Kompass International Trade Directories provide product, contact, and other information for 1.8 million companies worldwide. Each individual company is checked by the local Kompass publisher, usually once each year. All companies are classified under the Kompass Product Classification – one of the most comprehensive in the world with more than 53,000 products and services. You can search this site in any of 17 languages using a products and services search. Kompass USA can be reached by telephone at (203) 503-6789 or 1-877-KOMPASS, or accessed on the Internet at http://www.kompass-usa.com.

Industry associations generally have directories of their members.

Additionally, the following publications (available in many local libraries) contain lists of industry trade associations:

  • Encyclopedia of Associations
  • National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States

Private publications that list U.S. manufacturers and suppliers include:

Other relevant publications include:

Directory of U.S. Importers and Exporters is published by The Journal of Commerce (telephone – 1-888-215-6084; http://www.joc.com).

Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries and Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the United States is published by Uniworld Business Publications (http://www.uniworldbp.com).

These publications are also available at many local libraries.

Note: This document does not include all private sector sources of trade information nor does it represent an endorsement of any particular service or source by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

How do I contact the TIC?

The TIC and USA Trade Center services are available to assist with export questions:

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
Email: tic@ita.doc.gov
Web: http://www.export.gov/

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) Compliance Team:

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
Email: tic@ita.doc.gov
Web: http://www.export.gov/fta

China Business Information Center (China BIC):

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
Email: chinabic@trade.gov
Web: http://www.export.gov/china

Middle East & North Africa Business Information Center (MENABIC):

Tel: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723)
Fax: (202) 482-4473
Email: menabic@trade.gov
Web: http://www.export.gov/middleeast

The TIC’s Top 15 Questions

1. I run a successful business in the United States. How do I sell my product in foreign markets?
TIC international trade specialists can provide guidance to US companies on selecting foreign markets, finding partners in foreign markets, adapting their products to conform to foreign standards, intellectual property, and perform due diligence. How do I benefit from Free Trade Agreements?
TIC international trade specialists, notably JoAnn Queen and Anthony Hill focus on FTA’s, can counsel US companies how they can benefit from FTAs.

2. How do I calculate the cost that my customer has to pay for my product at Customs?
All TIC international trade specialists can explain how to find the appropriate HTS classification, to identify the duty rate and taxes that will be applied at Customs, and how the client can calculate the duty and taxes.

3. What foreign import regulations and standards do I have to comply with?
TIC international trade specialists can explain to the client what resources are available, although every country and product face a unique set of circumstances.

4. Does my product require an export license?
TIC international trade specialists can provide guidance on the types of export licenses that may be required by the Department of Treasury, Department of State, and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.

5. What export documentation is required for my shipment?
TIC international trade specialists can counsel U.S. companies on how to conform with both US export laws and foreign import laws. TIC international trade specialists can advise companies

6. What country or market-specific information can the TIC provide?
The TIC has country and market-specific expertise for most of the countries including China, India, the EU and the Middle East. The TIC can guide US companies to the people and resources that can help them find success in these foreign markets or provide them with the advice that a different market would be a better decision. (export.gov/china, export.gov/india, export.gov/middleeast/).

7. I got an inquiry for a large order overseas. How do I ascertain the legitimacy of the overseas buyer and avoid potential scam?
A TIC international trade specialist will refer you to the appropriate local Export Assistance Center in your state that will work with our overseas Commercial Service Specialist to verify bonafides of your potential partner.

8. How do I classify my products (obtain HTS/Schedule B product classification numbers)?
A TIC international trade specialist can assist you with identifying appropriate HTS classification number, via our export.gov website or connecting you with Census Bureau product classification specialist.

9. What is the best way to ship samples or promotional items overseas either permanently or temporarily?
A TIC international trade specialist can explain different methods (and their benefits) of shipping samples and may refer you to our partners such as the US Council for International Business.

10. How can I find information about U.S. sanctions and trade embargos that may impact my exports?
A TIC Trade Specialist can provide information on US sanctions and trade embargos and may refer exporters to the appropriate office that has jurisdiction over sanctions such as the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

11. How can I make sure that I get paid for my export shipment?
A TIC international trade specialist can explain various methods of payments and the corresponding risks on the part of the seller and the buyer. The export.gov website includes information from the Trade Finance Guide, A Quick Reference for U.S. Exporters, designed to help U.S. companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, learn the basics of trade finance.

12. What financing is available for exporting?
A TIC international trade specialist can provide an overview and discuss financial programs and services (loans, insurance and grants) offered by Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee agencies (Ex-Im Bank, Small Business Administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and multilateral development banks, i.e. the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.)

13. How do I find information about overseas markets and relevant trade statistics?
A TIC international trade specialist can provide callers with information on trade statistics compiled by the US Commercial Service and other US federal trade agencies.

14. How can I get a list of potential customers in overseas markets or find trade leads?
A TIC international trade specialist can provide callers with various sources of trade leads offered by the US Commercial Service and other USG agencies, as well as Multilateral Development Banks and UN agencies.

15. I am looking for someone who could assist me with logistics/customs broker and freight forwarding capabilities. Can you recommend a company I can work with?
A TIC international trade specialist can provide callers with referrals to the National Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Associations as well as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the US Postal Service as well as other service providers (without specific endorsements).


  Notice to Visitors!


  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site

  Export.gov is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website  disclaimer statement.


  Notice to Visitors!


  The link you have chosen will take you to a non-U.S. Government website.

  If the page does not appear in 5 seconds, please click this: outside web site

  BuyUSA.gov is managed by the International Trade Administration and external links are covered by its website disclaimer statement.