Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS)?

2. Who does the USCS serve?

3. Can USCS help me resolve a complaint against a foreign company?

4. How do you get started in international sales? Is there help for new exporters?

5. I am shipping my product to a country with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in place. How do I know what forms to fill out?

6. Where can I find current import/export data?

7. What do these terms mean? Ad Valorem, Tariff, Letter of Credit, Dumping, Incoterms etc…

8. How do I get paid for international sales?

9. What are the requirements to export used clothing?

10. What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States?

11. How do I use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) to determine duty rates?

12. What is a Schedule B (export) number?

13. How do I know what Schedule B (or Harmonized Tariff System) number is assigned to the product I plan to export?

  • What is the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS)?

The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion unit of the International Trade Administration. The U.S. Commercial Service is a global network of 1,400 trade professionals located in more than 237 locations domestically and worldwide, dedicated to assisting U.S. exporters and supporting U.S. business interests abroad. In the United States, the U.S. Commercial Service operates an extensive network of Export Assistance Centers that offer companies easy access and efficient response to exporting and international trade inquiries. Overseas, the Commercial Service offices are in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in more than 75 countries, representing more than 95 percent of the world market for U.S. exports.

  • Who does the USCS serve?

The U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) primarily serves exporters of U.S. goods and services. We have a global network of professional consultants in nearly 109 domestic and 128 commercial offices. Our in-depth counseling includes specific information to help you market your products and services in the global market.

The U.S. Commercial Service staff provides a combination of cost-effective basic and customized services to help you obtain market information, participate in trade events, and identify potential partners. Our commercial specialists have extensive local market expertise and can provide you with comprehensive market analysis and matchmaking assistance in all industries.

We also help foreign companies source U.S. suppliers and import U.S. goods and services.

  • Can USCS help me resolve a complaint against a foreign company?

If your firm is having difficulties with a foreign company, please feel free to contact us and provide detailed information about the situation, contact data, and documented proof of unsuccessful attempts at resolving the problem.

  • How do you get started in international sales? Is there help for new exporters?

Exporting can be profitable for U.S. companies of all sizes. As a first step, we suggest visiting the Export Basics section on the U.S. government’s export portal, Export.gov, to take the Export Readiness Assessment and learn how to prepare to enter new markets. You can also talk to trade specialists at your local Export Assistance Center.

  • I am shipping my product to a country with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in place. How do I know what forms to fill out?

For most export shipments, you will be required to file certain data about the shipment, known as the Electronic Export Information (EEI), with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Census bureau. Further information can be found on the Automated Export System Direct (AESDirect) and its user guide.

Upon arrival in the foreign country, your shipment may need to be accompanied by a Certificate of Origin and other documentation as specified by the terms of the FTA and the foreign government’s customs authority. To learn more about common export documentation click here. OTEXA also has extensive information about each FTA on OTEXA’s FTA page and specific requirements for individual countries on their Market Reports/Tariff page.

  • Where can I find current import/export data?

For up-to-date import and export data for textiles, apparel, footwear, and sporting goods click here.

  • What do these terms mean? Tariff, Letter of Credit, Dumping, Incoterms etc…

Click here for a glossary of Trade Terms.

  • How do I get paid for international sales?

Current practice has sales paid by credit card or money transfers. However, you should have an in-depth discussion of payment options that would be most suitable for your type of business with your international bank department or by contacting your local U.S. Export Assistance Center or Small Business Administration office.

  • What are the requirements to export used clothing?

For more information on used clothing, visit OTEXA’s used clothing export information page.

  • What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States?

The United States International Trade Commission , Office of Tariff Affairs is responsible for publishing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for administering the tariff and for processing import entries.

The HTS provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into and exported from the United States. It is based on the International Harmonized System, which is the global classification system that is used to describe most world commodities.

  • How do I use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) to determine duty rates?

For a brief explanation of how duty rates are determined, please see the Determining Duty Rates on CBP.gov. For more detail, visit the U.S. International Trade Commission website USITC Interactive Tariff and Trade Data.

  • What is a Schedule B (export) number?

A Schedule B number is a classification code for exporting goods out of the United States. The Schedule B is used to track the amount of trade goods that are being exported from the U.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau keeps records of the amount of exports by country/quantity, and dollar amount. The Schedule B Classification book can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau's Website.

  • How do I know what Schedule B (or Harmonized Tariff System) number is assigned to the product I plan to export?

Both the Schedule B and the Official Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (USHTS) are published online by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), respectively. Most textile and apparel goods are classified in Chapters 50-63, and footwear is classified in Chapter 64. Schedule B and HTS classification are the same to the 6-digit level.

For More information got to OTEXA's Frequently Asked Questions Page


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