24 Resources for Importing Agricultural Products

Waiting for coconuts.

If you import agricultural products, you may be required to obtain a specific license or permit.  Here are 24 resources to help you with those items and other food import activities.

1.  Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products Import Regulations and Procedures (includes import checklist)
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/importing-products

2.  Plant and Animal Import Regulations and Procedures (includes a food and agricultural product fact sheet in more than a dozen different languages)
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/importexport

3.  Agricultural Permits/ePermits
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-and-animal-product-import-information/ct_animal_imports_home

4.  More on e-Permits:  How to access, how to register to use e-permits, and what types of applications can be submitted online through ePermitshttps://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits/ct_learn_epermits

5.  Live Animals Import Regulations
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-and-animal-product-import-information/import-live-animals

6.  Harmonized Tariff Schedule (right top sidebar)
https://usitc.gov

7.  International Phytosanitary Standards (bottom of page)
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/SA_International

8.  Sugar Import Program
http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/sugar-import-program

9.  Dairy Licensing Import Program
http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/dairy-import-licensing-program    

10.  Production, Supply, and Distribution (as it relates to agriculture)
http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/

11.  U.S. Trade Import Data Available (agriculture)
http://apps.fas.usda.gov/gats/default.aspx

12.  Processed Food Reports (agriculture – from beer and wine to chewing gum and jams)
http://apps.fas.usda.gov/gats/default.aspx

13.  Data and Analysis (agriculture)
http://www.fas.usda.gov/data

14.  Special Outlook Reports (agriculture)
http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/commodity-outlook/ers-special-outlook-reports.aspx

15.  Trade Policy (agriculture)
http://www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-policy

16.  Trade Policy Reports (agriculture)
http://www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-policy

17.  Trade Agreements As It Relates to Creating Agricultural Opportunities
http://www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-agreements

The United States has free trade agreements with 20 countries that create opportunities to increase U.S. agricultural sales internationally, stripping away barriers to trade, eliminating tariffs, opening markets and promoting investment and economic growth.

18.  How U.S. Agriculture benefits from Trade Agreements (April 2015)
http://www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2015-04/us_ag_benefits_from_trade_agreements_apr_2015.pdf

For example, “In countries where the United States has free trade agreements, exports of U.S. farm and food products have grown significantly. Between 2004 and 2014, U.S. agricultural exports to those countries increased more than 145 percent – from $24 billion to $59 billion.” (Source:  U.S. Agriculture Benefits from Trade Agreements (April 2015)  

19.  Global Agriculture Information Network
http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Pages/Default.aspx

Since 1995, the USDA'S Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) provides information spanning across more than 130 countries on the agricultural economy, products and issues in foreign countries that will have an impact on the United States agricultural production and international trade.

 A valuable resource in the form of reports.

20.  Economic Research Service (ERS) Commodity Outlook
http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-economy/commodity-outlook.aspx

Economic Research Service works with the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and other USDA agencies by conducting and providing market analysis and projections of U.S. and world agricultural production, consumption, and trade. 

21.  U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/importexport

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ensures the movement of agricultural trade by keeping U.S. agricultural industries pest and disease-free.  

22.  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirement (FAVIR)
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/sa_import/sa_permits/sa_plant_plant_products/sa_fruits_vegetables/ct_favir/?

The APHIS Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) Database allows access to regulations and information about the importation of fruits and vegetables into the United States, its territories, and possessions.  Information on obtaining a permit for the importation of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables can be obtained by going to the following website: 
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information/permits

23.  Importing Food Products into the United States
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/ImportsExports/Importing/

24.  Get Import Alerts
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ImportProgram/ActionsEnforcement/ImportAlerts/default.htm

Import alerts are about a product, manufacturer, shipper, or other related information, that appears to be in violation of food and drug administration laws and regulations.  Before importing into the United States, importers should be aware as to whether their products are subject to some form of detention, whereby an agency can detain a product without physically examining it at the time of entry. 

This is a lot of information to digest, but it is better to know, than not know.  And if you run into a problem, you can always pick up the phone and call the USDA’s information hotline:  202-720-2791 or visit their Contact Us page which features an Ask the Expert section along with a USDA local and federal phone directory:  http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navtype=MA&navid=CONTACT_US.

Photo Credit: Beegee49