Markets Division Home
International Marketing Home Page
NC Agribusiness International Marketing Resources
International Agriculture Buyers page

Sign-Up for NCDA&CS International Markets Email Newsletters and News Releases

E-mail Address :

 

International Trade Office

Marketing Division

got to be NC AG EXPORTS

Frequently Asked Questions About Exporting Agricultural Products

Every day, we receive phone calls, faxes and emails from active and potential exporters who have questions about the business. "How do I get started?" "Where can I locate prospective buyers?" "What information do you have about markets in Asia?" "Who has the most up-to-date and complete export statistics and analysis?" These are just a few of the many questions asked.

The following are some of the more frequently asked questions about international agricultural trade. Click on the questions to go to their answers, or scroll down to read the entire document.

I'm interested in exporting agricultural products. What are some of the first things I should do?

What are some of the first contacts I should make?


What federal programs are there to assist U.S. exporters?


Do I need a license for selling overseas?


What documents may I need to export food and agricultural products?


How can I get information about requirements for exporting meat (poultry, pork, beef, goat, etc.) to specific countries?


What is a phytosanitary certificate and a processed product certificate? Where can I get one?


What is a certificate of free sale and where can I get one?


Where can I find a freight forwarder to handle my international shipments?

 


Answers

I'm interested in exporting agricultural products. What are some of the first things I should do?

Exporting requires a huge investment of time, patience, energy and imagination. Today's successful exporter must be an analyst, a sales representative and a master of cultural differences and tastes.

Research the market, the culture, the import barriers and, most important, the demand for your product in the particular country or region you're interested in. There are a variety of organizations, activities and tools described in the pages that follow that can help you to identify, study and enter markets for your products.

Remember that it pays to "test the waters," as the saying goes. Export companies that skip or skimp on the research phase before plunging into new markets risk making costly mistakes.

The Southern U.S. Trade Association publishes an excellent guide for new-to-export agricultural concerns titled, "The Basics of Exporting." It is available online at: http://www.susta.org/export/index.html, or you can receive it in hard copy by contacting NCDA's international trade office.

What are some of the first contacts I should make?

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture has a dedicated international trade staff to help exporters. For a full description of services and programs, start at our homepage at: http://www.ncagr.com/markets/international.

The Southern U.S. Trade Association (SUSTA), is a region-wide grouping of state departments of agriculture. See their site at: http://www.susta.org. SUSTA offers export promotion services to help Southern U.S. agricultural exporters such as educational seminars on export opportunities and procedures, export data, market research and other resources. They are also an intermediate administrator for the Market Access Program (MAP), which provides matching funds for export marketing expenditures for eligible products and companies.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is the USDA agency responsible for assisting agricultural export efforts--see their homepage at http://www.fas.usda.gov/. Through its Washington-based staff of analysts and worldwide network of agricultural attachés and trade officers, FAS provides a variety of services that can help any exporter--whether new to market or an old hand.

Other helpful contacts are the nonprofit commodity trade associations--known as market development cooperators--that work with FAS. It's also worthwhile to check with companies that have a proven track record in doing business overseas.

What federal programs are there to assist U.S. Exporters?

A host of programs exist to help U.S. exporters succeed internationally, including the Market Access Program, the Export Enhancement Program, and the Emerging Markets Program. For information about these and more federal assistance programs, go to http://www.fas.usda.gov/exportprograms.asp

Do I need a license for selling overseas?

In general, exporters of food and agricultural products do not need a license from the U.S. Government to export overseas. However, in some countries, the foreign importer must have a valid import license to bring in products.

What documents may I need to export food and agricultural products?

A listing of most documents necessary for exporting food & agricultural products is available at http://www.susta.org/export/documents.html. Please note that the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is able to issue the phytosanitary certificate, the processed product certificate, and the certificate of free sale, any of which may be necessary. Contact information for procuring these certificates is below.

How can I get information about requirements for exporting meat (poultry, pork, beef, goat, etc.) to specific countries?

USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service maintains a Library of Export Requirements that provides a country-by-country explanation of requirements for exporting most U.S. meat products. In general, meat products for export must come from a USDA-inspected processing facility. The Food Safety Inspection Service's homepage is at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/.

What is a phytosanitary certificate and a processed product certificate? Where can I get them?

A phytosanitary certificate is a document certifying that particular crops meet the standards or requirments for entry into certain countries. North Carolina exporters can get a phytosanitary certificate or learn more about getting one by going to http://www.ncagr.com/plantind/plant/disease/expcert.htm, or by calling Mike Allen at NCDA's Plant Protection Division at mike.allen @ncagr.gov. This division also issues a processed product certificate, which is the equivalent of a phytosanitary certificate for further processed food items.

What is a certificate of free sale and where can I get one?

A certificate of free sale is sometimes required for certain items to enter foreign countries. It basically states that a product is known to be sold freely in North Carolina.  The Certificate of Free Sale is signed by a governing body such as the NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, your local Chamber of Commerce, or other organization.
North Carolina companies exporting food or drug products and requiring a Certificate of Free Sale may contact the Food & Drug Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Please call 919-733-7366 and ask for the "Compliance Officer for Certificates of Free Sale".  Exporters of non-food and drug products should contact their local Chamber of Commerce for a Certificate of Free Sale."

Where can I find a freight forwarder to handle my international shipments?

Click on a listing of international freight forwarders (available from the North Carolina Ports Authority), or call 1-800-334-0682 to order a hard copy of the N.C. Ports Services Directory.


Back to International Marketing Home Page

 

NCDA&CS International Trade Office, Peter Thornton, Assistant Director
Mailing Address: 1020 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1020
Physical Address: 2 W. Edenton Street, Room 411, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3153; FAX: (919) 715-0083
Website: www.ncagexports.com