There are many reasons for U.S. exporters to consider doing business in countries that have free trade agreements with the U.S. According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), “Free trade agreements (FTA) between the United States and select trading partners provide low-duty or duty-free access and other benefits, including stronger intellectual property protection, fair treatment for U.S. investors, opportunities for U.S. exporter input in the development of FTA country product standards, enhanced opportunities to compete for foreign government procurements, and opportunities for U.S. service providers.”
At the time of publication, 20 countries either have bilateral or multilateral comprehensive free trade agreements with the U.S. and these markets account for about 40 percent of U.S. exports. The multilateral agreements include the more recent United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which went into effect in 2020, and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) which involves six countries and went into effect in 2006.
U.S. exporters seeking to enter these markets and determine whether their qualified goods will either be duty free or incur reduced duties under FTA rules can use the FTA Tariff Tool Search, a free online government resource created by the ITA. Select the FTA partner country from a drop-down list, enter a Harmonized System code, then annual tariff rates are displayed for general reference purposes. Low-duty or duty-free access makes U.S. exports more competitive vis-à-vis other suppliers as the goods are cheaper in addition to making the documentation process less cumbersome.
EXIM’s Export Credit Insurance helps qualified U.S. exporters protect against buyer nonpayment and extend open account credit terms to buyers in nearly all FTA partner countries and elsewhere (EXIM is open in 175+ countries). Single-Buyer Insurance premium estimates can be found on EXIM’s Short-Term Calculator – select a country from a drop-down menu, enter an invoice amount and payment term, then estimates are shown.
To learn about export opportunities in FTA partner and other countries such as trade events, introductions to qualified buyers and more, contact the U.S. Commercial Service. For more information about how EXIM’s trade finance offerings can level the playing field for U.S. businesses competing for global sales, please click here to schedule a free consultation with an EXIM trade finance specialist.
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