Trading With The USA

Sending to the USA

The United States and the United Kingdom have always been major trading partners and most probably always will be, especially if we sign a USA/UK free trade agreement.

Popular products in the USA and UK

If is often said that that the UK and the USA are two quite different countries that share a common language and whilst this may be true there is a lot commercially and culturally that tie us together. As well as language, our tastes are broadly similar and so what sells well in the USA will most probably sell well in the UK and what sells in the UK will probably sell well in the USA.

USA States Rules & regulations

Be mindful though that the USA is a very big country and in some ways it is more like dealing with all of Europe. What may come as a surprise is the federal nature of government, which is really quite different to the UK, where rules and regulations cover the whole of the country. Each State has quite a bit of leeway in terms of setting rules, so for example the weight limits for trucks vary considerably between states and even some regulations regarding the import and sale of children’s toys for example can vary from state to state.

We are constantly asked for information on shipping to and also shipping from the USA and these are some of the frequently asked questions:

What is US customs duty?

US duty rates for UK goods tend to be very low, typically between zero and 3%. Note that many imports from China to the USA currently have a 25% surcharge plus the standard duty rates and this may put UK goods at a competitive advantage.

What is US import tax?

Whilst there are duties to pay (possibly) for imports to the USA as noted above, there is no import tax! In the UK this tax is what we know as VAT, it does not exist in the USA.

How much is import duty is there from the USA?

United Kingdom duty rates for US origin goods are also very low and are typically zero to 5%. So it depends on what you are importing. Please get in touch with us to give us more details for a more accurate indication of the import duty you would get.

How much import tax do I pay importing into the UK?

Like much of the world the UK charges import tax, known as VAT. VAT is currently 20% and charged at import on most items. The good news is that most regular importers register themselves with the UK government for VAT and so are entitled to claim all the import tax (VAT) back automatically.

Does the USA require an export licence / does the UK require an export licence?

Due to the close co-operation between the two countries the only licence requirements tend to be on military goods or what are called ‘dual use goods’ where there is both a civilian and potential military application. It is unlikely you will be selling items that need a licence and if you were you would invariably be well aware that what you were selling had a technology sensitive military application!

How long does sea freight take from the USA to UK?

As the USA is a big country it means the answer to this question varies considerably. From air freight to and from the USA if needed.

How do I book sea freight? & What documents do I need to ship internationally?

To book sea freight all you need do is call or mail K&L Freight and we will guide you through the process. We will generally need an invoice and packing list from you to complete the booking, along with details of your supplier or customer of course.

Who can be importer of record in the USA?

The USA has a series of rules and regulations relating to importing that are very different to those in force in Europe. One of which is the need to have an ‘importer of record’. It could you, or it could be your customer – if they agree to be one that is, and often they don’t.

It is worth noting that many US companies are just not used to importing as the domestic market is vast. They often do not accept their company being an importer of record and expect you to deliver to them just as a domestic supplier would, which is a problem as all imports into the USA must have an importer of record. K&L Freight have solutions to this conundrum and can provide advice on a case by case basis.

Importing Into The USA

Navigating the rules, forms and procedures for importing into the United States not so difficult but all rules have to be complied with exactly and the right forms submitted and accepted in the right order and at the right time. Non-compliance is taken very seriously in the USA, with large fines levied even on a first offence and ignorance of regulations is not accepted by US authorities at all. Navigating the various rules and procedures is best left with experts such as K&L Freight who will guide you through the processes and ensure all the various submissions to the US authorities are done correctly and at the right time.