How to Start Import Export Business in America?

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Importing goods from India to the USA can be a lucrative business opportunity for entrepreneurs. However, it can also be challenging due to the complex process and legal requirements involved. In this guide, we will outline some tips on how to start importing goods from India to the USA and suggest some knowledge bases that can be helpful.

  1. Identify Your Product: The first step in starting an import business is to identify the product you want to import. You should conduct thorough market research to understand the demand, competition, and pricing of the product in the USA. You can also consider attending trade shows, exhibitions, and online marketplaces to find potential suppliers in India.
  2. Choose a Reliable Supplier: Once you have identified the product, the next step is to find a reliable supplier in India. You can use online platforms like Alibaba, IndiaMart, or TradeIndia to find potential suppliers. It is important to verify the supplier’s credentials, such as their business license, certifications, and reputation.
  3. Obtain an Importer Number: To import goods to the USA, you need to obtain an importer number from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The importer number is a unique identifier that is used to track your import shipments and customs clearance.
  4. Determine Tariff and Customs Regulations: The USA has a complex system of tariff and customs regulations that govern the import of goods. You should research and understand the relevant regulations for your product to avoid any delays or penalties. You can also consider hiring a customs broker or freight forwarder to help you navigate the process.
  5. Arrange Shipping and Logistics: Once you have identified the supplier and understand the regulations, the next step is to arrange shipping and logistics. You can choose from various shipping methods, such as air freight, sea freight, or courier services. It is important to factor in the shipping cost, delivery time, and insurance when choosing a shipping method.
  6. Arrange Payment: Payment is a critical aspect of importing goods from India. You should agree on the payment terms with your supplier, such as advance payment, letter of credit, or cash on delivery. It is important to have a clear understanding of the payment terms and ensure that your payment is secure.

Best Knowledge Bases for Importing Goods from India:

  1. is a website maintained by the US government that provides information and resources for exporting and importing goods. It offers guidance on the legal and regulatory requirements for importing goods to the USA.
  2. India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF): IBEF is a trust established by the Indian government to promote the Made in India brand globally. It offers market intelligence, trade statistics, and business opportunities for importers and exporters.
  3. United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP): CBP is a federal agency that regulates and enforces customs and trade laws for goods entering the USA. It offers guidance on import regulations, tariff classifications, and trade agreements.
  4. International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): The ICC is a global organization that promotes international trade and investment. It offers resources and guidance for importers and exporters, including the Incoterms rules, which define the terms of trade between buyers and sellers.
  5. Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO): FIEO is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the export of goods from India. It offers trade information, business opportunities, and trade fairs for Indian exporters.


Importing goods from India to the USA can be a lucrative business opportunity, but it requires careful planning and knowledge of the import process and regulations. By following the steps outlined above and utilizing the suggested knowledge bases, you can start importing goods from India to the USA successfully. Remember to conduct thorough research, verify suppliers, understand regulations, and factor in shipping and logistics costs.

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