Resources to help you in your international business expansion often seem scant. While trade associations and networking groups offer some opportunities, the US federal government can be a viable alternative resource. Hidden in the .gov domain are programs that can help you find foreign customers, obtain insurance for your accounts receivable, provide leads on export contracts, offer market analysesas well as supply background checks on prospective buyers or partners. 

This article discusses a number of the programs available. Many of the links listed here include further links to even more services.

International Trade Administration

International Trade Administration

The ITA offers articles and videos on every aspect of your export business.In addition, the ITA offers includevaluable special services such as recounting export success stories, shipping and logistics help, and tips on business travel and business practices of other cultures.

Resources for Performing Due Diligence

Offers information on various export markets, background checks on foreign partners, and market analysis for your specific products.

Compliance Assistance: the US and Foreign Export and Import Regulations

A searchable database of export restrictions and import restrictions by nation.

Virtual Export Promotion Services

Offers a wide range of services, including market research for foreign markets, “matchmaking” with distributors, promotional services for your business, and webinars.

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Office of the United States Trade Representative

Hosts a “Trade Toolbox” with several unique resources for overseas trade.

Free Trade Agreements Tariff Tool

This is a searchable database for tariffs on imported goods for 20 countries with which the US has trade agreements. It gives exporters information on the tariffs their goods may face in each of 20 markets.

Trade Links

Provides web links to international development banks, the trade agencies of the United Nations, and trade organizations around the world, along with the countries they cover.

Though maintained by the International Trade Administration, is an independent site that offers many valuable resources.

Trade Leads

A searchable database of contracts for US businesses selling their products and services overseas, with leads drawn from government agencies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

US Government International Financing Programs

Lending and loan guarantee programs for both exporters and their customers. Includes programs from the Export-Import Bank, the Small Business Administration, and the USDA.

Insurance and Risk Mitigation

This site lists many US government programs that assit exporters in reducing risks including Accounts Payable insurance, political risk insurance, and US government backing for exporters’ credit offerings.

Export-Import Bank (EXIM)

Export-Import Bank

EXIM provides a page of resources specifically for exporters, including specialized insurance, a broker/lender locator, and educational materials.