Frequently Asked Questions:
How to find more information about:
Where can I find more information on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)?
Current information on BSE can be found at http://www.fas.usda.gov.
How do I find the product I want?
Some importers prefer to search for products on their own. These searches can be done using on-line supplier databases such as the U.S. Suppliers List, Distributors Directory (full-line suppliers) or searching FAS Partners' Product Supplier Databases.
However, by contacting a local FAS overseas office, more tools are available. These include Trade Leads, Buyer Alerts and other promotional opportunities such as trade shows and missions. Short descriptions of these services and links are available on the FAS Information Sheet.
If you are looking for a particular brand of product or have specific ingredient requirements and having difficulty locating a supplier, your local FAS overseas office may be able to help you with custom matchmaking.
Who are FAS partners/cooperators and what do they offer?
The American food and agriculture industry benefits from a large number of associations and organizations that support export market development. These groups, referred to as "participants" and "cooperators" receive support form FAS to conduct activities overseas such as trade missions, pavilions at trade shows and informational seminars.
A database of these organizations, including contact information, is available at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scripts/mos/HomeOffDir.asp.
Partners and Cooperators which offer on-line databases and directories of suppliers are listed at FAS Partners' Product Supplier Databases.
What can FAS overseas offices do for me?
FAS overseas offices offer information on American food, farm, seafood and forest products such as helping you find a U.S. product or supplier to meet your needs. They also organize pavilions at trade shows, promotional events such as showcase and sample shows and trade seminars. Some offices offer periodic newsletters. To find out what services are offered, contact your local FAS overseas office.
How can I access FAS overseas office Web pages?
Some FAS overseas offices have Web pages. A list can be found at http://www.fas.usda.gov/fasposts.html.
How do I find the FAS overseas office near me?
To find an FAS overseas office use the search engine at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/fasfield/ovc_frm.asp.
What if there is not an FAS office in my country?
While FAS operates offices in many countries, some international buyers may find that there is not an FAS office in their country. In this case they have two choices:
1. Contact the FAS office in a nearby country. (To find an FAS overseas office use the search engine at http://www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/fasfield/ovc_frm.asp.)
2. Contact the local U.S. Department of Commerce office. These offices can also help you find agricultural and food products. A directory of these offices can be found online at http://www.buyusa.gov/home/worldwide_local.html.
What is FAS - The Foreign Agricultural Service?
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products. FAS operates programs designed to build new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace.
FAS bears the primary responsibility for USDA’s overseas activities -- market development, international trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection and analysis of statistics and market information. It also administers USDA's export credit guarantee and food aid programs, and helps increase income and food availability in developing nations by mobilizing expertise for agriculturally led economic growth.
What does this mean for international buyers? FAS has personnel located in more than 75 posts and coverage in excess of 130 countries. Through its network of Agricultural Counselors, Attaches and Officers (supported through a sophisticated system of international telecommunications), FAS can help international buyers find the right product or the best supplier.
For more information on FAS' mission and activities, visit "About FAS" on the FAS Web site.
How to find more information: Import regulations in my country?
If you want to learn more on your own, check out FAS FAIRS (Food and Agriculture Import Regulations and Standards) Reports at http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/ofsts/fairs_by_country.asp. FAIRS country Reports are market access reports which aim to consolidate general information on the technical requirements (i.e. food laws, labeling, import procedures, etc.) for food and agricultural imports imposed by a foreign country. You can also consult with your local FAS overseas office.
How to find more information: Organic Products?
More information on U.S. organic products and the National Organic Program (NOP) is available on the FAS Organic Products Web site.
How to find more information: Biotechnology?
More information on Biotechnology and U.S. trade is available at http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/biotech/index.html.
How to find more information: Financing programs with FAS?
Information on FAS financing programs can be found at Information for International Buyers on Export Guarantee Programs.
How to find more information: Buying non-food products such as nutritional supplements, farm equipment or food processing equipment?
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) handles all non-food/non-agricultural products. This includes nutritional supplements and food processing equipment. If you cannot find a product in our U.S. Suppliers List, visit the DOC Web site http://www.buyusa.com.
How to find more information: Mixed containers and full-line suppliers (grocery products, food service)?
International buyers looking for mixed containers of product and full-line suppliers (grocery products, food service) should utilize the Distributors Directory.
The directory offers information such as product range offered and regions served. Beyond standard grocery (self-stable) products/processed food, the directory can assist you in finding a supplier who can offer a mixed container of various food products. For instance, some suppliers can offer a single container with various meat products including poultry, beef and lamb.
The directory lists what services a company offers such as export management, product representation, broker services, consolidation, freight forward and distribution services.
Additional Information such as if a supplier offers private labeling, local language labeling, food service packaging, kosher/halal, etc. is included in the directory.
How to find more information: A summary of all FAS trade facilitation services for international buyers?
A summary of all FAS trade facilitation services for international buyers can be found at http://www.fas.usda.gov/agx/buying/InformationSheet.htm.
Direct links to specific services are on the main Buying U.S. Products Web site.
How to find more information: FAS food aid programs?
Visit the FAS Food Aid Programs Web site at http://www.fas.usda.gov/food-aid.html.
How to find more information: International trade from other U.S. Government agencies?
Please view "Selected Web Sites for Trade in Food and Agricultural Products With the United States of America" (.pdf). Also available in Word format.
Still have unanswered questions? Learn how to get personalized assistance?
Your first point of contact should be your local FAS overseas office! They can direct you to the appropriate resource and provide personalized assistance in your language.
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