Distance Selling to the USA from the UK

Question

I am looking at expanding my current European trading activities into the North American and Canadian markets. I intend to sell directly to the end user over the internet, and telephone. My business sells saunas and steam rooms.
I am unsure if there is any additional legislation to that of the EU surrounding distance selling laws that I would need to be aware of before starting to sell into the USA. For example:
What is the turnover export limit before tax needs to be paid in the USA.
What is the maximum value of a product being imported into the USA before it is liable for import duty?
Is there anything that I may not be aware of that differs from EU distance trading rules?

Answer

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for getting in touch through the Open to Export portal. As a UK government agency, UKTI is unable to provide legal advice but we posted an article recently about navigating US Customs, including how to classify your goods, determine duty rates, find a broker, etc.

Please review the article on US Customs here: http://opentoexport.com/article/top-10-u-s-trade-questions-1-u-s-customs/

Hope this helps.

Best,
Diana Lau
UKTI USA

Answer

Hi Sarah,
your best option is to consult a local lawyer for the particular State where you intend to sell your products as the laws differ from State to State unfortunately.

Kind regards
Jo

Answer

Hi Sarah,

My name is Kate Walsh and I work with Anne Avidon in the Boston, MA offices of UK Trade & Investment. Thank you for posting your question and reaching out to Anne.

I have been in touch with our FDA subject matter expert here in Massachusetts as you may find that you need to consult with the FDA depending upon any claims you are making. i.e. suana/steam room has an effect on skin/respiratory system, etc.

If you are making claims, then you will need to work with the FDA as you will be classified as a medical device. This would require a 510K application and the class type that you are would most likely be a class I or II.

If you are not making any health claims, you should be fine to enter the US market without having to work with the FDA. However, it is very important to consider this prior to shipment as you will face problems at the border.

Anne and I would be happy to further discuss this with you if you are indeed making claims and find that you need to work with a local FDA expert to file your 510K application.

Many Thanks,
Kate Walsh
Kathryn.Walsh@fco.gov.uk

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