How do I legally import tea and coffee into the USA

Question

I am looking to import a range of teas and coffees into the USA and looking for assistance and guidance on how to legally achieve this. I then want to sell them on a number of different eCommerce platforms.

My company is registered to trade with in the US (with the IRS) and also registered for sales tax in Michigan. I will be using a company based in Michigan, who will be performing stock storage, pic pack and despatch of online orders.

I hope someone is able to answer and provide details on the way to proceed.

Kind Regards
David Ray – Director
Beans and Leaves / Blend Coffee ShopLimited

Answer

Hi David,

Thank you for the question – I’m sure you’ll get some support, though bear in mind that our experts here will more often specialise in helping UK companies to export. Consider creating an opportunity page for this as well – let me know if you need any support for doing this.

william.barns-graham@opentoexport.com

Many thanks,

Will

Answer

Hi there David,

I hope that this response hasn’t come too late and is still of some use. For the US the organisation to get in touch with in the first instance would be the FDA. Have had to presume a number of things so please feel free to extend a little more info that might help me to get a better understanding of your current situation.

I have a feeling that the FDA require notification of the goods coming in prior to them leaving the country of export but that this is a form you can fill in yourself through their website but beyond that I’m not too sure what they may require in relation to your products (this in in addition to standard ISF filing for goods being exported to USA).

You may also need to appoint a broker/agent to help you import the goods if you haven’t done so already by completing a POA (Power of Attorney). I suppose this will depend on who or which company is physically going to be the ‘importer’ of the goods. Are you selling these goods to a company registered in the US? Or are you literally just shipping them there for distribution?

To export from the UK, I think you will need a Phytosanitary certificate in addition to the ordinary export documentation (importing in to the UK comes with a number of additional controls).

The domestic organisations that might be of help for information or pointing you in the right direction would include HMRC, DEFRA and the Forestry Commission.

Kind regards,

Simon

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