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Guide to shipping to the US from Cambodia with DHL Express

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Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia has woven together a compelling story of trade and commerce, with the United States (US) emerging as one of its important partners. In fact, both countries meet regularly under the 2006 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which provides a platform for addressing bilateral and multilateral economic issues.

According to the US Census, Cambodia exported over US$12.206 billion to the US while importing over US$446 million in 2022, highlighting the close ties between the two countries. Apparel, footwear, and travel goods comprise most of US imports from Cambodia. Meanwhile, the main US exports to Cambodia include vehicles, animal feed, and digital services.

But, what exactly is the US customs clearance process for those eager to capitalise on the Cambodia-US trade opportunity? Here’s a comprehensive overview of shipping to the US  for Cambodian exporters, whether you’re a small e-commerce store selling craft items or a large company shipping car parts.

Prohibited and restricted items when shipping to the US

First and foremost, exporters must be aware of the list of restricted and prohibited items when shipping from Cambodia to the US. 

Prohibited items that are legally forbidden, such as hazardous toys, vehicles without essential safety measures, bush meat, or banned substances like absinthe and Rohypnol cannot be exported to the US at all. 

Meanwhile, restricted items require specific import licenses or permits from a US federal agency before their legal importation, including firearms, products derived from animals, by-products, and particular animal species. Due to concerns about diseases and pests, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also places customs import limits and restrictions on many agricultural and food products.

Always refer to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s official website for a comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted imports.

Import duties & taxes from Cambodia to US

Next, always be prepared for customs duties and import tax, which affects your cost to ship to the US. 

Import duties and taxes for Cambodian exporters sending goods to the US depend on several factors, including the type of goods being exported, their value, and the specific trade agreements in place. 

Here's a general breakdown of factors affecting import duties & taxes from Cambodia to the US:

  • Product classification: The product’s Harmonized System (HS) code will determine the applicable tariff rate. Every imported product has a specific HS code corresponding to a tariff rate. Check out the US International Trade Commission-Tariff Database to get an approximate idea of the duty rate for a particular product you’re planning to export to the US from Cambodia.
  • Trade agreements: Any active trade agreements between the US and Cambodia can alter the duty rates. The US and Cambodia have a Bilateral Investment Treaty, which primarily addresses investment issues, not trade.
  • Country of origin: Some duties vary based on the product’s origin.
  • Value of the import: Customs duties are often levied as a percentage of the product's value.
  • Other taxes: Apart from customs duties, additional taxes, such as state taxes, might apply based on the type of product and its intended use.
  • Anti-dumping and countervailing duties: Some goods from specific countries are subject to these duties, designed to counteract foreign trade practices that the US government determines are unfair.

Packaging & labelling requirements when shipping to the US

Next, don't forget to use appropriate packaging to safeguard your products and label them correctly for seamless export across the US customs. All 50 states in the US enforce their own packaging and labelling regulations, so it's best to check which state you’re sending your products to.

Packaging

Generally, your packaging should be strong enough to ensure the product remains intact and undamaged during transportation and handling. Its materials should also be free of any harmful chemicals or substances that could contaminate the product.

Note that some states may have specific regulations on packaging materials, including their environmental impact, recyclability, and disposability. For example, many US states have bans or restrictions on polystyrene (styrofoam).

Labelling

Proper labelling is also crucial for seamless US exports. English is a mandatory language for all labels. If other languages are present, English must still be included. 

Here are the general labelling requirements to abide to:

  • Country of Origin: Products should clearly state "Made in Cambodia" or similar wording indicating Cambodia as the country of origin.
  • Contents: Details about the product, such as size, quantity, ingredients, or materials used, should be present.
  • Safety instructions: If a product has specific handling or safety requirements, these should be clearly indicated.
  • Date of manufacture and expiry: Relevant for perishable goods, medicines, and other similar product types.

Exporting food, electronics, toys, medicines, or cosmetics to the US? Here are the additional specific labelling requirements by product type:

  • Food and beverages: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that labels include details such as nutritional information, serving size, list of ingredients in descending order by weight, and allergen information. Any health claims must be validated.
  • Textiles: Labels must contain information about fibre content, the country of origin, the manufacturer or dealer identity, and care instructions.
  • Electronics: Safety standards, voltage requirements, and other pertinent information should be clearly displayed.
  • Toys and children's products: Age-appropriateness, choking hazard warnings, and other relevant safety information must be present.
  • Cosmetics: Ingredient listing, safety warnings, and usage instructions are required. If a product makes specific claims like SPF protection, it must be substantiated.
  • Medicines and pharmaceuticals: Detailed information about the drug, its usage, potential side effects, the manufacturer, and more should be included. Any claims should be backed by appropriate evidence.

Export to the US easily from Cambodia with DHL Express

Keep the above guidelines in mind, and you'll find that overseas shipping to the US from Cambodia becomes effortless. Navigating the intricacies of international shipping can be further simplified with the right partner like DHL Express. Our global network and unparalleled expertise makes us the go-to delivery expert for businesses looking to ship to the US from Cambodia.