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How to ship and export products from Sri Lanka to the USA

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Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is renowned not only for its enchanting natural beauty and rich cultural heritage but also as a dynamic player in the global trade arena. Boasting a wide range of products that span from world-class spices to exquisite textiles and cutting-edge technology, Sri Lanka has something to offer to every corner of the world.

Of these global destinations, the United States of America (USA) has emerged as one of the most significant, becoming the top export destination for Sri Lanka in recent years. In fact, according to the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the market was worth a staggering US$2822.89 million from January to October in 2022, reflecting the vibrant trade relationship between the two nations.

International shipping: A key component in global trade

In an increasingly globalised world, international shipping is a critical aspect of any export-oriented business. However, it's not as simple as packaging a product and sending it off. There are numerous factors to consider, from understanding the major export categories to complying with USA’s import regulations and laws. Moreover, choosing the right logistics partner can be a game-changer, providing you with seamless and hassle-free shipping solutions.

In this guide, we will delve into the ins and outs of shipping and exporting products from Sri Lanka to the United States (US). Whether you are a small business owner looking to expand your reach, an entrepreneur seeking international opportunities, or an established firm aiming to optimise your shipping process, this guide has something for you.

Major export categories from Sri Lanka to the US

The USA is a prime market for an array of Sri Lankan products. Sri Lanka's exports to the USA span across numerous categories, each of which represents a unique facet of the island's industry and craftsmanship. According to Trading Economics, the principal exports include spices, textiles, garments, and ceramics, each with its own distinct appeal to the American market.

1. Spices

Sri Lanka, also often referred to as the Spice Island, is renowned for its exceptional quality and variety of spices. These include species such as cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves, which are highly sought after by culinary enthusiasts and professionals in America. In particular, exporting spices from Sri Lanka to the USA has seen an upswing owing to the heightened demand for organic and sustainably-sourced produce.

These spices, grown in Sri Lanka's rich, biodiverse soil, are appreciated for their potent flavour profiles and aromatic potency. They are often a key ingredient in many traditional recipes, enhancing the flavour and nutritional value of various dishes.

2. Textiles and garments

Sri Lanka's textile and garment industry is another powerhouse of its export economy, contributing significantly to its annual export revenue. Sri Lankan textiles, woven from high-quality fibres, are appreciated for their intricate designs, durability, and comfortable wear. The country's garment sector, on the other hand, is revered for its ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, which resonate with conscious consumers worldwide, particularly in America.

From luxurious garments crafted for high-fashion labels to practical everyday wear, Sri Lanka's textile and garment exports cater to a broad spectrum of consumer preferences in the US market.

3. Ceramics

Sri Lankan ceramics, a reflection of the island's rich heritage and artistic talents, have also found a significant market in the USA. From tableware and sanitary ware to ornamental and utility items, the range is extensive. Crafted with attention to detail and a commitment to quality, Sri Lankan ceramics exhibit superior durability and unique aesthetics.

Each of these products, carrying the artisanal touch of Sri Lanka's skilled craftsmen and the island's rich resources, has successfully carved a niche in the US market. They are a testament to Sri Lanka's export prowess and potential in global trade.

How to export products from Sri Lanka to the USA?

Exporting goods from Sri Lanka to the USA, be it textiles, ceramics, spices, or any other product, involves a few essential steps:

  • Understand export regulations in Sri Lanka: The first step in your export journey is ensuring your business and the products you intend to export are registered with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). This is a mandatory process for all exporters in Sri Lanka, no matter the products you’re shipping.
  • Obtain necessary permits and certifications: Depending on the type of goods you're exporting, you will need to obtain certain permits and certifications. For instance, if you're exporting spices, these need to comply with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and may require a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Follow US import rules: The USA has specific import regulations for each type of product. Ensure you understand and follow these rules to prevent complications during the import process. For example, the import rules for spices may differ from those for textiles or ceramics.
  • Prepare accurate export documentation: Correct documentation is crucial for a smooth international shipping process. This includes customs declarations, commercial invoices, packing lists, and any other necessary paperwork.

Navigating US import regulations and laws

Navigating through the maze of import regulations and laws can be daunting. However, understanding these rules is a critical step to ensure your exports' seamless entry into the US market. The regulations are set to maintain the country's economic health and safety, and their strict enforcement ensures a fair and competitive trading environment.

Understanding US import and export regulations

The USA has a comprehensive set of import laws in place, designed to regulate the flow of goods entering the country. A crucial part of these regulations is the Federal Trade Commission's Made in USA standard, which pertains to the country of origin labelling on products. This labelling helps consumers make informed decisions and ensures that businesses compete on a level playing field.

To meet the standard, all products claiming to be made in the USA must be 'all or virtually all' manufactured in the United States. It's important to understand the nuances of these regulations to avoid legal issues and potential delays in your shipments.

Complying with US import rules for specific products

In addition to broad regulations, many products have specific rules, regulations, and standards. For instance, food and agricultural products require a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This regulation ensures the safety and quality of imported food and agricultural products.

Similarly, textiles must meet specific labelling and safety requirements. These requirements could include information about fibre content, country of origin, and the identity of the manufacturer or dealer. Complying with these rules is vital for avoiding potential import complications.

Meeting customs regulations in the US

All goods entering the USA are subject to inspection by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This agency is responsible for ensuring that all imported goods comply with US law and regulations.

Accurate documentation is the key to smooth customs clearance. This includes customs declarations, commercial invoices, and packing lists, among other documents. Not only does this facilitate the process, but it also helps to avoid penalties, delays, and possible seizure of goods.

Understanding these facets of American import regulations is crucial, but the task of navigating them does not have to be overwhelming. Teaming up with an experienced logistics partner can ease the process, ensuring that your goods reach their destination without unnecessary hurdles.

What is the price for sending a parcel to the USA from Sri Lanka?

The cost to send a parcel from Sri Lanka to the US depends on several factors, including the parcel's weight, dimensions, and the type of service chosen. Some courier services also offer additional services like insurance and end-to-end tracking, which could affect the total cost. For accurate pricing, it's best to check directly with your chosen courier service. MyDHL+, for example, is a handy online tool by DHL Express which provides an estimate based on the details of your shipment.

How DHL Express supports exports to the US

Whether you’re sending parcels to the USA or other countries, partnering with a reliable global courier service like DHL Express provides numerous benefits.

1. End-to-end tracking visibility

The advanced track and trace system keeps you updated about your parcel's location and delivery status, ensuring peace of mind.

2. Customs clearance

Navigating US customs can be complex, but we help simplify the process. Our expertise in global import rules and customs regulations ensures your exports clear customs smoothly.

3. Affordability

With DHL Express, you can benefit from affordable rates for sending parcels to America. Our USA courier service charges are competitive, and we provide options for both large shipments and small parcel shipping to the USA.

4. Reliability

When you ship to the USA with DHL Express, you're guaranteed fast, reliable delivery. Our courier cost to the USA also includes insurance, adding another layer of security for your goods.

Start shipping to the USA today

Expanding your Sri Lankan business to the US presents exciting opportunities. With a good understanding of the import regulations and export procedures, and by partnering with DHL Express, you can leverage the booming demand for Sri Lankan goods in the USA.

Whether you're wondering how much it costs to send a parcel containing small traditional Sri Lankan handicrafts or whether it’s possible to ship sensitive packages to the USA, reach out to DHL Express. We offer customised solutions that cater to your needs, helping you take your products to America and abroad.

Start shipping to the USA by opening a business account with us today.