Close this search box.

NDTO News Article

Understanding Import Regulations

While a few of our members joined us for Riddle of the Exporter Training with Elyse Eriksson earlier this year, one of Betty Sue’s famous slogans was “Export here equals Import there,” which got us thinking about some of the best ways to research import regulations for companies that are exporting beyond ND. It is important to know how to go about understanding other countries’ import law, testing requirements, and regulations on goods to be sure your products can make it in the country and be in good standing.

There are a variety of sources that can be used, and each country will operate slightly differently or have different entities that handle imports. Doing your research is going to be the best way to figure out how to get your products into an international market and keep them there. Here are some items to consider when looking into import regulations.

It is best to start with official government sources for the desired country and  the US Commercial Service. Look for dedicated sections related to international trade, customs, and regulations. These websites often provide comprehensive information on export and import rules.

Trade associations and chambers of commerce in your desired country will also have offices that deal with trade specifically and can help you navigate the required regulations for your product. Talking to real people from that country will provide valuable insights from each specific industry.

Trade experts and consultants, customs brokers, trade lawyers or other similar entities from the US or other in-country representatives can help do the research. They often have experience in navigating some of the complex regulations and know what to look for.

Other options include engaging with international trade resources/organizations like the Word Trade Organization or International Trade Center, which have a  wealth of knowledge, reports, and databases on trade regulations. Although there may be a high volume of data, it provides ample information globally, often in a more broad-based perspective. Database tools on the WTO site are a great resource to review their data on tariffs, duties and keep up to date with regulations.

Perhaps overlooked, but participating in tradeshows or working with similar industry professionals in the destination county is also a good way to meet the people who would know more about their home countries regulations. Networking opportunities may present with local experts, government representatives, or similar businesses. They can often provide a realistic perspective of what is needed to get your product into the country. Another option is to hire a local consultant, agent, or distributor that can navigate potential hurdles in the country. These individuals can offer valuable insights in their own country.

Always remember to keep import regulations top-of-mind as these can change over time and shift based on trade policies, political shifts, and other global events.

The NDTO can assist with navigating many of these issues and has access to a variety of database tools available to support ND exporters. Reach out to for assistance.

Export and import regulations can vary significantly from one country to another, so it’s essential to research and understand the specific requirements for each target market you plan to enter. Diligence in research and seeking professional assistance can help you navigate these regulations successfully.