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Understanding FDA Oversight for Global Healthcare Products


Understanding FDA Oversight for Global Healthcare Products

According to Deloitte, the healthcare industry is on the way to becoming 26% of the GDP, exceeding $12 trillion by 2040. The development of new drugs and high-tech medical devices continues to evolve, providing much needed care for individuals with various ailments, and contributing hefty profits to manufacturers. Though it can appear the healthcare industry is quite lucrative, it is up to multiple global regulatory bodies to ensure drugs and medical devices meet strict standards, ensuring safety for patients, providers, and manufacturers.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has these processes in place both in the US and internationally, regulating imported and exported goods to prevent exploitation and maximize safety, preventing fraudulent drugs and devices from entering the market. Below you’ll find valuable information concerning how the FDA oversees global trade and what regulations exist for these manufacturers.

How Does the FDA Oversee International Trade?

Anything product or device that affects the health of the body will be regulated by the FDA.

 Their reach extends into different areas of the healthcare, agricultural, and consumer goods industries, including:

  • Tobacco products;
  • Cosmetic products;
  • Pet food;
  • Veterinary devices;
  • Vaccines;
  • Surgical implants, prosthetics, and other medical devices;
  • Over-the-counter and prescription drugs;

The FDA will review these goods that are imported and exported from and to other countries to make sure they fit within proper safety parameters and will not harm the public. Both commercial and personal imports will be subject to review– these goods can be denied entry if they are deemed illegal to sell, contaminated, or willfully mismarketed.

One case study in particular offers a glimpse into how the FDA can exert its regulatory powers over product manufacturers. The FDA reserves the right to inspect the premises of any manufacturer that operates within the scope of their control and can inspect facilities overseas that intend to import goods to the US. When reviewing the premises of Nippon Fine Chemical Co., Ltd in Japan, FDA inspectors were prevented by Nippon staff members from viewing the quality control lab, something that indicated improper operational procedures to the inspectors.

The FDA diligently followed up on complaints of contaminated drugs distributed from this manufacturer. Their findings, which were limited due to the imposition of the workers, forced the FDA to bar the manufacturer from exporting any goods to the US. 

Drug and Medical Device Import Regulation Processes

There are a few different ways the FDA regulates the production and trade of drug and medical device goods. For imported drug and medical device products, you cannot ship unapproved pharmaceuticals and devices, even if they are not for commercial use. Any drug and medical device products may be inspected by the US Bureau of Customs & Border Protection upon entry to the country. 

Overseas drug manufacturers importing goods to the US must register their businesses with the FDA: Federal Register Notice, which includes providing information about all the commercial drugs and devices produced and distributed by the manufacturer. Should the FDA require a more thorough review of the imported goods, the manufacturer has the ability to send the shipment to a third storage location, where the FDA will be able to access and assess the goods accordingly. From there, this information will undergo an Automated Electronic Review, which involves using analytics software to determine the risk of injury when using the imported goods. 

Customs should always be notified of the shipment and arrival of commercial healthcare products. When shipping products to the US, manufacturers must include information about their company and facility, the products included in the shipment, and any registration or approval confirmation for the production of the drug. This communication can be handled by a broker through a system provided by Customs called the Automated Commercial Environment, which provides a correspondence link between the broker/manufacturer, Customs, and the FDA.

The FDA always retains the right to refuse imports that do not comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, except for in certain cases, such as with imports that are not intended for use or sale in the US. Manufacturers can submit an appeal, which may include updating the product or shipping details to comply with the Act.

Meeting FDA Standards and Establishing Safety Protocols in Drug and Medical Device Manufacturing

As long as you have every intention to produce and distribute a safe product, you will naturally fall in line with FDA regulations. To prepare for importing goods, set up a strategic plan that involves outlining your objectives, managing the import plan, and delegating tasks accordingly, along with setting clear objectives so your team understands the regulatory process and what steps are required of them.

First and foremost, the manufacturing facility and processing plant for drugs and medical devices must be sanitary. All products must be packed in a sanitary manner as well. Drugs and medical devices must not have any evidence of “adulteration”, which refers to contamination through filth or illegal substances.

It is also crucial to have accurate labels on all of your products that are imported to the US. Should one shipment of goods be labeled for pharmaceuticals, they should never contain X-ray equipment, prosthetics, or any other products that are outside of what has been specifically labeled.

You should also be careful and compliant when filling out any paperwork associated with the imports of healthcare goods. Register your business and the import appropriately, give notice of the shipment to Customs, and offer any and all additional paperwork the FDA may require upon their initial inspection of the goods. Should you refuse or not meet any of these standards, the FDA can detain the products until a hearing has been brought forth. If the goods are deemed illegal or not in compliance with FDA standards, they will be sent back to the exporter or they can be destroyed, causing you as a manufacturer to lose out on a great deal of money.


How to Build Stronger Logistics Relationships for Successful Export Operations

To help your export operations thrive, you must have strong partnerships to help you along the way. Companies that fail to build strong logistics relationships may struggle to send and receive their shipments on time. 

Not having a correct logistical operations process can have a ripple effect on a company. To ensure the success of your company, there are a few steps that you should take to build and maintain strong relationships for your logistics practices.

Identify Key Logistics Partners

The success of your logistical operations will be based on your successful relationships with your logistical partners. It is critically important that you can identify and work with reliable and reputable partners. You will need to select partners that can provide the services you need to get your products out to customers in good condition and at a good time. When making your selection of logistic partners, keep the following points in mind: 

  • Experience: Ensure your potential partner has experience shipping the products you want to export. Ask for references from other companies they have worked with.
  • Capacity: Can they handle the volume of shipments you need? Do they have the resources (staff, vehicles, storage space, etc.) to meet your needs?
  • Flexibility: Your shipping needs may change over time. Make sure your partner can adapt their services to meet your changing needs.
  • Reputation: You want to ensure you’re working with a company with a good reputation for quality service. Check online reviews and talk to other companies in your industry to get their thoughts on potential partners.

Having the right team in your corner can make a big difference in crafting successful export operations.

Understand the Needs of Key Logistics Partners

You must understand the needs of your logistics providers. Your goal should be to work together to meet those needs to create a smooth, successful export operation. While working to build a stronger relationship with your logistic providers, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you must thoroughly understand their business model and how they operate. Identify key strengths and weaknesses. This will help you better understand what they are capable of and what limitations may impact your export operations. This knowledge can also help you determine the practices you have to offer that will help to ensure seamless functionality in your partnership. 

You must also communicate your needs and expectations with your partners. You will want to provide them with all the information needed to service your export account properly.

Remain reliable and keep your promises to your partners. Trust between you and your partners will ensure you can rely on each other and provide trusted services in the long run. If you say you will do something, you should do it. This, in itself, will go a long way in establishing a relationship that is built on trust.

Be open to feedback and eager to make any necessary changes. It is crucial to understand that no one is perfect. Things will change over time. Both partners must be able to keep up with changing times. If your logistics provider offers suggestions on improving your operation, be open to hearing them and making changes if needed.

Finally, show appreciation for a job well done. Acknowledging can go a long way to maintaining a strong relationship with your logistics provider.

Offer Incentives

To incentivize your logistics providers to go above and beyond in supporting your export operations, you should develop a system of rewards. This could include financial incentives for meeting or exceeding agreed-upon metrics, such as bonuses or commission payments. 

You could also offer non-financial rewards, such as glass awards that offer public recognition. Whatever form the rewards take, they should be meaningful to the logistics providers and encourage them to continue providing high levels of support.

Attend Industry Events

If you want to build stronger relationships with logistics partners, one way to do so is by attending industry events. You can attend many events, from trade shows and conferences to networking events and educational seminars.

No matter what event you attend, you must research ahead of time to know who will be in attendance. Researching can also help you better understand the event and what you and others in attendance can bring to further your export operations. This will help you make the most of your time at the event and ensure that you meet people and potential partners.

You should use industry events to network with as many potential partners as possible. Bring business cards with you that you can exchange and be sure to follow up with new contacts after the event. If you make a good first impression, you will be more likely to build strong relationships with potential logistics partners that can help bolster your company’s mission and improve your processes.

Leverage Technology

Utilizing technology in your export operations can be extremely beneficial, especially when maintaining strong relationships with others. By leveraging technology, you can improve communication and collaboration with your logistics providers and ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your export operations.

Technology can be used in several ways to improve communication and collaboration with logistics providers. For example, online tools can track shipments, share information, and coordinate schedules. In addition, technology can be used to automate repetitive tasks and processes, freeing up time for more important tasks.

Companies can successfully manage their export operations by understanding the importance of logistics relationships and taking proactive steps to build them. Exporters must ensure that their logistics partners are reliable and capable of meeting their needs. This makes it essential for exporters to strive to develop long-term partnerships with a diverse range of freight providers to meet the demands of today’s global market.

Mike Szczesny is the owner and vice president of EDCO Awards & Specialties, a dedicated supplier of employee recognition products, branded merchandise, and athletic and glass awards. Szczesny takes pride in EDCO’s ability to help companies go the extra mile in expressing gratitude and appreciation to their employees. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 


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Global Shipping Update: Modicum of Relief as Import Volumes Fall in Line with 2019 Levels

With the second quarter of 2023 on the horizon, importers and logistics service providers (LSPs) are wondering what lies ahead. The economic landscape is anything but predictable and there are conflicting opinions on what direction the economy will take. As for interest rates, they continue to decline but remain high. How is this uncertainty affecting supply chains? 


U.S. container import volumes are declining and shifting back into line with 2019 volumes, to a time before the global pandemic prompted an explosion of ecommerce demand and imports soared to unforeseen heights. Indeed, import volumes saw a significant drop in February, decreasing 16.2% from January 2023 to 1,734,272 TEUs (see Figure 1). Compared to February 2022, TEU volume was down 25.0%—but was only 0.3% lower than pre-pandemic February 2019. 

While box imports continue to follow 2019 volumes, the volume decrease was the greatest of the last seven years, with the exception of February 2020 which marked the start of the pandemic (-17.9%). Notably, after an upward shift in January, Chinese imports into the U.S. returned to a downward trend in February 2023—a trend seen among all of the top countries of origin—with a volume decrease of 17.1% to 632,702 TEUs; China’s downward momentum represents a volume drop of 37.0% from the high in August 2022. 


It’s worth noting that February’s volumes may be influenced by multiple factors, including the shorter duration of the month (28 days vs. 31 days in January) and the impact of January’s Chinese Lunar New Year, which would see volumes materialize in late February and early March 2023. 

While overall U.S. container import volume for the Top 10 ports fell by 296,390 TEUs in February 2023 vs. January—all but the Port of Tacoma experienced declines—the volume share at top West Coast ports and top East and Gulf Coast ports remained relatively stable. West Coast ports decreased 2.8% while East and Gulf Coast ports increased 1.6% from January 2023. Compared to smaller ports, market share for the top 10 ports, however, has been steadily declining since mid-2022, with February 2023 representing the lowest share (82.8% of total volume) in the last year.


Despite fewer goods on the move, port transit delays increased for the top West, East and Gulf Coast ports, indicating ongoing supply chain turbulence. The West Coast ports are faring the worst, as transit times increased from 0.1 to 1.0 days in February compared to January 2023. With the exception of the Port of Long Beach, port transit delays for West Coast ports in February 2023 are now higher than in December 2022 (see Figure 2). 

Figure 2: Monthly Average Transit Delays (in days) for the Top 10 Ports 

Note: Descartes’ definition of port transit delay is the difference as measured in days between the Estimated Arrival Date, which is initially declared on the bill of lading, and the date when Descartes receives the CBP-processed bill of lading.


Whether it’s the long arm of COVID impacting manufacturing supply chains, or labor shortages and uncertainty complicating transport logistics, importers and LSPs continue to face barriers to supply chain performance. COVID continues to impact available supply chain and logistics resources and operations globally. China, in particular, has seen widespread COVID infections after rolling back its zero-COVID restrictions. While the loosening of the country’s pandemic policies was intended to minimize the longer-term disruptions to society and business, the Chinese population has little-to-no immunity and the impact of COVID on manufacturing supply chains could continue for quite some time. 

On the labor front, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) have been working without a contract since July 1, 2022. While ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) recently announced that they “continue to negotiate and remain hopeful of reaching a deal soon,” negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement—encompassing more than 22,000 dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports—has been dragging on since May 2022. 

Adding further complexity to the uncertain labor situation, California’s new labor legislation AB5 remains a thorn in the side of the trucking industry, with the risk of future AB5-related stoppages at California ports. This continuing labor uncertainty may be a significant reason why import volumes are not shifting back to major California ports, despite their reduction in transit delay times over the last year plus. 

Importers and LSPs would be wise to keep close tabs on the progress of the ILWU contract negotiations and monitor the impact of AB5 on owner-operators serving California ports for potential disruption or any degradation of container processing performance at the ports.


Companies are watching inflation rates closely as 2023 unfolds. Although the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% in February—slightly less than January’s 0.5% increase—inflation fell to 6% year-over-year, inching in the right direction towards the Fed’s 2% target. However, supercore inflation—representing the cost of services—rose by 0.2% last month and is up almost 7% from a year ago. For example, package delivery costs have risen 14.4% in the last year, as of February 2023.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, gasoline costs, a significant contributor to high inflation rates, decreased slightly in February to $3.34/gallon and somewhat stabilized. Diesel costs were also down slightly to $4.29/gallon, nearing February 2022 prices. Although stabilized, fuel costs are likely to remain elevated due to the disruption of global energy markets caused by the war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia.


With the myriad of challenges impacting supply chain performance, importers and LSPs should stay proactive in their approach to designing and executing their logistics and supply chain strategy. In the short term, evaluating and understanding the impact of inflation and the Russia/Ukraine conflict on logistics costs and capacity constraints is critical for clearing a path ahead, while making sure key trading partners are not on sanctions lists mitigates potential penalties and further delays.

In the near term, importers and LSPs should focus on improving supply chain velocity, reliability, and predictability by looking for less congested transportation lanes, including smaller ports, and evaluating alternative transportation lanes into the U.S. To allay the risk of another logistics capacity crisis in the long term, companies may consider evaluating supplier and factory location density to minimize reliance on over-taxed trade lanes and regions of the globe that have the potential for conflict. 


The February U.S. container import data demonstrates some consistency with pre-pandemic import volume seasonality and offers a measure of relief from the logistical challenges that have plagued operations over the past few years. Several factors, however, point to continuing challenges for global supply chain performance. 

Despite declining import volumes, port transit times increased at West, East, and Gulf Coast ports, while unresolved labor-related issues may be keeping importers from moving volume back to the West Coast. Compounding factors, including the COVID-related impact on China’s manufacturing capacity, inflation, and the war in Ukraine continue to put pressure on supply chains and logistics operations. By closely monitoring these factors and taking steps to build long-term supply chain resilience, importers and LSPs can mitigate risk, improve supply chain reliability and velocity, and shore up the bottom line moving forward.


goods uyghur

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act: Why and What Importers Need to Know

When you go shopping for a new product, what influences your final purchasing decision? Price? Availability? Quality? Brand? 

For many people, the decision comes down to some balance of these common factors. However, a rising number of consumers now say they also consider the wider societal and environmental impacts of their purchases. Where was the product manufactured? Were the materials ethically sourced? Is this brand known for supporting fair labor practices? 

These kinds of considerations hold heavy weight for today’s shoppers who value sustainability. Whether they’re purchasing clothing, food, electronics, or any other type of goods, they want to buy from companies with similar values. They’re even willing to pay more to do so. In one recent survey, 40 percent of consumers agreed that their purchases are influenced by societal factors—like how a company supports human rights. Other research has found that more than 83 percent of consumers would pay more for a product they could be sure was ethically sourced. 

Similarly, many investors now prioritize companies that demonstrate strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics. More than 25 percent of global investors say ESG is “central to their investment approach.” Overall, it’s abundantly clear that ethical, sustainable business practices are good for business, good for people, and good for the planet. 

Unfortunately, many companies are still unaware—or worse, turn a blind eye—when it comes to serious human rights violations across their supply chains. 

Taking steps to eradicate human rights abuses 

As of 2021, an estimated 50 million people were living in modern slavery—with 28 million of those people working under forced labor conditions. Though awareness is rising, abuses like slave labor, child labor, and inhumane working conditions remain prevalent in the global supply chain. 

Now, governments around the world are issuing policies designed to tackle modern slavery and drive businesses to adopt ethical supply chain practices. These regulations hold companies more accountable for conducting proper due diligence when working with external partners, purchasing materials, and importing and exporting goods. One of the most recent policies is the United States’ Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This legislation marks a big step to strengthen U.S. policy on importing goods from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where forced labor is all too prevalent. 

A timeline of forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region 

The XUAR is a large territory in Northwest China. The area is rich in natural resources, including industrial materials like oil, natural gas, coal, and polysilicon. It is also a significant source of agricultural products that enter the global supply chain. In fact, Xinjiang produces a whopping 85% of China’s cotton supply and 20% of world’s cotton supply. Unfortunately, all these resources are entwined with conflict and human rights abuses. 

The XUAR is home to about 12 million Uyghurs. They are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority with their own cultural, religious, and political practices—completely distinct from those of the Han people, China’s ethnic majority. Over the past few decades, the region has been filled with inter-ethnic friction, where acts of repression, intrusive surveillance, and horrific violence have been inflicted on the Uyghur people and other minorities by the Chinese government. 

Since 2017, the Chinese government has involuntarily detained more than a million Uyghurs in what it calls “voluntary vocational education and training centers.” In reality, they are forced labor camps. There, Uyghurs are forced to work without pay, while subjected to political indoctrination and inhumane punishments. Families and communities are being separated, as some are shipped to factories throughout other areas of China. The oppression is so widespread that any business sourcing materials from Xinjiang is almost certainly capitalizing on forced labor and supporting severe exploitation. 

Guilty until proven innocent 

As reports of injustices against the Uyghurs gradually spread, governments around the world began to take action. On December 23, 2021, President Biden signed the UFLPA into law. And on June 21, 2022, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began enforcing the act. 

The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that any goods mined, produced, or manufactured (either wholly or in part) in the Xinjiang region are a product of forced labor—and thereby prohibited from U.S. importation unless importers can prove otherwise. Put simply, it’s a matter of “guilty until proven innocent.” 

Importers now need to either: 

  • Provide documentation to CBP proving that their goods are were sourced completely from outside Xinjiang 
  • Or, request an exemption backed definitive evidence that their goods were not made with forced labor 

Without the proper documentation, goods may be subject to seizure and forfeiture. Any business found in violation of the UFPLA may face severe penalties. And that’s not to mention major damage to brand reputation that comes along with associations to forced labor. 

However, the complex and fragmented nature of today’s global supply chains make it a big challenge for importers to conduct proper due diligence. Take a fashion retailer, for instance. That company may import finished pairs of jeans from a factory in Mexico, and it can show documented proof. But where did that factory source its denim? And where did that entity source its cotton? Product provenance gets more complicated and clouded the farther you look back up the supply chain. 

Using technology to support global trade compliance 

To help U.S. companies navigate UFLPA compliance, the government has issued an updated version of the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory. The advisory outlines risks businesses should consider when conducting human rights due diligence. It also emphasizes the need for end-to-end supply chain visibility, traceability, and documentation. 

Moving forward, businesses will need to know their risks and really know their products. Having the right supporting technology will be crucial. A great place to start is with automated global trade compliance software. The software automates trade documents and electronic customs reporting, enabling companies to satisfy compliance requirements, minimize regulatory exposure, perform due diligence, and ensure documentation accuracy—eliminating the time, costs, and labor involved in handling it all manually. 

Here are four key tools to look for in an automated global trade compliance solution: 

  1. Restricted party screening: The U.S. government provides a list of entities in Xinjiang that mine, produce, or manufacture goods with forced labor. The entity list changes frequently, making it nearly impossible for companies to stay on top of changes through manual processes. Using Restricted Party Screening software, companies can automate compliance screening for due diligence. They can get automated alerts on any changes, create audit-ready electronic reports, and ultimately ensure their chosen partners are low risk. 
  2. Global trade compliance analytics: Businesses need ongoing insight into their compliance activities and data. Analytics tools can offer real-time visibility into compliance processing—including screening throughput, transactions under review, and failures. These tools can also monitor license and permit records expiration dates. Overall, these insights help business leaders to make smarter decisions in real time to support trade compliance. 
  3. Supplier relationship management: Many businesses still use spreadsheets and manual processes to manage and collaborate with their suppliers. But this approach is time consuming, costly, and leaves everyone open to risk. Supplier relationship management software serves a single, digital system for managing supplier information, improving supplier selection, and monitoring supplier performance. The software also automatically collects and organizes supplier documents required for regulatory compliance. 
  4. Import Management: By automating import processes, companies can prevent costly delays and clear their trade goods through CBP and other government agencies in a quick and efficient way. Import management software ensures imports are properly classified with the correct commodity codes, then proactively identifies any incoming goods with admissibility requirements. It can also automatically produce the proper import documentation, screen suppliers and supply chain parties from end up end, and much more. 

Supporting a sustainable future 

Government regulations like the UFLPA are undoubtedly a step in the right direction for combatting forced labor. But fully eradicating human rights abuses in the global supply chain will require the combined power of governments, consumers, and businesses alike. Armed with the right information and tools, U.S. businesses can begin to play their part in the effort to create ethical supply chains and a sustainable future for all. 


goods uyghur

3 Strategies for Importing Goods From the U.S. to Europe

Bilateral trade between the U.S. and the European Union has been a longstanding phenomenon. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the EU is one of the U.S.’s biggest trading partners — with $823 billion of goods traded in 2022.

By definition, exports are goods or services produced in one country and sold in another, while imports are goods and services not produced domestically. The World Trade Organization identifies the U.S. as the world’s largest importer, followed by the EU and China, which has been the largest exporter of goods since 2009, Statista data shows. The U.S. ranks third in exports, behind China and the EU.

Exports to the EU totaled nearly $319 billion. Meanwhile, imports from the EU amounted to $504 billion, making the trade deficit $186 billion, U.S. Census Bureau data found. In simple terms, the U.S. receives more imported trade goods than it exports to the EU.

Why Are U.S. Imports So Difficult to Maintain for E-Commerce in Europe?

The COVID-19 pandemic, prolonged inflationary pressures, political unrest, new international regulations, and complicated logistics have created numerous trade challenges for retailers and e-commerce companies based in the U.S.

In my experience as the CEO and co-founder of Go Global Ecommerce, it is generally easier to import goods into Europe than the U.S. The U.S. has more restrictions on products and policy regulations, though every country has its own specifications, standards, and means of trading. Let’s discuss the various items that can complicate the trading process.

Factors Complicating the Importing of Goods From the U.S. to the EU

The first factor complicating international e-commerce is the state of overall economic conditions. We know that economies can change daily. Add in possible recessions, changing regulations, and political unrest, and you have a case of complicated trade. A complication or change in one country — or at one level of the business landscape — can create a domino effect on trade worldwide.

When it comes to the economic outlook, nearly 90% of supply chain leaders surveyed for a Container LogTech report said they fear “inflation and recession will be the biggest factors that will impact businesses” this year. Of course, negatively impacted businesses will negatively affect trade.

Furthermore, trade regulations differ for every industry, product, business, and sector. When it comes to customs, a free trade agreement or coalition is typically in place. A free trade agreement, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is a pact that eliminates many barriers and tariffs between countries, making it easier to import and export goods.

However, some types of goods have custom duties, such as aluminum, alcohol, and steel. A customs duty is a tariff or tax on specific goods the owner, purchaser, or customs broker must pay. These are handled by governments and regulators. International regulations and logistics complicate the process of importing goods from the U.S. for sale within the EU. For example, U.K. e-commerce fulfillment is especially trickier post-Brexit.

Geography is another factor that can affect trade. For example, as a country equipped with big boats and high-tech shipping machinery, it is easier to trade goods in the Netherlands. Trade routes, shipping requirements, and warehousing needs can impact shipping and trade in countries that don’t have the necessary ports, stations, or equipment for handling a large influx of imports.

In sum, factors that impact trade include the type of product, economic conditions, geography, and political agreements. Fortunately, goverments and regulators can help facilitate trade flow, improve accessibility for U.S. imports, and boost the overall network of e-commerce in Europe.

Business Moves to Make for Effective Cross-Border E-Commerce

Smooth implementation of cross-border e-commerce solutions requires regulations and political agreements. Yet government and agencies aside, there are ways to expand your company’s e-commerce business across borders as well.

E-commerce in Europe is on the rise as companies like Shopify, Zalando, and the Otto Group expand, and startups like Klarna and Flink continue to pop up on the market. There is a massive demand for e-commerce in the European market. To keep up with these changing tides, consider the following tips to expand your business’s cross-border e-commerce abilities.

  1. Analyze the best route for your business.

Every country has pros and cons, regulations, and laws. First, determine which country has the best tax considerations and payments process for your business. Perhaps localizing your efforts in Europe instead of the U.S. would prove most beneficial. Ask yourself whether the location has a strong presence of business partners, market maturity, and your business’s target customers.

Then, determine whether you want to expand physically to other countries. Your company could benefit by opening a warehouse in the EU. This move can help you save time and money on shipping and efficiency costs.

Establishing warehouses abroad can also ease transportation concerns, saving you the headache of mapping out the best shipping routes.

  1. Invest in the experts.

Compliance is crucial. To ensure your business is set up for success from the start, invest in a legal department or a company with international expertise. Whether you hire in-house or outsource advice, these shipping experts can provide you with e-commerce regulations guidance and help you ensure your business displays all necessary legal information to customers.

Nowadays, more businesses are choosing the merchant of record model to stay compliant when selling internationally. International e-commerce experts can also guarantee that you abide by all trade duties, tax regulations, and laws no matter where your customers are located.

  1. Put your customers above profit.

A strong and impressive customer experience is what keeps your customers continuously choosing your company. Find ways to simplify your return and exchange policy, but note how the cost of customs and duties will work when a product needs to be returned. Analyze the potential costs of returns and exchanges, but don’t make the customer bear the brunt of the transaction.

Cross-border e-commerce brings companies international market opportunities. It can be challenging for companies to keep up when faced with ever-changing trade regulations and agreements. Fortunately, by following these three strategies, you can expand your business internationally today. The opportunity and demand are ongoing, and the potential for e-commerce in Europe is continuous.

Simone De Ruosi is the CEO and co-founder of Go Global Ecommerce. With a background in engineering and business and sound knowledge of productive system management and strategic business management, he recently completed his MBA at the ESCP Business School (placed at No. 6 in the FT Global MBA 2022 rankings). When he co-founded and launched Go Global Ecommerce in 2020, he set out to assist brands that were ambitious about expanding on a global scale — an objective that has been fulfilled, having helped brands such as Nestlé, Kraft Heinz, Smeg, The Ridge, and Blauer USA grow internationally. He is a Mensa member, a keen sportsman, and, above all, a family man.

wallpaper price

Wallpaper Price in U.S. Averages $18,720 per Ton

U.S. Wallpaper Import Price per Ton July 2022

In July 2022, the wallpaper price per ton stood at $18,720, approximately reflecting the previous month. Over the period from January 2022 to July 2022, it increased at an average monthly rate of +3.2%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in March 2022 when the average import price increased by 42% month-to-month. As a result, import price attained the peak level of $23,646 per ton. From April 2022 to July 2022, the average import prices failed to regain momentum.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In July 2022, the country with the highest price was Japan ($39,741 per ton), while the price for Canada ($4,186 per ton) was amongst the lowest.

From January 2022 to July 2022, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Japan (+11.0%), while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

U.S. Wallpaper Import Prices by Type

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major supplied products. In July 2022, the product with the highest price was wallpaper and similar wall coverings and window transparencies; of paper, n.e.s. ($22,785 per ton), while the price for wallpaper and similar wall coverings; coated or covered on the face side, with a grained, embossed, colored, design-printed or otherwise decorated layer of plastics stood at $15,791 per ton.

From January 2022 to July 2022, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by wallpaper and similar wall coverings and window transparencies; of paper, n.e.s. (+7.1%).

U.S. Wallpaper Imports

In July 2022, after three months of growth, there was decline in overseas purchases of wallpaper and wall coverings, when their volume decreased by -3.8% to 520 tons. Overall, imports continue to indicate a mild contraction. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in April 2022 with an increase of 15% month-to-month. Imports peaked at 567 tons in January 2022; however, from February 2022 to July 2022, imports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, wallpaper imports dropped to $9.7M (IndexBox estimates) in July 2022. The total import value increased at an average monthly rate of +1.7% from January 2022 to July 2022; however, the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in March 2022 when imports increased by 18% month-to-month. Over the period under review, imports reached the maximum at $10M in June 2022, and then reduced slightly in the following month.

U.S. Wallpaper Imports by Type

Wallpaper and similar wall coverings; coated or covered on the face side, with a grained, embossed, colored, design-printed or otherwise decorated layer of plastics (302 tons) and wallpaper and similar wall coverings and window transparencies; of paper, n.e.s. (218 tons) were the main products of wallpaper imports to the United States.

From January 2022 to July 2022, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the major product types, was attained by wallpaper and similar wall coverings; coated or covered on the face side, with a grained, embossed, colored, design-printed or otherwise decorated layer of plastics (with a CAGR of -0.1%).

In value terms, the most traded types of wallpaper and wall coverings in the United States were wallpaper and similar wall coverings and window transparencies; of paper, n.e.s. ($5M) and wallpaper and similar wall coverings; coated or covered on the face side, with a grained, embossed, coloued, design-printed or otherwise decorated layer of plastics ($4.8M).

U.S. Wallpaper Imports by Country

China (196 tons), the UK (134 tons) and Germany (69 tons) were the main suppliers of wallpaper imports to the United States, with a combined 77% share of total imports.

From January 2022 to July 2022, the biggest increases were in Germany (with a CAGR of +56.2%), while purchases for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the UK ($3.4M), China ($2.3M) and Japan ($884K) were the largest wallpaper suppliers to the United States, together accounting for 67% of total imports. South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 15%.

In terms of the main suppliers, the Netherlands, with a CAGR of +44.4%, recorded the highest growth rate of the value of imports, over the period under review, while purchases for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.



The Four Big Challenges of Exporting Successfully: Explained and Answered

While there are numerous challenges that companies in all business verticals face, there are four that dominate the export process. Manage these successfully and you’ll reduce export headaches and maximize the profitability and long-term sustainability of your export program.

The four areas are:

1. Choice of INCO Terms
2. Logistics
3. Import Clearance
4. Getting Paid

1. Choice of INCO Terms

INCO Terms are internationally recognized terms of sale between exporters and importers that go back over 65 years, managed by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France.

Incoterms provide a universal set of rules and guidelines that help facilitate trade. In essence, they provide a common language that traders use to set the terms of their trades. Buyers and sellers can use Incoterms in a variety of activities necessary to conduct business. Typical activities that call for the use of Incoterms include filling out a purchase order, labeling a shipment for transport, completing a certificate of origin, or documenting an import or export transaction.

There are 11 INCO Term options:

Incoterms Applying to Any Mode of Transport

The following Incoterm rules apply to any mode of transport:

  •  EXW – Ex Works (insert place of delivery)
  •  CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid To (insert place of destination)
  •  CPT – Carriage Paid to (insert place of destination)
  •  DAP – Delivered at Place (insert named place of destination)
  •  DPU – Delivered at Place Unloaded (insert place of destination)
  •  DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (insert place of destination)
  •  FCA – Free Carrier (Insert named place of delivery)

Incoterms Applying to Sea and Inland Waterway Transport

The following Incoterm rules apply to sea and inland waterway transport:

  • CFR – Cost and Freight (insert named port of destination)
  • CIF – Cost Insurance and Freight (insert named port of destination)
  • FAS – Free Alongside Ship (insert name of port of loading)
  • FOB – Free on Board (insert named port of loading)

It is important for exporters to learn all the options and in collaboration with their foreign buyer choose the best term that mirrors the intended transaction.

CAUTION: For exporters we do not recommend Ex Works or Delivered Duty Paid Inco Term options. We prefer FAS or any of the “Cxx” terms where better control can be maintained.

NOTE: E-commerce export sales usually require the use of the DDP Term, again for greater control.

2. Logistics

Exporting requires moving freight from origin to destination, crossing international borders, often over greater distances, and at times subject to potentially harsh and dangerous exposures.

We make the following recommendations in handling export logistics:

– Make sure that your personnel who will be handling this responsibility are well-trained. is a viable option for export training. Better informed staff will produce better outcomes.

– Make sure the packaging of your shipment will meet the demands of the journey.

– Establish a good working relationship with a capable and experienced freight forwarder. Their knowledge will be a great asset to your export supply chain performance.

– Since the beginning of the pandemic, logistics has become more expensive with greater delays. Allow sufficient time to meet customer delivery requirements and budget higher costs for transportation.

– Track and trace your shipments. Due diligence will assure that the goods arrive at the intended destination timely and responsibly.

– Pay attention to export trade compliance. Make sure you are checking the denied parties list, follow all export regulations and apply due diligence and reasonable care along with supervision and control in your export program.

The fines and penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

3. Import Clearance

Always keep in mind that the goods that you are selling will need to go through customs formalities in the country of destination.

This will mean:

– Adherence to the import regulations of the country you are selling to

– That includes packing, marking, labeling and documentation requirements

– Correct Harmonized Tariff Schedule Numbers

– Import permits and potentially other documentary requirements.

The use of a qualified freight forwarder together with collaboration with the buyer and informed personnel will all mitigate this challenge.

4. Getting Paid

If you do all three of the prior steps correctly yet do not get paid, it will all be for naught.

Getting your money paid upfront before shipping is always a good option but is likely not to be competitive. Offering terms is typically a better long-term strategy.

Due diligence to consider, when offering terms:

– Judiciously vet the companies you sell to

– Letters of credit can work, but are costly

– Payment drafts against documents can work but pose some risk

– Arranging for export credit risk can be a viable option, which comes at lower cost and can offer risk avoidance. At Blue Tiger International, we have a program available to companies that services exporters requiring receivable protection.


Exporting creates opportunity for all industries but also creates risk. Manage the risks through these four pillars of exporting and you will significantly reduce exposure, maximize profits, and create a robust long-term export program.

The Author

Thomas A. Cook Is a 30-year seasoned veteran of global trade and Managing Director of Blue Tiger International, based in New York, LA and West Palm Beach, Florida.

The author of 19 books on international business, two best business sellers. Graduate of NYS Maritime Academy with an undergraduate and graduate degree in marine transportation and business management.

Tom has a worldwide presence through over 300 agents in every major city along with an array of transportation providers and solutions.

Tom works with a number of Associations providing “value add” to their membership services and enhancing their overall reach into global sourcing and in export sales management.