A recent program rolled out by the United States Department of State permits US small business owners to directly connect with American Ambassadors to discuss available in-country business opportunities. The program is called Direct Line and features US consular officers as well as local government officials available for conference calls and webcasts at predetermined dates and times. To learn more about the Direct Line program visit the data sheet webpage. You may also want to check out the US State Department’s Business Information Database System (BIDS), which is a newly developed website for small business international commercial opportunities. Interested in a particular country to find small business opportunities, then go to any US Embassy or Consulate webpage and click on the business tab (e.g. US Embassy London, England). The business webpages contain useful links to items such as exporting to the country (e.g. Exporting to the UK) as well as contact information and trade show data. Also, your small business might want to peruse the Investment Climate Statements issued by the US Department of State for concise analysis of economic and political in-country factors (e.g. United Kingdom Investment Climate Statement). www.erskine-law.com
If your small business is importing goods into the United States check out the US Customs and Broader Protection’s Reasonable Care Checklist to help meet your regulatory burden of ensuring reasonable care is exercised when importing merchandise. Also, your small business should look at US Customs and Boarder Protections’s Informed Compliance Publications, which detail a number of areas related to import of merchandise and discuss issues concerning specific goods. Some noteworthy Informed Compliance Publications are: Entry (describing getting your small business goods into the US); ABC’s of Prior Disclosure; Customs Value; and Recordkeeping. www.erskine-law.com
The U.S. Census Bureau has a series of webinars on foreign trade relations (exporting) covering a variety of topics ranging from introduction to exporting to updates on recent regulatory initiatives on www.census.gov. The Bureau also runs virtual town halls on export issues, the next one is November 5. The Go Global series details governmental resources available to small businesses, including trade data and trade finance. The site is a good source for information related to exporting and collects resources from several government sites concerning international business transactions applicable to small businesses. www.erskine-law.com
The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest federal disaster loans to New York residents and businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Check out the SBA’s website.
According to the SBA there are three ways to apply.
1. Apply in person at any Disaster Recovery Center or Business Recovery Center. SBA disaster representatives are at these centers to meet individually with New York residents and business owners, explain how an SBA low-interest disaster loan can help pay for their disaster losses, answer questions, and help each individual complete their application.
2. Apply online using SBA’s secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela (available at most centers)
3. Apply by mailing your application to SBA at 14925 Kingsport Rd., Ft. Worth, TX 76155-2243