Economic Development

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International Trade Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

15 of the questions DRC staff receive most frequently as related to international trade follow. If your question has not been answered, please consider contacting one of the resources outlined below or contact us at

What you should know before exporting or importing:

Exporting requires an understanding of the U.S. and destination countries’ laws and export regulations. These may be complex and the penalties may result in fines, disbarment from future exports or jail time. Please educate yourself and your company on the proper means of exporting and importing. Information may be found at:

The Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce oversees laws related to the licensing requirement of exports. Visit

Effective August 31, 2011 the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) will no longer certify Certificates of Origin or other international trade documentation.  Please see FAQ #12 for additional information.


  1. I would like to learn more about business opportunities in exporting.

    Congratulations on making the choice to expand your business overseas.  While global markets are increasingly accessible, it is important that you understand the laws and regulations that will impact you and your business in doing so.  The DRC recommends you contact the following government agencies or support entities to support your efforts to expand globally, and protect you and your business.

    a)    U.S. Commercial Service
    To learn more about how the U.S. Commercial Service helps U.S. Companies export, contact a U.S. Commercial Service office near you or call 1-800-USA-TRADE (872-8723) and visit or contact the North Texas office of the U.S. Export Assistance Center at 1450 Hughes Rd, # 220, Grapevine, TX 76051-7356 or (817) 310-3744.

    b)    Export-Import Bank of the U.S.
    Get free expert advice on export- import from professional resources. If you are a company that exports goods and or services, and you need assistance, information, or training, this website will be able to assist you with any questions.

    c)    The Small Business Development Center (ISBDC)
    The ISBDC conducts research, counsels and trains business people in managing, financing and operating small businesses, providing comprehensive information services and access to experts in a variety of fields.

    d)    Trade Agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area:
    e)    Trade Agreements  -

  2. Which trade agreements are available to my U.S.-based company?
    Visit to view a current list and details of the existing trade agreements to see if your company’s products apply.  Or contact the U.S. Commercial Service.

  3. I would like to export to the Middle East and need to know if there are trade agreements with the region.
    For more information about exporting to the Middle East region please refer to the following link

  4. I would like to buy/import products sourced from overseas.

    Like the U.S. Commercial Service, governments from around the world have established offices in the United States to support businesses seeking to buy their products. Contact the country’s trade office or local Consulate. A short list of online resources include:

    a)    Latin America trade organizations:
    b)    Asian trade organizations:
    c)    European Union

    d)    For information on political affairs that may impact your ability to do business overseas, please contact:
  5. I am an investor. Do you have any contact or network for good project/product to invest in?

    a)    The EB-5 Investment Visa Program is the immigrant visa category for foreign entrepreneurs and investors.  Through the EB-5 program, a foreign national can obtain lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the United States for himself / herself, a spouse and unmarried children under age 21, in return for making a qualified investment in a U.S. enterprise. For more information, please visit the following website:

    b)    Trade Agencies in Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area:

  6. I would like to find investors for my project/product

    Please contact your local government international commercial service arm.  The Dallas Regional Chamber is unable to support your new investor search.

  7. I am a company that would like to sell my product in the U.S.
    Please contact your local government international commercial service arm.  The Dallas Regional Chamber is unable to support your new client search.

  8. I would like DFW marketing materials and/or information for my business trip or a delegation visit to the Dallas region.

    a)    Please visit and follow the tab for “About the Area”:

    b)    For trade data between DFW  and United States please consult the Dallas Regional Chamber - Research and Information Department:

    c)    For a list of international companies in DFW area please refer to the Dallas Regional Chamber- Research and Information Department:

    d)    List of companies in DFW of a specific sector please refer to the Dallas Regional Chamber- Research and Information Department:

    e)    Tourist information in Dallas: or

  9. I would like to access the Consular Corps directory.

    The World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth maintains a directory of the Consular offices located in North Texas, most commonly known as the DFW Consular Corps. Please find the directory at:

  10. I am seeking a service or product referral in the Dallas region.

    Please visit the Dallas Regional Chamber’s membership directory

  11. I would like to promote my international event on your website:

    This service is available to members only.  Please log-in to the member’s only service at

  12. I would like a Certificate of Origin to ship a product that my company manufactures in the U.S.

    Effective August 31, 2011 the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) will no longer certify Certificates of Origin or other international trade documentation.

    As of August 1, 2011 the following North Texas Chambers of Commerce offer certificate of origin services.  Please contact the chamber to confirm they still offer the service and their terms and guidelines.

Allen Chamber of Commerce
Grapevine Chamber of Commerce
Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Greater Irving/Las Colinas Chamber
Coppell Chamber of Commerce
Lancaster Chamber of commerce
Denton Chamber of Commerce    
Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce
DeSoto Chamber of Commerce   
MetroCrest Chamber of Commerce (Addison/Carrolton)
Duncanville Chamber of Commerce
McKinney Chamber of Commerce
Fort Worth Chamber
North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
Garland Chamber of Commerce
Plano Chamber of Commerce
Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce   
Richardson Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1-800-638-6582 or 202-659-6000

a)    About Certificates of Origin - The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) defines a Certificate of Origin as the following: “A Certificate of Origin is a document which identifies the origin of goods being exported. It is required by customs as one of the key bases for applying tariff rates. Most chambers of commerce and some trade associations have been authorized by their Customs agencies to certify non-preferential, and in some cases, preferential certificates of origin. Thus, a chambers’ role in the issuance and attestation of Certificates of Origin is both unique and vital in facilitating international trade.”

For a downloadable Certificate of Origin and sample with explanation, please visit:

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) World Chambers Federation publishes Certificate of Origin guidelines (found at or  The ICC CO Guidelines document outlines the following: International Certificate of Origin Guidelines is the result of 18 months’ work by Federation, incorporating the best practice from several national chambers and organizations to produce the first international procedures and guidelines manual for chambers in the issuance of non-preferential certificates of origin. By: ICC World Chambers Federation, Publication Date: 2006, Number of Pages: 59, Contents: 

  • Use/purpose of certificates of origin
  • Definitions and language
  • The role of chambers
  • Authority of the chambers of Commerce
  • Place of issue
  • Printing and distribution of forms
  • Price and issuing fees
  • How certificates are issued?
  • Determination and verification of origin
  • Supporting Documents
  • Concessions and prohibitions
  • Training requirements
  • Changes or problems with certificates of origin
  • Supplement for CEO's
  • Printable sample letters and forms
 b)    Typically, an entity that certifies Certificates of Origin
(usually a chamber of commerce) will require the following guidelines be met:

  • Company will most likely be required to be a member in good standing of your Chamber of Commerce. COO requests must first pass through a background research approval process prior to certification and membership approval.

  • All products included on the invoice to be certified must be manufactured in the United States. Products imported from abroad and then re-exported from the U.S. do not qualify.  Occasionally, certifying entities will be able to provide this service. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and the U.S. Council for International Business are your best resources for finding a resource for this service.

  • Before agreeing to provide a Certificate of Origin, a chamber of commerce will likely need to complete a background check on your company and product – process may take up to 10 days.

  • The document(s) must first be signed by a designated company employee of the exporting firm and notarized prior to receiving a Certification from a Chamber. Some chambers offer a Notary Public on staff. Company must coordinate with the Notary Public’s schedule.

  • It is highly encouraged you confirm whether the chamber of commerce offers this service, and that you make an appointment prior to visiting their offices as the process may be lengthy.

  • Most chambers of commerce charge a service fee for the certification.  A Certification typically includes (1) stamp and (1) seal. Additional copies of the certificates that require original stamps and seals are typically extra.

  • A Chamber only attests to the documents as they are presented – it is not attesting to the validity of the claim that the goods are made in the U.S. The company retains full liability.

  • Furthermore, the signing chamber of commerce will not be held liable if the U.S. Company does not present all of the appropriate documentation needed for international importation or exportation, or any other reason that may result in the company’s shipment being held at foreign customs.

13)    I would like a Certificate of Origin to ship products overseas, but our company imports products from overseas that we do not manufacture OR that we manufacture outside of the U.S. We are trying to export these products to other countries outside the U.S. and require a Certificate of Origin. How do I get the Certificate of Origin certified?

    Please visit the following website for further information about Certificates of Origin. or contact the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,

    14)    I am looking for trade documentation that is NOT a certificate of origin. 

    What you should know about international trade documentation certification and who to contact:
    • NAFTA Certificates of OriginThis certification is for trade within the definitions of the North American Free Trade Agreement only. This is a self-certification. Please see the following link for details on filling out the form and compliance:; For training, please visit:

    • Legalization If your buyer, shipper or other overseas liaison has asked you to provide legalization or “to legalize” a document, this will involve a different process.  Please see the website of the U.S. Embassy for the county in question. If your company is located in North Texas, please contact the North Texas office of the U.S. Export Assistance Center at 1450 Hughes Rd, # 220, Grapevine, TX 76051-7356 or (817) 310-3744.
      Please contact the U.S. Department of State or visit the following link for details:
    • Consular legalization
      The requirement by some foreign countries that commercial documents such as the invoice, certificate of origin, etc., be certified in the country of export by a consulate of the importing country as proof of the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment.
    • Authentication
      If your buyer, shipper or other overseas liaison has asked you to provide authentication or “to authenticate” a document this will involve a different process.  Please see the website of the U.S. Embassy for the county in question.
      If your company is located in North Texas, please contact the North Texas office of the U.S. Export Assistance Center at 1450 Hughes Rd, # 220, Grapevine, TX 76051-7356 or (817) 310-3744.
    • Country or Trading Bloc Specific Certificates of Origin
      Some specialized certificates of origin require certification through entities other than the DRC. For other Certificate of Origin e.g. (Israel) and others, please visit:

      The majority of Certificates of Origin destined for the Middle East should be handled by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce:

      Once again, if your company is located in North Texas, you may contact the North Texas office of the U.S. Export Assistance Center at 1450 Hughes Rd, # 220, Grapevine, TX 76051-7356 or (817) 310-3744.

    15)    I would like to find import and export training in the Dallas region.

    This list is not comprehensive. If you would like to add your organization’s information, please submit your request to

    a)    International Trade Center SBDC
    The International Trade Center SBDC is a joint program of the Small Business Administration and the Dallas County Community Colleges system. We have focused on serving the international trade needs of companies in the DFW region and the 49 surrounding counties since 1989. We are also known as the International Small Business Development Center and are one of 18 centers that make up the North Texas Small Business Development Center network. We are firmly committed to ensuring the international business success of our clients in this region, including entrepreneurs, small to medium-sized businesses, and the international decision makers of multinational corporations. The ITC celebrates its successes in assisting hundreds of these clients reporting export sales totaling over $48 million, in 287 free one-on-one counseling sessions and more than 40 training sessions in the fiscal year ended September 2007, alone.

    b)    North Texas Export Assistance Center a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Small Business
    U.S. Export Assistance Centers located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States, are one-stop shops ready to provide your small- or medium-sized business with local export assistance. Receive personalized assistance by professionals from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and other public and private organizations.

    c)    Export/ Import Bank of the United
    Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent federal government agency helps to create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sales of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans.

    d)    U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Commercial or
    The U.S. Department of Commerce has a broad mandate to advance economic growth and jobs and opportunities for the American people. It has cross cutting responsibilities in the areas of trade, technology, entrepreneurship, economic development, environmental stewardship and statistical research and analysis. The products and services the department provides touch the lives of Americans and American companies in many ways, including weather forecasts, the decennial census, and patent and trademark protection for inventors and businesses.

    e)    U.S. Small Business Administration –
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. We recognize that small business is critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America's future, and to helping the United States compete in today's global marketplace.

    The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam.