• QA 171
    What regulations apply to Brazilian coffee imported into the USA?
    What are the requirements to sell coffee from Brazil in the USA?
    Asked by:
    Importer - USA

    US green coffee import regulations do not differentiate between origin countries. Subject to the coffee meeting Food and Drug Administration quality standards (seewww.fda.gov) there are no restrictions or duties on green coffee imports.

    Under current regulations all that importers are required to provide are an invoice and a valid Bill of Lading, i.e. you do not need an import licence*. But, you should note that imports into the US are only allowed from suppliers who have registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under C-TPAT.  This is the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism that is further discussed in topic 05.04.01 of the Coffee Guide. You can also find full details and a helpful C-TPAT checklist on the website of the National Coffee Association of the US - www.ncausa.org.

    US importers usually employ the services of Customs Brokers to clear incoming goods, including mandatory inspection by the FDA, and to pay customs clearing fees and various port and handling charges.

    Importation of roasted coffee falls in a different customs category and is regulated more closely. US Customs and the FDA require very detailed and absolutely accurate descriptions of the ingredients contained in each package, the weight, the type of packaging, and details of the lining  (plastic or foil for example) that is in contact with the actual coffee.  It is advisable to incorporate precise instructions in this respect into the purchase contract, for example by way of an annex.

    * For some years now the US Government has not required importers to submit International Coffee Organization (ICO) Certificates of Origin - perhaps this may change because the US rejoined the ICO in 2006.

    Posted 26 November 2007

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