Spain is widely renowned for its historic cities, rustic landscapes, and most importantly, its delectable cuisine: Manchego cheese, Turron, Gordal olives, croquettes…. Not everyone can travel to Spain but luckily for people who crave Spanish food and drink, there are plenty of imported products that bring these authentic flavors to one’s home.
Fortunately for Spanish food enthusiasts who are turned off by inflated prices of imported Spanish food at their local markets, importing small amounts of food products yourself directly from Spain can be less expensive than purchasing from your local specialty store. Be forewarned; the process of importing food products from Spain can be confusing and requires attention to detail. Rest assured though, after reading this guide, you will be well on your way to enjoying your personal culinary journey of Spain.
Muy Deliciosa – Spanish Food and Beverage Exports
Some of Spain’s more significant exports are products from its agribusinesses which account for at least 15% of the country’s exported products. It is no wonder as Spain is gifted with arable land that allows the country to produce some of the world’s most robust and flavorful wines in addition to olive oils, fresh fruit, vegetables and meat products. In fact, Spanish exports have continuously risen in recent years not only in trade within the European Union, but outside the EU.
The United States is one of Spain’s top importers, accounting for nearly 4.5% of the country’s export revenue which is estimated to be around $8.7 billion annually. Given the amount of trade between the two nations, diplomatic ties between the two countries are quite strong, resulting in mutually favorable trade conditions.
Spain is highly regarded for its top exports like olive oil which accounts for $3.2 billion of trade annually. Olive oil is commonly used in cooking, frying foods, and salad dressings, and is highly valued for its smooth taste along with its reported health benefits.
Another commonly exported product is Spanish wine which is highly regarded among world-famous sommeliers like Lucas Paya. According to Paya “…data shows that Spanish wine imports in the US have risen nearly 50%….” The number of these imports is only to increase with the heightened awareness of Spanish wines.
Another top export from Spain are meat products which account for $9.8 billion annually. One Spanish meat product coveted around the world is Iberico ham, a smooth and rich dry-cured ham made from black Iberian pigs.
How Does Importing Food to the United States Work?
Are you craving Pallela and Spanish sidra? Let’s start importing! Understanding the US American import process may initially seem daunting, but once you become familiar with its key steps, the process will become routine. Generally speaking, importing food and drink from other countries involves planning, clear communication, and an understanding of paperwork that will help you navigate the countries’ bureaucracy. Correctly completing and submitting paperwork are necessities to fulfill requirements from multiple local and federal government authorities as well as paying duties and tariffs. However, with the right preparation, all of these steps can be easily achieved.
The Role of the Importer
The United States places most of the importing responsibility on the importer. This means that you, as the importer, must comply with all the requirements needed such as filing and submitting necessary documents at the port of entry of the imported goods. This also includes you needing to pay necessary import duties and taxes for clearance of entry to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).
To help you with understanding your new role as the importer, the following are the main processes and important points to remember to successfully import items into the United States.
Import Duties and Tariffs
Importers need to pay an import duty which is an entry tax for products imported into the United States. The amount of import duty may differ between products as duties are based on the item’s value. The main purposes of the import duty are to raise state and federal revenue and to ensure that imported products from overseas countries do not undercut the prices of locally produced products. Additionally, import duties are used to control the inflow of foreign products and encourage American consumers to purchase locally-made products. The United States also uses import duties to sanction other countries as means of discouraging local consumers from buying the sanctioned country’s products.
The United States International Trade Commission has an easily accessible database of tariffs that is designed to help importers compute any required tariffs for a specific item. The estimated tariffs are based on information provided. It is highly recommended to provide as accurate information as possible to reduce errors in the estimate.
It is important to note that the monetary value of the imported product can have a significant effect on the import process. For importers who import products with an estimated monetary value less than $2,500, they can use Informal Entry. Informal Entry provides a great opportunity for importers as the process is quite easy and does not require an entry bond. However, certain items like food and beverage, will still need to meet other requirements from other federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration which also has its own import conditions and may also require a customs bond.
Another advantage of importing products valued less than $2,500 is that they can be shipped through the United States Postal Service. This means that you do not need to arrange clearance at the point of entry, but instead only need to pay the postal handling fee and any applicable duties- both of which can be handled at the local postal office.
FDA Prior Notices
Prior notice is one of the most important documents needed for importing food and drink. Prior notices are required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the legal entry of the imported food and beverage into the United States. Prior notice provides advanced notice of imported food and beverages, allowing government agencies to efficiently and effectively screen and inspect incoming shipments. The purpose of this process is to prevent bioterrorism and help protect the food supply chain from public health dangers. Prior notice also applies to products containing alcohol. The United States government highly encourages importers to provide accurate shipping information and the timely submission of this document to reduce customs delays.
An Importing Obstacle with an Easy Solution
Importing products can be a challenge, especially if you are importing products from an overseas supplier where language barriers, culture differences, and time zone differences exist. It can be difficult to coordinate and communicate which can lead to mistakes that can cause delays in a shipment.
Fortunately, there are online solutions that overcome these obstacles like PriorNotify from RudiCoder. PriorNotify helps importers navigate the layers of bureaucratic complexities needed to successfully submit a prior notice. The application also acts as a communications platform that helps users correctly complete a prior notice and translate communications. The platform also provides real-time updates and notifications regarding the progress of the shipment.
Spanish cuisine is one of the most popular flavors for Americans when looking to experience foreign flavors. This is one reason why the demand for imported Spanish food and drink has risen year over year. The rich Spanish soil, favorable weather and robust neighboring seas produce delicious culinary delights. While importing these Spanish treats can at first be a challenge, with the right knowledge and careful preparation, importing can become a source of great personal and professional satisfaction.