Global Trade

Six Simple Steps to International Shipping

Getting Started

Why go global?

If you're thinking about going global, international trade can be very rewarding. The financial payoff can't be overlooked. The U.S. Small Business Administration found that companies engaged in international trade:

  • Are 20% more productive
  • Produce 20% greater job growth than non-exporters
  • Are 9% more likely to stay financially solvent

Exports are growing at two to three times faster than the economy as a whole. With two-thirds of the world's purchasing power located outside the U.S., exporting could help you expand from a U.S. market of 300 million to a global market of more than six billion.

Want to know more about importing, exporting or how to set up a shipping account? Below are some of the basics of international trade.

Establish a strategy

Whether importing or exporting, a good strategy is based on accurate information and proper assessment to increase your chances for success. Let UPS help you shape the import or export strategy that's right for your business.

Research potential markets

Whether importing or exporting, a good strategy is based on accurate information and proper assessment to increase your chances for success. Let UPS help you shape the import or export strategy that's right for your business.

Identify potential customers and suppliers

Developing key trade contacts and attending educational seminars are just a couple of excellent ways to obtain international buyers, distributors or representatives. UPS and the U.S. Commercial Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, have teamed up to help you connect with local experts and get started exporting.

Secure trade financing

Get your business financing squared away with UPS Capital®, designed specifically to address the financial needs of the supply chain. Our services, combined with the broad capabilities of UPS, can enhance operations as well as improve bottom-line results. UPS Capital offers a broad portfolio of financial products, including small business loans, C.O.D. (Collect on Delivery) services, credit cards and insurance.

Arrange international shipping

With UPS as your service provider, you'll have one of the most extensive transportation and logistics networks in the world to help you with your exporting and importing needs. Choose from an array of guaranteed door-to-door delivery options to and from 170 countries. UPS is also one of the world's largest customs brokers, simplifying customs processing and minimizing delays for millions of entries annually. Routine customs clearance is included with most UPS services. Full visibility of your international shipment is available with UPS, too.

Prepare trade documents

When trading internationally, it's important to follow compliance rules and regulations so that your packages seamlessly cross borders and customs. UPS offers automated systems that take you step-by-step through the process of complying with documentation requirements for both exporting and importing.

Start importing

Learn about UPS's import tools to help you comply with import regulations and identify applicable preferential programs and trade agreements. UPS TradeAbility and Quantum View® Manage can help you manage your imports and keep track of them along their delivery path. With UPS Import ControlSM importers can initiate shipments from another country and have the shipment delivered to their location or to a third party.

Start exporting

Most export shipments simply require that you completely describe what you are shipping on a commercial invoice. UPS TradeAbility® will guide you through the process of completing the necessary export documentation for your specific shipment.

UPS PaperlessSM Invoice

UPS is the first in the shipping industry to introduce UPS Paperless Invoice, an electronic commercial invoice for international shipments. UPS integrates and transmits order processing, shipment preparation and commercial invoice data to customs offices across the globe and minimizes the hassle of paperwork and the risk of error.

Post-sales activities

Provide returns service

Provide an excellent experience even when customers need to return products. UPS provides returns services to 98 countries and territories. And UPS Returns® can even be used when UPS did not complete the forward movement of the shipment.

Streamline billing

UPS can support your business with international billing options and important information like total charges for international shipping including freight, duties and taxes.

NOTE: In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by any third party site accessed from

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