American Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AmChams)
Voluntary associations of U.S. companies doing business in a specific country, as well as firms of that country who operate in the U.S. There are 115 AmChams around the world that are affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. An association of 21 Pacific Rim countries dedicated to the trade, cooperation, and economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region. APEC member economies together account for 40 percent of world population, 44 percent of global trade, and 53 percent of world real GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. An association of 10 countries that work to promote cultural, economic, and political development in the Southeast Asian region, as well as regional stability.
Bunker Adjustment Factor. An additional fee imposed on shippers to account for fluctuations in price of a ship’s fuel. Also known as a bunker surcharge.
Bureau of Industry and Security. An agency in the United States Department of Commerce that works to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system.
In economics, BRIC refers to an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.
A shipping term describing cargo that cannot be loaded in intermodal containers or in bulk, but must be loaded individually piece by piece.
Certificate of Origin
A certified document declaring where a good or commodity was manufactured. This document is often required before a product can enter another country.
Commercial Invoice
A document required by customs to determine the value of an imported good. It contains information including a full description of the goods, delivery, and payment terms.
Comparative advantage
An economic term meaning the ability of a person, company, or country to produce a particular good or service more efficiently, or at a lower opportunity cost, than its competitor.
Currency Adjustment Factor
An added charge to freight bills that helps to offset the imbalance of fluctuating currency exchange rates.
Customs broker
A person or company who is licensed by a country’s customs office to assist importers and exporters in clearing goods or merchandise through customs.
Customs Union
A trade bloc where customs restrictions on exchanged goods and services are removed between members and there is a common tariff policy toward nonmember nations.
EB-5 Visa Program
This program was established in 1990 and is administered by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The program provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest a specified amount of money in an at-risk investment, create jobs and fulfill additional requirements in the United States.
European Union
An economic and political union of 27 European countries, created in 1958 with the goal of establishing peace through economic interdependence. Led to the creation of a single market, which enables most goods, services, money and people between member states to move freely.
A good or service that is sent abroad for sale or sold to a person from abroad.
Export broker
See Customs broker
Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)
The ExIm Bank helps finance the export of U.S. goods and services to international customers. The Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S. Government.
Export License
A document that grants permission to export a specified good to a specified country or countries.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
An investment made by a company or entity based in one country into a company or entity based in another country.
Foreign Trade Zone
A geographical area considered legally outside of the U.S. Customs territory. FTZs give importers and exporters a flexible way to ship, store and add value to goods while delaying, reducing or eliminating payment of U.S. Customs duties.
Free Trade
A policy allowing the unrestricted purchase and sale of goods and services between countries without the constraints of things like tariffs, duties and quotas.
Free Trade Area
A group of countries that formally agree to remove trade barriers, such as tariffs or quotas, between each other.
International Air Transport Association. An international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Canada. It represents and serves the airline industry and 240 airlines are members.
International Chamber of Commerce. A global business organization that works to strengthen commercial ties among nations by promoting trade, investment, open markets, and the free flow of capital.
A good or service brought into a country from abroad for sale.
Import quota
A limit to the quantity of a foreign good that can be imported and sold in a country’s domestic market. This is a tool to protect domestic industries from foreign competition.
Innovation Partnership Zone
A unique economic development effort that partners research, workforce training, and private sector participation in close geographic proximity to promote collaboration in a research based effort that will lead to new technologies, marketable products, company formation, and job creation.
An economic and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.
Most-favored nation. A status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another, enforced by the [World Trade Organization]. A country grants this to another if it is interested in increasing trade with that country. Countries who have this status receive trade advantages like reduced tariffs on imported goods.
Memorandum of Understanding. A document describing an agreement or mutual objective between two or more parties. Many companies and government agencies use MOU’s to define a relationship with their counterparts. It is often called a letter of intent.
Multinational enterprise
A corporation that manages production and/or has facilities and other assets in more than one country.
North American Free Trade Agreement. A free-trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States that was established on January 1, 1994. The agreement removed most of the barriers to trade between the three countries, creating the largest trade bloc in the world.
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis, and brings private U.S. capital to international projects.
A term for a cargo ship that is designed for vehicle transportation, in that the vehicles can be directly driven onto and off of the ship.
A tax or a duty levied by governments on imports and exports. Tariffs can be used to protect domestic industries from foreign competition, by raising the price of imported goods.
Twenty-foot equivalent unit. A term used to describe the capacity of a container ship or container terminal. One TEU represents the cargo capacity of a standard intermodal container, which is twenty feet long.
Trade Bloc
An intergovernmental agreement where barriers to trade are removed or eliminated between participating states.
Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The TPP is a multi-national trade agreement that is currently being pursued by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
A term referring to the act of shipping goods to an intermediate destination before moving on to its final destination. Puget Sound Ports often serves as a transshipment center for goods arriving from Asia and heading to other parts of the country.
Union of South American Nations
An intergovernmental union in South America, modeled after the European Union, that integrates two existing customs unions. All of the South American countries are members. The intent is to create a supranational union with a common currency, parliament, and passport.
US Chamber of Commerce
A business federation representing companies, industry associations, state and local chambers in the U.S. and American Chambers of Commerce abroad. The entity represents over 3 million U.S. businesses.
United States International Trade Commission. An independent, bipartisan, quasi-judicial, federal agency of the United States that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government. It also assesses the impacts of imports and fights against unfair trade practices.
World Bank
An international financial institution that provides economic aid and advice to developing countries. Its goal is to eradicate poverty by promoting international trade, foreign investment, and facilitating capital investment.
World Trade Organization. An international organization that supervises and encourages international trade amongst its 157 member states. Established in 1995, it also helps create global trade agreements and resolves disputes.

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