Market Access: The ability of US providers of goods and services to penetrate a foreign market. The extent to which the foreign market is accessible generally depends on the existence and extent of trade barriers.
Market Economy: The national economy of a country that relies on market forces to determine levels of production, consumption, investment and savings without substantial government intervention.
MT (Mail Transfer): This is a bank transfer made by mail, especially airmail, as opposed to a telegraphic or cable transfer.
Multilateral Development Bank (MDB): These are institutions created by a group of countries to provide development-related financing and professional advising. Unlike commercial banks, MDBs (such as the World Bank) do not seek to maximize profits for their shareholders, but prioritize development goals such as ending extreme poverty and reducing economic inequality. They often lend at low or no interest or provide grants to fund projects in infrastructure, energy, education and other areas that promote development. MDBs are subject to international law.
NAFTA Certificate of Origin: This is a document used by NAFTA signatories (i.e. Canada, Mexico, and the United States) to certify that the goods being shipped were produced in North America, so they may receive reduced or eliminated duty in these countries. The same or a similar document will be required under the new USMCA Agreement, which is replacing NAFTA.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): The former trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico featuring duty-free entry and other benefits for goods that qualify. In late 2018, NAFTA was replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which is basically an updated version of NAFTA.
OFAC Regulations: The Office of Foreign Assets Control (or “OFAC”) oversees all US boycotts, sanctions and embargos. Sanctions are not always across-the-board, and they may be limited to just specific goods. For example, food and medicine can sometimes be shipped to sanctioned countries. (www.treasury.gov/ofac)
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR): This is the U.S. government agency responsible for negotiating trade agreements.
Origin: This means the location where a shipment’s transit begins with a pick-up scan. (The term may also be used by customs authorities to mean the country where the product was produced.)
Phytosanitary Certificate: A certificate issued by a government agency (for exports the USDA) to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries. The certificate indicates that a shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.
Piggyback Export Marketing: An arrangement whereby one US manufacturer distributes a second US company’s product or service overseas. The most common arrangement is where the exporting company has an overseas contract to supply a wide range of products or services (e.g., medical supplies). If this company does not produce all of the required goods, it must purchase some of them from other U.S. suppliers.
Primary Market Research: The collection of data directly from a foreign marketplace through interviews, surveys, and other direct contact with representatives and potential buyers. Primary market research is especially useful, since it can be tailored to your company’s specific needs, but it can also be time consuming and expensive. For this reason, US exporters contract for the work to be done by the US Commercial Service, through its overseas posts in more than 75 countries.
Pro-forma Invoice: The name of this document is misleading, because pro-formas are actually invoices, but price quotations that include the cost of the goods, plus all other costs borne by the exporter (e.g., shipping, insurance, payment terms, etc.). Because they provide so much information one the shipment, pro-formas are often the central document from which the other shipping documents are generated.
Prohibited Commodities: These are products for which shipment is prohibited by law, regulation, or statute of any federal, state or local government, or by any country through which the shipment may be carried.
These links updated: 4/23/18. This website has been funded in part by the U.S. Commercial Service. Copyright (c) All Rights Reserved by the District Export Council of Georgia. Image: shutterstock_1069133606.