All information on the organic market and the country
Organic is an important part of the diverse U.S. agricultural landscape as you can see in the recent OTA State of the Industry.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) represents over 7,000 farmers, ranchers, handlers, processors, distributors, and retailers across the organic supply chain.
Organic labeling and import guidelines
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) does have strict labeling regulations as well as guidelines for importing organic products to the U.S., which you will find below.
Language: American English
Religion: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jewish
Time difference: Central Europe (MET): -6h (summer time) -5h (winter time)
Currency: US Dollar (USD)
Emergency call: police / rescue / fire: 911
Electric power supply: 120 V 60 Hz; Electrical Output Type A / Type B
Before leaving please inform yourself about the embassy and the contact details in the USA. Take this information with you on the trip.
Passport: is required and has to be valid for at least 6 further months.
Visa: If visa is required, please contact your closest U.S. visa-issuing post for an interview as part of the application process. International travellers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are now subject to enhanced security requirements. All eligible travellers who wish to travel under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization at least 72 hours before the start of the journey.
Entry requirements: After September 11, 2001 the USA enacted new security measures and entry regulations. You will find further information on the website of the Department of Homeland Security.
Customs: There are special tariff regulations concerning the import of food, animals, gifts, souvenirs, etc. If you know in advance, what kind of goods or products you would like to take abroad, it is recommendable to contact the American embassy and to ask for the particular regulations.
Recommendation for inoculation: Protection against tetanus, hepatitis B, and diphtheria, etc. is recommended. You will find further current information about the different regions, seasons, maps and health care regulations on the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Medical treatment is expensive and has to be paid in advance or paid on venue. Only emergency cases are treated without prior payment and treatment may be refused without evidence of insurance or a deposit. All receipts must be kept for making a claim.
Travel health insurance: It is recommended to contract a travel health insurance in your home country as well as to have a mortgageable credit card. In most of cases of sickness it is less expensive (if medically possible) to fly back to your home country and to get treatment there.
Credit cards: Almost all credit cards are accepted. It is possible to withdraw cash with your credit card (with the associated PIN) at many ATMs. It is also possible to withdraw money with your EC / Maestro card, which is less expensive than with your credit card. Please ask your bank for further information.
Taxes: In most states you can find a „sales tax“ which is different from state to state, on average it is about 4 to 7 %. This „sales tax“ is not stated on the price tag but added at the cash point. Sometimes the hotel levies an accommodation tax.
It’s common to shake a person’s hand when greeting them and using their first name to address them unless otherwise suggested. (e.g. “Hello Jim, it’s good to meet you, my name is Sarah.” )
A general rule of thumb in the US is to remember that Americans do business with people. In other words, build rapport and get to know the person first. Be mindful, politics and religion are not a wise choice for a conversation. Your cultural differences can often be used to develop a sort of “bond” between the two of you. (Don’t be too personal.) Use small talk to lead the conversation toward what you really want to talk about- business. Keep in mind that time is money so don’t waste too much of their time talking. Always exchange business cards and be sure to follow up after the show.
When visiting a trade show the common dress code is often “business casual” in other words, no need to be too formal. Dress slacks and a nice shirt will be fine. If you would like to bring small gifts to hand out after important meetings, nice pens with your company’s logo on them are often greatly appreciated. This will also help the client remember your company.
"Wait to be seated": Do not jump at the first free table but wait until the waiter or waitress comes to show you to one of the tables.
Food and beverages: A "refill" of non-alcoholic beverages is usually free (except if they are served in cans). Drinking alcohol or smoking at public places are frowned upon, at many places it is even restricted. The obvious carrying of alcoholic beverages is illegal. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed for people under the age of 21.
Bill: The bill arrives at your desk without asking for it. A long stay in a restaurant is rather uncommon. The one who invites is also the one who pays the bill. In case the person who invited you is not the „host“ you will take care of the payment.
Tip: Please give generous tips since the restaurant staff only has a very low basic salary and therefore relies on tips. At restaurants in towns with a high number of tourists the service is included; this is often mentioned on the bill, sometimes hand-written, as "15 % service included". If not stated, give an appropriate amount yourself. Even though the tip is a voluntary gesture it is actually the waiter’s or waitress’s wage. Be generous! As a rough guide: double the tax.
Time management: A delay in the USA is seen not as bad for example. But as soon as you sit down at the table to start the business talk the rule applies “time is money”. Negotiations to be very quickly and contracting at the first meeting is not an exception.