Exporting Food From Thailand to USA (Import / Export Workshop) with Jengis Gonzalez

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Logistics, Podcast0 Comments

In this episode of the Global From Asia podcast, join host Michael Michelini and guest speaker Jengis Gonzalez as they delve into the intricacies of importing and exporting food products between Thailand and the United States. From administrative tasks like obtaining DUNS numbers to navigating FDA regulations and labeling requirements, this insightful discussion offers practical guidance for entrepreneurs and businesses venturing into the international food trade. Whether you’re a seasoned importer/exporter or a newcomer to the industry, tune in to gain actionable advice and stay ahead in the competitive marketplace.

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Administrative Basics

    Obtaining DUNS and FDA Registrations

  • Ensuring Compliance

    Understanding FCE and SID Requirements

  • Labeling Compliance

    Navigating FDA and Nutrition Labeling Regulations

  • Paperwork Procedures

    Streamlining Filing Processes

  • Strategic Sourcing

    Tips for Successful Procurement and Supply Chain Management

  • Conclusion

    Recap and Addressing Questions in the Global Food Trade

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Jengis’ VIP Page
Go Terrestrial
Workshop Slides
√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury – for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss

Episode Length 52:21

Thank you Jengis for being on the show, and thank you everybody for listening in.

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] How’s everyone doing? Welcome to episode 429 of Global from Asia Podcast. Today we’re gonna talk about food import and export in Thailand to the U ussa. Let’s tune in. Welcome to the Global from Asia Podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice.

And now your host, Michael Michel. Hello guys again. This is a new face here. And again, my name is Yasha and [00:00:30] I’m here with Mike with me. How are you, Mike? I’m good. I’m good. It’s great to have you. It’s exciting. Your first time on show, how you, you feeling all right? I’m feeling okay. I’m feeling like I, I’m definitely feeling good right now and I’m just, I’m just grateful that you have me here right now.

Yeah, I’m, we, there’s lots of plans. I think maybe in the future shows we can share some of the plans that we have with your help. But if we, and we’ll also talk about it in the, in the outro. So after the interview, maybe we can [00:01:00] share some of our ideas of how you can help our show and the community. So then those interested definitely tune in after the show interview today, like you said, in the in, in the preview, we have food export from Thailand Jengas Gonzalez.

This is the expert on logistics. He’s an American born Thai expert, so we have a long presentation today and we’re talking about food export. Everybody likes food, right? Yeah, that including me. Yeah, of course. Yes. We’ll [00:01:30] talk about some favorite foods after. After too. We can hear some of your food. Favorite food, my favorite food, but definitely we’ll get into that.

But let’s tune into the show real quick. Also, we have slides. This one was a, a really a comprehensive discussion, and he has a PowerPoint, so if people wanna get that, go on to the show notes@globalfromasia.com slash. Tie food. Dash exports. Alright, SHA, let’s, let’s do, let’s go into the interview and then we’ll talk after.

Okay, let’s [00:02:00] go. Are you looking for USA banking solutions for your e-commerce business? I am proud to say mercury.com is supporting the podcast here, third year in a row at Global from Asia. And we’re proud to say it ’cause we use ’em ourselves for many of our own Amazon brands, e-commerce brands and joint ventures with our US structures.

And they’re super easy to do online application, no fees, and they have great customer support. Have helped us with trouble with Amazon Seller Central over the years about some receipts and. Statements and everything like that. So we’re [00:02:30] so happy to say thank you, mercury, for supporting our show, being a great service and supporting other e-commerce sellers.

We’re really proud to say they’re a sponsor here. And we also have a video tutorial as well as an overview and a special link with a little bonus for you as well for us under certain conditions. Check it out@globalfromasia.com slash mercury for that information. Thank you for listening and thank you Mercury.

Yeah. So today we’re gonna be talking about sending food. From Thailand specifically into the [00:03:00] us we focus on the US is because that’s where we ship all our goods, but the process is probably going to be about 90% the same for other countries. ’cause there’s still a paperwork trail that you have to leave behind.

So before we start quick introduction. My name is Jengas Gonzalez. I’ve been living here in Chiang Mai for about seven or eight years prior to moving out here. I actually worked in Amazon in one of the fulfillment centers. Under their operations department. So it kind of gave me an insight onto, what to do to ship into the Amazon.

And since then, we’ve branched out. Once we moved here we branched [00:03:30] out. We we’re now manufacturing ceramic tableware, so plates, bowls, things like that. And then of course we do logistics. We ship a lot. So just about anything that’s produced in Thailand for consumers we’ve shipped, whether it’s , furniture or food stuffs as you can see here home decor clothing.

So yeah, so we can, we can get it over. We have a warehouse in Los Angeles and we have one out here in Chiang Mai as well. So it makes the transition pretty seamless. Okay. So today we’re gonna talk about getting food from Thailand into the us. Let me [00:04:00] run you through the agenda really quickly.

I’m hoping that this will only take about 40 minutes or so, 45 minutes since it’s such a small crew today. Feel free to stop me at any time, ask some questions, and if we go down a rabbit hole, we can go down a rabbit hole. And then Mike, just feel free to tell me, Hey, time or speed it up or, or whatever.

I’m, I’m happy with that. So we’re gonna be talking a little bit about admin stuff, which is your dones number and how to get an FDA registration. That, so that’s like your, pretty much your first step. And then for those of you that are sending more [00:04:30] complicated foods your food counting, establishment registration, and then your SID, which is basically an SKU registration.

Then we’ll talk a little bit more about some FDA requirements such as labeling, nutrition labeling which you’re more than familiar with, I’m sure. And then another ad round of admin stuff. So you can see there’s a lot of admin when it comes to sending food. This is gonna be how you file your export, your import paperwork.

And then hopefully more of the fun stuff. We’ll talk about sourcing tips and then some of the trends and some of the good practices we’ve seen through all our years of [00:05:00] shipping food into the us. And then of course we have a section at the end for questions. But again, feel free to stop me at any time.

Let’s get started. Okay. So our background, these are some of the brands that we’ve shipped over that allow us to , basically advertise. We have, we have a few brands that haven’t, , that we signed an NDA with. So they’re, , some of, some of the large brands. But some of, some of these brands you may be familiar with be Garlic, Siam, kitchen, tbo, Jale, they’re, they’re nationwide.

You’ll see them in seven 11 big C [00:05:30] places like that. And then this, there’s all over the place. So we have coconut powder, we have meal kits, chili these are snacks. This is juice dipping sauce, sugar, garlic, coffee. Sunny Sea. I think they do dried fruit. Sam Kitchen does sauces. Papa Jack does canned fruit.

One Ali does dried herbs. Che a a dipping sauce company. La Moon is jam. Prem is coconut nectar. Rootwork does rice meal kits, so we do a whole bunch of food. So we’re pretty sure that as long as [00:06:00] your stuff is legit, we can get it in to the US and put it up on sale. That’s all super long story.

We can do, honey. We have shipped honey. Honey is very tricky to ship out of Thailand because the FDA in the US will randomly test honey to make sure that it’s legit, honey. And , long story short, we had a customer ship, honey, and it turns out they were feeding the bees sugar instead of nectar.

And that triggered an audit by the FDA, they found out and got blocked. Okay. So that was our experience [00:06:30] with honey. So these are the categories that we, we can do and we have done. So dried, dried or preserved fruits and vegetables, coffee, tea, sugar, spices, rice, grains, noodles, meal kits, anything jarred, canned, like curries, jams, canned fruit sauces meat products.

No, it’s not that we can’t send them, but the paperwork trail is so complicated that this is probably only going to be your large. Giant companies that can afford to get tested? Supplements. Yes, we can as long as you [00:07:00] correctly market sorry. Market as a non-drug. Juice plant juices, for example.

We send sesame seed. Milk is is a product we’ve shipped all sorts of snacks, and then drugs is something we can’t send that requires too much FDA approval. And just to give you an example of something really common, , like skin whining pills or things like that, super common here in Thailand.

Okay? So really the first step is, , the, the boring stuff is paperwork. So you’re going to need. A [00:07:30] DUNS registration. So that’s a Dun and Bradstreet number. You can, this is a free to get online and it’s basically a, a company that basically says this is a legitimate business, right? So that’s your first thing that you’ll need.

The second thing you’ll need is some sort of an import agent. Somebody that is authorized to act on your behalf to clear your goods. And, and if it comes down to its serve as your representative if there’s an issue. Now the agent does have to be a US citizen or permanent resident. If you are one, you can be your own agent.

If not, you’ll need to [00:08:00] find one. And then of course the next step is you actually have to register the facility. So your facility should be FDA, registered. And let’s see. Yeah, these are the three main things that you’ll need to get started.

Just to give you an update, FDA registration is technically free if you can go through the mountain of paperwork, right? It’s just, it’s just paperwork that you gotta fill out and make sure it’s correct. Similarly, it’s getting an agent is free if you can do it yourself. Registering with Dun is also free if you can go through the paperwork.[00:08:30]

Some companies like Registrar Core will do this for you. We’ll also do it for you. Registrar Core is a much older, much more established company, but they are expensive. So they’ll, I think they’ll charge currently around $500 a registration if you want to kind of go through the process with them.

So we need to register your facility so that , you can export into the United States, right? So there’s many different kinds of registrations you can do. The three most common we’ve seen are we actually register the factory itself. We register a, a similar location that does the [00:09:00] labeling, and then the next one is we actually can register a warehouse instead.

So, just to give you an idea, let’s say it looks like they’re making pies or cookies here. We can register the factory that’s making those cookies. Let’s say the cookies are packaged or labeled elsewhere, we can register that. Or if it’s got a final storage location before it’s actually shipped out to the us, we can register that as well.

And this is order of preference. Any questions so far about what we can and can’t register?[00:09:30] All right. If not, you probably think of something. Okay. Now let’s talk about something that’s a little more complicated. Canned food or basically anything liquid is considered a canned food. So this could be bottled, it could be jarred, it could be packaged in like a seal, , like it’s terra open seal and you squeeze it out and it’s liquid.

This is one of the most complicated things to register because people are worried about bacteria, fungus, , all sorts of, it’s not dried fruit, so it’s not naturally what do you call it? What’s it, what’s the right word? Disinfectant. Like [00:10:00] it’s just not naturally ized. Yeah, exactly. Or like, just like bacteria just have a tough time growing on it.


Okay. So these are some of the examples of canned foods or what’s called a canned food that we’ve shipped out has been fruit, sauces, juices, curries. So what you’ll need to do is. An FCE registration on top of your FDA registration. So FCE stands for Food Canning Establishment. Okay, so this is where it gets a little technical.

When you’re preserving food in some sort of a can or liquid form, [00:10:30] you have to either register it as low acid or acidified. So, and the threshold is a pH of 4.6. So if it’s an acidified food, that’s the easiest because a lot of foods, they’ll actually add acid, like, I don’t know what the, the actual acid, like citric acid or something, , to get the pH level below.

And that will kill off most of the germs. And the registration is fairly straightforward. Low acid is tricky because then you pre probably have to use some other method of preservation. Like , maybe they’ll boil it or [00:11:00] pasteurize it to a certain degree, but you need proof of that. In almost all cases, you will need a lab result or an audit.

It’s not like you can just fill in the paperwork and, and hope for the best. Yeah. There’s companies in Ban Health that will do it, but they’re not cheap. So just to give you an example, it’s about a thousand dollars per SKU per one item to get an audit so that they’ll send over somebody. And then they will actually go through your process, record all the steps, and they get down into the really itty bitty detail.

Like, for example, [00:11:30] the type of seal that you use on the jar, , the, the what do you call the, the dimensions of the jar cab compared with the length of the jar, how you stack the jars inside your, your kiln or whatever you’re doing to pasteurize it. That’s all categorized. And then based on that, they’ll give you.

, a pass or a fail or they’ll tell you what to do Okay. In order to pass. Sure. So you’re saying the company here will do it for you and then the FDA will accept their results? Yes. So the, their results are, , they give you a nice lab result. You have to input, or they’ll [00:12:00] input it into the FDA registration system.

Okay. Then you should be good to go. Okay. One more thing. I know I used to eat lot of tuna back when I was in college, and almost every time it said packaged in Thailand. So why is Thailand so special for packaged tuna like that? It’s a great question. We’ve never shipped fish. Yeah. But I’m assuming down south, , you got huge fisheries, canneries.

Just curious. ’cause I always see in the back of my can shipped Thailand. Yeah. What, what we’ve seen more of is canned fruit [00:12:30] because Thailand is huge fruit industry. So that’s, that’s passed through our, our warehouse a lot more. Okay. But I’m sure down south. Yeah. .

Okay, so once again, yeah, you’ll almost certainly need a lab result if you, you plan on sending it sort of acidified or low acid canned food.

So if, once again, if you’re doing this type of food once you, you first register your FDA registered facility, and then each single new item that that’s canned has to be tested. So if you’re selling, let’s say this ketchup, [00:13:00] and it comes in a 32 ounce bottle and a 16 ounce bottle, that’s two tests, $2,000.

So it’s, it’s not a cheap process. This is why, , when you’re dealing with sort of canned food, it’s probably gonna be bigger factories that you’ll be dealing with.

Okay, I have a question. Yeah. We’re done with the, the first round of paperwork. Did I hear the hack? I, I don’t know if you, I don’t. Somebody said a hack is you can register as the factory if they’re not registered and hold their paperwork. Something like this. Some, some people [00:13:30] actually do this. It’s in that you’re technically not supposed to do this.

But yes, we’ve got lots of cases where, let’s say I own a factory and I’m selling whatever cookies. And I don’t know, like Mike, let’s say you, you wanna sell those cookies in the US and you just don’t tell me, but you, you figure out all the paperwork re regarding my factory somehow. The address, my name, my phone number, and then you register for me.

Yeah, we’ve seen it done. And then like, ’cause a year later, the factory then tries to get registered, but the system blocks it because they’ve [00:14:00] already registered. So then, then we have a problem. So what we typically do, if that happens, because , obviously we’re not gonna chase down. Whoever did it, , it’s way outside of our, what we do, we will say, well, somebody already took the manufacturer, why don’t you find, why don’t we register where you label or you package it if it’s another building, , if it’s, as long as the address is different, we can register that instead, and then we just go, keep going down the line.

Oh, that’s taken. Okay. Do you have a warehouse that you keep your items in? We’ll register that and use that for the [00:14:30] paperwork.

Sure. Any questions? Okay. I’m interested to do honey on what, it’s on my long list of things to do, but I want to do honey in one day. Oh yeah, yeah. It’s not high hot risk. Well, we’ve, we’ve seen the worst that can happen when you ship honey. So we can give you really good advice.

Okay, so the next part now is I, I wish we had a sample of something that was like packaged, so you could sort of see. Do we, you have like a Sure. There’s like any, any like Thai ADE food or any preferably for the us but yeah, if you have ade food, it, the, the [00:15:00] concept is somewhat similar. Yes.

Sorry, you had a question. So you have experience taking the stuff from here and repackaging it and then shipping it to the us? Yeah, we can do that as well. Okay, sure. Because I was wondering, like, because it comes from the same packages in here, like I wonder how attracted to the product American customer.

Right, right, exactly. Sure. Is there like, so , the facilities or the things that you need to go through to get it customized? Yeah, so you can actually just buy the raw material. [00:15:30] Like, let’s say I, I’m gonna walk you through a case study in a little bit, but let’s say it’s co rock coconut powder and we want to package it our own way.

Then you can just make a contract with a factory, get the raw coconut powder, have it shipped to let’s say a labeling facility or packaging facility, and then have them brand it, however you wanna brand it. And then you can actually register that facility as the FDA, , manufacturer. And then from then on, so you don’t have to do any of the dirty work.

They, they do it for us and we just, yeah. Yeah. So you don’t have to actually worry [00:16:00] about opening a factory. You can just get the raw materials and and go from there. Yep. All right. Mike’s got some samples I got. Oh, perfect. Shredded wheat. That will work. It’s good. I dunno. No, the shredded wheat, I, I’m very positive.

Is it It’s an Aussie product. Yeah. Yeah. They, , it’d be very similar. Yeah, it is very similar. Yes. This is perfect. Yeah. Okay. So. You got, you actually have to do the labeling [00:16:30] correctly. And this is actually, it’s not rocket science. You can do it yourself. It’s just takes some hours. So the first part is getting the front correct?

Right. So this is the front, what’s called the principle display panel. The next part is gonna be your side, which is gonna be your information panel, which is typically gonna include your nutrition label and then a manufacturing location. Allergen information , who’s the distributor is, contact information that type of stuff.

And then of course, you’re probably gonna need additional labels to make it sellable. So if [00:17:00] you’re selling on Amazon, you might want to put an F-N-S-K-U you’re selling in a generic like supermarket, they might get a UPC, which has been blocked out here. But those are basically your main labels, and we’ll go into a little more detail.

So the front part is gonna be your principle display panel, right? So this is what has to be on it. Okay? So the most important thing is, besides the brand, it’s, what is it? So in this case, it’s traded weed. It’s very clear what it is that you’re selling. You [00:17:30] can’t just make up any random name, like , like, like, I don’t know, yummy chips or something.

? It doesn’t make sense. So it, by law, it has to be what it is. So there’s only a very few accepted substitutions, but in, in general , what you’re selling has to be written very, very clearly. Okay. Then this one trips up a lot of Thai sellers. The weight, if you’re selling in the US it has to be ounces, first grams in parentheses.

So that’s pretty much mandatory.

[00:18:00] And then of course, don’t forget your brand. And that’s it. This is what’s required at the front. Any questions on this? Yeah, no. Yes. Those two things. Yeah. But then we’re, we’re gonna go through the other parts of the packaging, the pictures, all that you can do. Anything else. Yeah. Yeah, we can do it. You have the name of the parking?

Yeah, no. If you go through the manual, there’s guidelines on like the minimum font size you can use and this or that, but it’s pretty as. Pretty obvious. It’s not like anything that’s gonna blow your mind. Now let’s look at the information panel. This is the [00:18:30] side. In some cases it’ll be on the back.

If you have a more flattened product or if you have a can, then it’ll be on, , somewhere around the side of it. So what is mandatory is a con contact information. Typically, the manufacturer or the distributor, you can use one or the other. So you’ll see that in this case right here, there’s an address.

A method of contacting them. So that’s mandatory. It does not have to be the manufacturer. If you’re the importer, you might want to put your US address there instead, which is [00:19:00] fine. Then there is the ingredients list. This is mandatory in order of descending weight, basically. So in this case, it’s primarily whole grain wheat, so that’s gonna be what it is.

But if you have a, a complicated, let’s say. , food item. Then it might start from like noodles and then curry paste and whatever, all the way down the line. Then you’re gonna have your nutrition information. We’ll talk a little bit more about this in a second, but let me jump over to allergen information that’s also mandatory.

If there’s any sort [00:19:30] of , allergens or it’s made in a facility, that, that may also process foods that are typically, , people get allergic to, then you should mention that as well. So lemme jump onto to the next slide. Get you, these are the common allergens that you need to be aware of.

So how do ? You’ve gotta ask your facility, Hey, do you do, is any of it made here as well? And if it is then you just gotta mark it on, on the site. , there’s a little allergen warning it says, contains whatever. [00:20:00] Eggs, peanuts, or processed in the facility that contains peanuts. That’s what I see on the time.

Yeah. So that’s, that’s pretty much it. Once again, these are the main eight major food allergens that you gotta be aware of. Alright, let me jump on unless there’s questions here. Okay. What else needs to go on expiry date? So there should be a best before somewhere if I can find it. Usually it’s just stamped on.

There we go. Yeah. US style. This is another huge common mistake we see, it’s month, [00:20:30] day, year in the us. Whereas, , obviously in Thailand, like most of the rest of the world, it goes the other way around. And so this is super common. We see this all the time, , we, we have to go back and say, Hey, you made, you need to switch this up because it’s, it’s gonna confuse the consumer over there.

Okay, then this is recommended but not mandatory, is any sort of prep and storage instructions store in a cool, dry place. For example, , keep refrigerated once opened, for example. , you should put that on as well. And then we recommend keeping it to one barcode, one barcode [00:21:00] only, so , whichever warehouse receives your items isn’t confused and scans the wrong item.

And then of course, don’t forget your marketing blurb. Super important, right? You gotta showcase your product. Okay, let me jump on. Okay, so this is an example of a, of a brand. You, some of you may have heard of them. They’re based out in Bangkok. I’ve actually visited their warehouse, it’s called, dang.

They do dried chips and they’re actually quite big on Amazon. And this is just an example of a properly designed . [00:21:30] Food packaging. You can see you’ve got the brand right there. Exactly what it is. Coconut chips and of course you got the net weight in ounces, followed by grams here.

So the front part is correct. And then the back part has the nutrition information and it tells you what the ingredients are in descending order. And then it says there’s allergen information. It may contain tree nuts. There’s the contact information. Right there. And then I forgot to mention, this product of Thailand should be on there and quite visible as well.

If it’s made in Thailand or [00:22:00] whichever country. There’s your barcode, there’s your expiry date. And then of course they have all the marketing blurbs on it as well. So this is a, a good designed package. It’s correct. No, no issues. , as far as the. Packaging when you import it into the us. Another thing just to note, if you’re importing Thai food and you don’t plan on repackaging it, the FDA requires that if there’s Thai language mixed in, the font cannot be larger than English font, right?

So it’s just one of these small little tricks, , [00:22:30] they might have, you might have a Thai description, but then the English should be at least as as large. Once again, it’s just for, for the consumer. Okay, let me jump to nutrition. Okay, so this is actually, surprisingly, it’s not required on all food, right?

They make exemptions for small businesses. So if you’re a small business and that’s defined as you make less than $500,000 a year in the US or if you’re sell supplements, it’s less than 50,000. You don’t have to have a nutrition [00:23:00] label on it. You can just go straight to the ingredient list. Once again, if you have access to this information, definitely put it, it, it doesn’t hurt.

But if , if you don’t if you’re not required, if you’re just a startup, for example, and it, it can get expensive to get tested, then you might wanna try , without a label for a while. There’s, there’s a couple companies out in Bangkok that’ll do it. Intertech is one of them. So you can just send over food samples.

They’ll test it for you, spit this out for you, and you can pay them. I’m, I’m, if I had to take a guess, probably 10 or 20,000 bought.[00:23:30] Per test. There’s a link here as well. It’s called food label maker.com. When you make your nutrition label, it has to be exactly their template, right? So this font, calories, that bar has to be exactly that thick.

It’s, it’s a format and it changes every few years. So you better make sure that your template is up to date. The good thing about this website is that you can just punch in your information and it generates the perfect. Nutrition label for you, and then you can slap that on the [00:24:00] back of your packaging.

All right. Any questions so far? So would you recommend to do it from the beginning? You don’t have to, probably, right? Yeah. And, and a lot of times if you’re buying, let’s say Thai food in just repackaging, they’ll have the nutrition information. Just go to the, a website like this, type it in again, and it’ll spit, spit this out for you.

Can you, can you be creative and. Can it be funny with this at all, or it has to be? Yeah. The nutrition label is pretty much like, it’s, it’s serious. There’s no [00:24:30] jokes or marketing. Yeah. Yeah. No, definitely not. This is one of the few things that’s kind of like you can’t get away with, , you’d be funny with something funny.

I just like sneak a few words in there, like does something kind of funny, like a joke. Funny. I can’t choke. Yeah.

All right, let’s move. Let’s jump on then. All right. Yeah. And then once again, just this is just don’t forget to label for your sales channel pretty obvious if you’re selling on Amazon, they may prefer an F-N-S-Q-U or you may have a UPC that you can , register properly , and so on that this part’s pretty obvious.[00:25:00]

Okay. Any questions on this part of the labeling? Yep. So is it easier for you to do it from Amazon versus like the. Like put them in stores according to the FP. Oh, are you talking about the bar coding? Yeah, like yeah. I was gonna say, I mean, from what we’ve done, we’ve primarily gotten F-N-S-K-U, which is the Amazon code because we want to sell on Amazon.

But I’m sure if you’re selling multiple channels, it may make sense just to use a UPC. I think Amazon recognizes you pc. Yeah, they do [00:25:30] exactly. Okay. Actually I have to be opposite. We like UPC because it makes us look like we’re not just Yeah, you’re a legit. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Once you find the product that you want to source from here, how do you link it to your Amazon?

Like from the factory to the website? Oh, to Amazon you mean? Yeah. You would probably have to get, , the factory’s permission and see, Hey, do you have a store? Or if not, can I open one for you? Can I be in like an authorized seller? , that might be a process. There’s a lot of people that drop ship and just sell it anyway.

You can, , so, so the, the factors who [00:26:00] usually have like, drop shipping options, they might, I guess it just depends on the food factory. Or they might have an authorized, like, , buyer. Okay. Because we see a couple like tea. We, we send a lot of tea and it’s, , they might have like one buyer and then if you try to buy from them, they’ll be like, Nope, this is our guy in the us.

So, so we’ve seen that before.

All right, let’s jump on. Alright, now, importing into the us, we’re about two thirds of the way through. All right. So there’s a kind of a, a bunch of paperwork that you have to do. This is the not fun part. So the first [00:26:30] is your FDA de declaration. You gotta let the FDA know 15 days or less out before your goods arrive, whether by error or by sea.

So this requires either you have an agent that can do this for you or you jump on the FDA website and you just fill in a bunch of forms. There may be special paperwork required such as the FSVP, right? Or phyto sanitary paperwork. So if you’re sending rice, for example, you’ll require.

Phytosanitary and in some cases randomly you might be selected for an FSVP, which I believe stands for foreign service. [00:27:00] Supplier or something. Vendor, yeah, vendor. Vendor service. Yeah. I got, I have the acronym spelled out in the next slide or two. Okay. And then warehousing. So you probably will need a bonded warehouse in the US to store your goods.

Right. And the reason is, let’s say your item gets randomly inspected. If it’s at the pier, you could rack up some crazy fees if you can’t clear your items fast enough, ’cause they charge like hell if you can’t clear your shipment out of there. So you probably want to bring it immediately into a bonded warehouse, which has already got the [00:27:30] insurance in case the FDA needs to inspect your goods.

And this way , if the FDA needs a month to clear your goods, which does happen like rarely, but it does happen then at least this way, you’re not on the hook for some crazy storage bee storage fee with a shipping line or something. Right. You can just pay, pay your own warehouse. And in most cases, if one item gets picked for testing, the other items in your shipment can still go on to their final destination.

And then finally, you’ll need to be a registered importer, right? So I’ll walk [00:28:00] through that in a little bit more detail, but as long as you’re, if you’re a US citizen or permanent resident, not a problem. You can fill it out as a person. Otherwise , you’ll need a an EIN or a tax number.

And believe it or not, Thai businesses can actually do this too. Thai businesses can be an importer of record. All right, let me jump on to the fund paperwork. So this is what you gotta let the government know what the FDA know before you bring it in stuff. There’s a huge laundry list of it. And I’ll, I’ll go over through very briefly.

[00:28:30] I don’t wanna put anyone to sleep, but you’ll need your bill, bill of lading, your container number or what, what , if you’re sending by air, they’ll probably give you a wa wa bill number similar, you’ll need to know your arrival date and time into the US who’s shipping it. In other words, the exporter who’s importing it.

In other words, who’s taking responsibility for the shipment information regarding the FDA facility like its FDA, registration number, a point of contact for that facility. And then of course, your basic information for each item like this, , 50 boxes, each boxes[00:29:00] 16 ounces net weight.

Therefore, the total net weight of shredded wheat that I’m bringing in is whatever that comes out to be. So on, and a bunch more information. It’s kind of a lengthy series of documents. It’s all online. Okay. These are the proper steps to for the whole paperwork trail, right? So this is a pretty important slide.

If, if you’re gonna be sending a, a lot of food. So first as summarizing, you’ll need your DUNS number. Then you register your facility. If [00:29:30] you’re doing canned food then you’ll do a food counting es establishment registration, followed by getting each of your products. Tested and, , get the paperwork for them.

Then you’ll need your foreign supplier verification program. I remember, I remember the acronym. You’ll need to get that done. Which is just a series of paperwork that says, yes, this is a legitimate supplier. I’m not, , selling unhealthy food or, , something that’s dangerous. And we’ll walk, we’ll talk into that very briefly as well.

You’ll [00:30:00] either be a very small importer or a regular importer, and then check your labeling. And then do your FDA entry paperwork and then boom, you’re, you’re in. Okay. Just to give you some screenshots of what some special paperwork could look like. This is a phyto sanitary document. If you wanna send rice or rice products out of Thailand, you may need one of those.

This is a foreign supplier verification program. Basically it’s a new program that’s really only been enforced and still enforced selectively over the past couple [00:30:30] years, and it’s just basically. A way of testing and making sure that people are, are legit, legitimately importing safe food. So you may need to have your suppliers fill out a simple form and there’s templates online, like, can you, can you guarantee that this food is safe, basically?

And there’s a bunch of little things to fill out.

All right. And then let’s recap on the logistics. So once again, you almost certainly want a bonded warehouse. And just to give an example of a scenario, we see, we’ve seen about four or five times [00:31:00] already over the past years. Let’s say you’re sending in a bunch of cargo, 10 SKUs, 10 flavors of potato chips.

Let’s say one of them gets flagged by the FDA for testing, so we can still bring it into that bonded warehouse. The items that the FDA wants to test, we move aside The other nine items you can send to Amazon, Walmart, wherever it happens to be going. And this way it won’t affect your shipment. If you don’t, you’re not in a bonded warehouse, your entire cargo could be kept [00:31:30] at the terminal, and that would really suck because then, , all your money’s tied up now just because of one SQU that the FDA wants to check, right?

So, so definitely, , if you’re, if you plan on really scaling and bringing in food, you’re going to want some sort of a third party logistics provider in the US that has a bonded warehouse. We are one of them, but we’re definitely not the only ones. So definitely shop around, there’s some of the more common ones are like, ship Bob, , things like that, that they also have the correct paperwork.

All right. And then one [00:32:00] of the biggest mistakes we see among especially first time sellers is not registering the importer of record. So we get at least one or two phone calls or emails a month saying, Hey, my shipment is stuck in customs. What can you, can you import for us? Can you clear it? And that’s because they, they fail to register as an importer, right?

So that’s, that’s a requirement for bringing items into the us. Just as a quick recap, if you’re a US citizen, a permanent resident, all it is is filling in a, a simple form, handing it to your agent. Your agent, your import agent will provide you this [00:32:30] paperwork. If you’re a Thai business, there’s an additional piece of paperwork that’s required, but once again, it’s very possible to ship an anti import as a Thai business.

You just have to register it. And then once again our company can actually help you with this as well whether you’re the former or the latter. Once you do register as an importer, you keep that importer number for life. So , if you run into a business that wants to charge you an annual renewal fee, that’s, that’s bs, right?

It’s just a one time registration, [00:33:00] and then you’re good to go.

All right. We’re gonna jump into sourcing, but are, are there any questions on the, the paperwork? I mean, how much time does it take longer than non-food? To imports in the us Oh yeah. Yeah. Food is probably the most difficult thing we import. ’cause of all the paperwork. I mean, food expires, right? So, and it expires.

Yeah. So you gotta be quick. Like what’s a fair expectation in your brain, in your spreadsheet here we usually say if you’re gonna be shipping in [00:33:30] food, make sure it’s got a shelf life of at least 18 months because it might take you three months if you’re sending by sea. And then who knows how long to sell it.

And then you have some platforms like Amazon, you, they won’t even take it in unless it’s got like six months or so left before the expiry date. And then at four months out, they may start telling you to kicking it off the, so you have to, you have to build in that, that window. But I mean, it costs this process.

How long that, oh, it’s pretty quick actually. The paperwork [00:34:00] itself though is, that’s a pain. It could take an hour or two. But once, once it’s authorized, the paperwork will be done long before the ship arrives. So once, if the paperwork is done, it passes, it’ll clear like just any other normal goodwill.

It’ll be similar. Yeah, it’ll be similar to normal. Good. Okay. Because we mix in some of our containers, we have food, we have clothing, we have furniture, and it, it all clears at once. ’cause we’ll submit the paperwork prior. Yeah. I think I had some curry powder in my in my last Did you? No. Awesome. No, but, but speaking of curry [00:34:30] powder,

there, there are actually three things that are prohibited now from sending from Thailand to the US for food. Just FYI. The first is kafi lime leaves or bergamot. Yeah. Are you familiar with that mare in Thai? Yeah. Ka lime. It’s it’s called bi root in Thai. Can’t bring it in right now because they caught a shipment filled with fungus like about a year ago.

And as a result, it’s just a blanket band for the time being. Okay. Turmeric. Oh yeah, [00:35:00] spices not, not from Thailand. Not right now. And tamarind, believe it or not, not from Thailand. Not right now. Yeah. So those three, no tamarind salad? Nope. No. No. Pat Thai sauce is different, but we’re talking like more like dried tamarind or something, or tamarind spice.

Okay. But yeah. But foods that half tamarind, that’s fine. What about herbs? We send a lot of herbs, so yeah, chilies all sorts of Thai herbs. Marijuana, yeah. I wish, I wish that [00:35:30] that isn’t even the most dangerous thing we’ve shipped though. The one that gave us the hardest trouble was some, some dude wanted to send dirt, dirt into the us.

Now this sounds funny, but. Especially the state of California, they are agricultural. Like, so you want, you wanna send dirt in, you better have all this documentation. Like, have you heat cheated it? Are there any pests in it? Show me the proof. So yeah, cannabis, no, no, we haven’t sent, but we’ve sent hemp, , like as clothing, but not, not as actual [00:36:00] like, , edible or smokeable or whatever.

Is there a way to do it? I’m sure there is. I just don’t know it yet. Yeah, we haven’t, we haven’t. Why would you send. So this guy had wanted to do an Amazon store where he would sell like, , basically like Yeah, like high dirt. Yeah. Basically like with , like microbes and stuff. Yeah. Stuff like that or whatever.

And you just put your seeds in and it’s called First World Problem. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. No, that, that was one of the weirdest requests we’ve had. I want my turn from Thailand. Yeah. Half [00:36:30] what you said applies to Amazon Global Logistics. When, when I like, , you need the bond, you need to be the Yeah.

Support yourself. Mm-Hmm. And when I first saw that, I was like, oh, this is a headache. I’m just gonna let my agent do this. Sure. In China. But now, after just saying this, it seems a little more reasonable. Yeah. It’s, it, there’s a learning curve. Yeah. The first shipment’s gonna be a nightmare of, and then it just gets better.

I hope so. Yeah. And now we guys on our staff can do it with their eyes closed. Like, , they start filling in the paperwork.

But yeah. Okay. So these are some tips. We’ve, we’ve sourced a [00:37:00] lot. We’ve been doing this for about 10 years, so we’ve seen all sorts of food come across our warehouse, and the first thing is that Thai food really does sell. It is a, it is a strong point of Thailand in the us just statistically speaking, after Italian Mexican and Chinese Thai food is the most popular, right?

So people are really aware of the, the cuisine. And the other thing is especially as a, if this is your first time, we recommend focusing on dry foods, shelf stable foods, basically 18 month plus expiry because, , as I just mentioned, it’s a pain to [00:37:30] get canned food registration or anything liquid like juice.

It just takes so long and it’s expensive. So dry foods is so, it’s virtually free to register and it just takes your time, basically. Okay. The third thing that we’ve seen. Bit on the jockey, not the horse. And what that basically means is if you find a good team, like a good factory, they’re, that’s probably more valuable than the product itself.

, if they, if they can adjust. Because one of the biggest things we see is when and, and you were mentioning this [00:38:00] before, Ty factories refuse to rebrand when they export. And so that, that really hurts their ability to sell because you’ve got to rebrand for a different, a different consumer of course.

, and so , we, we run into this a lot. Like, , maybe you should change the colors and change the font just to make it more, let’s say American friendly. And they’re like, no, no, no. This is how we’ve always done it and my grandfather did it and this and that, , and so, so then their, their product fails.

And then finally gen we recommend not going like a [00:38:30] completely generic because there’s, for a lot of Thai foods in the US there’s already dominating brands. Just to give you an example , let’s say Golden Mountain soy sauce or d soy sauce, , they’re, they’re well established.

They’re super dirt cheap. If you try to come out with your own soy sauce brand, that’s gonna be a tough sell. Yeah. , and, and we see that a lot as well, surprisingly, like we had a couple sellers do just plain jasmine white rice, and every, , that’s one of the most common tie exports ever.

So it’s a tough one. But we have seen successful rice [00:39:00] sellers in, let’s say, black rice. Rice berry, whole grain, Jasmine rice we even had a seller that would, that got a blend of basmati rice and jasmine rice and called it sati and was starting to sell that. So that, that’s the thing. You kind of have to, especially as a small business, I’d recommend kind of veering away from generic stuff.

All right. I’ll do a quick case study and then of course, question along the way. These are just some of the brands that we’ve personally worked on. We have some coffee. This is just the, going back to the, don’t be generic. This is Thai, Thai, [00:39:30] traditional Thai coffee, but in a packet so you can tear open as a kind of a teabag style.

This is sort of like a, a curry base, but instead of packaging in the traditional, , if you go to the Thai supermarket, you see it in a jar it’s, it’s made an envelope to make it more online friendly. This is tra traditional Thai herbs and spices. This is an old one. This is no longer legit, by the way, ’cause it got banned kafer lime leaf.

But instead of just packaging how you normally get it in, like these [00:40:00] giant plastic bags with like staples on it that you get at the market? Yeah, we upscaled the packaging to make it look a little more fancy and then you can selling it at $25 a pop. Now for ingredients that are worth less than a dollar, basically you can get at the market.

Is that glass? It’s plastic. Oh, okay. Do you ever see breakage in containers? We do we have a, we have a company that since exclusively in glass, they refuse to change ’cause it’s part of their brand identity, of course. But they’ve, they’ve since figured out how to package it well. Okay. The worst ex experience we had was, [00:40:30] we had a factory here that was doing a paste and they had a bad batch and there was like, some bacteria was like expanding, I guess so.

Oh yeah. So we got a, a few cases that just exploded in our warehouse in Los Angeles, and it was a giant mess in the, and we’re like, Hey, we’re gonna have to bill you for cleaning this. And they’re like, no, no, no. That’s your fact. Your warehouse. How do we know you didn’t mess it up? But it’s just one of those situations that it was just a a, a tough, tough.

They’re still our customers by the way. So your company takes stuff and repackage [00:41:00] for people? Yeah. Yeah. We, we can serve as a consultant. This is, this is stuff we’ve sold on our own own Amazon account. All we’re doing quite well. Covid came, this is the only brand that’s currently live. Okay. And then on the right, the case study that, that I’m gonna quickly walk you through is just how, how we’re talking about repackaging.

We wanted to do, the brand is called Creamy K, and it’s vegan coconut creamer powder. Right. Which is a, it is a super, like, it’s a kind of a niche product. Yeah. And we picked it because we did the market research and we figured nobody’s really selling it. There was only [00:41:30] one other seller on Amazon.

Okay. And some, a lot of people were selling coconut and milk, but we wanted to do something that was a little more compact, lighter, and , you could tear open the, the concept was tear open, have a cup of coffee if you, if you didn’t wanna have milk. Basically, so we first started by researching, well, where can we find vegan coconut powder in Thailand?

So, , we’re on the phone, we’re doing Google searches. Surprisingly, most coconut powder in Thailand is not vegan, right? They, they add elements of cow milk to, to sort of make it, I guess, thicker as [00:42:00] a thickener. So we finally found one a company that did, did vegan like, and they gu they had the paperwork and everything.

So we bought like these huge like 50 kilogram, like, what do you wanna call ’em, like sacks of it. And they brought it to another company that had a packaging machine right in the Chiang Mai area. And then we said, Hey, put this into our packaging, a little, a tear open packet, which we also ordered.

And then they, they did that for us. It was a clean, sterile environment. And so now we had our basic packets of coconut powder. [00:42:30] And then of course then there was the paperwork trail. We did the, , the proper nutrition labeling, all the research. And then we, we actually used Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to come out with the packaging.

We sent that to a boxing factory, and then they made the boxes. We had the packets and we just assemble it in our warehouse. And so, so that was basically the process of, of basically taking a product that would normally not have been sold like this, and just converting it into an Amazon sellable product.

And I think this is, yep, that’s it. This is the last slide, [00:43:00] so thank you. Yeah. Once again, my name is Jengas. I’m right here in Ong and you can definitely reach out. I. The future of e-commerce is waiting. Load pipe is back. It’s a protocol. We are making the new way to do e-commerce with blockchain technology.

This is very early stage and have, Hamza is our first marketplace in this new ecosystem is very epic. If you wanna [00:43:30] participate, we are on alpha stage in Q1 2024, where you can be a buyer or a a vendor. Application only. Check it out@hamza.biz for the marketplace or the overview of this protocol and subscribe for updates@loadpipe.com.

See you there. That was the intense session. So yeah, again, the slides. I’m sure listeners might want the slides that’s at global [00:44:00] information.com/t-food-export, as well as the transcript and show notes and links. So do you like Thai food Yan, or what are Filipino food? The, the thing is that Thai food and Filipino Filipino food, they are somehow like similar.

So there are some typos that you can definitely get like a Filipino, Filipino version of it. So definitely yes, I would like that. What about you? I know that. Residing in Thailand right now. And how do you feel about Thai food? So. [00:44:30] Sometime in my life, I used to like spicy, but I’m not a spicy food person anymore.

I guess I’m getting old Maybe. So there’s lots of spicy food in Thailand. Oh. Which our whole family actually, our, our kids, Wendy, they don’t like spicy either, so there’s Mm-Hmm. It’s a funny story. We go to restaurants and we try to say not, not spicy. Yes. And they’ll say, yeah, yeah, yeah. But then it’s, it becomes spicy.

It would end up [00:45:00] spicy. Yeah, I know it’s spicy. Yeah. I mean, me, me neither. I really don’t like spicy. I can’t stand it. And yeah, I, I heard that five people really love spicy food and. Especially also in in the Philippines as well. We like spicy food, but not as spicy as Thai food would make their food. But regardless, I heard that, I know that as well, that Thai food is really, really good.

So, yeah, it’s in the, yeah. One of the highlights I got from Genis is, [00:45:30] I don’t know where his data comes from, but he says Thai food is number four in the us. I think it’s, oh, wow. He talked about it in there, like I think Mexicans maybe top one, maybe Japanese, Chinese, and then Thai. I’m not sure where Filipino foods on the list.

I dunno. I dunno. Like there’s no doubt that Thailand would be.

There are a lot of exotic foods in there, and even though they’re exotic, they look so good and they look so they will make you eat it, even though you do [00:46:00] not normally eat it. They would make you eat it because just the presentation and all that is really good. So do you have a favorite food? Something like that?

My favorite food is, I think it is Mexican in the Tex-Mex, like the American, American Tex, Mexican, the burritos, and Oh, I think when I was in California for a little bit, I, I loved California burritos and oh yeah, yeah, fish tacos. I just made me hungry right now for those. Yeah. You make me crave for those right now.

Yeah. What about Hai food? You have any favorite Hai food? [00:46:30] Thai food for me is, so I think the, the rice, a lot of different rice dishes are good as long as it’s not too spicy. Yeah. I hate to say a pad Thai, but there is some really good Northern Thai actually. There’s just distinct, I think everywhere.

Probably in the Philippines too. The north and the south is different style food. Northern Thai has this sausage, which is got, it’s actually spicy, but I still like it. It’s Thai sausage. It’s got like peppers and it’s, it’s all, it’s, it’s, it is spicy, but it still tastes good. I don’t [00:47:00] spicy. The sausage is good.

That’s the thing about side people. They would make you eat what you would nor would you would not normally eat because it tastes really good. Like look at you, you don’t like spicy foods, but regardless, you still try to eat that sausage so. Exactly. How about you? What’s your favorite food thing? Favorite food?

Well, I have a lot of favorite food. Like I can eat. I’m not really picky. I mean, I can eat a lot as long as you don’t gimme something that is like maybe a chicken feet. I don’t like chicken feet, but I, [00:47:30] I like chicken intestine, chicken head. I like all those kind of stuff. Wow. Yes. Spaghetti fried chicken.

Those are the things that I like. Okay, nice. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Sticky rice, that is, have you tried that? Yeah, I’ve had that. I’ve had that. That was new to me in Southeast Asia. Even in China I didn’t see that much, but yes, it’s nice. Yeah, it’s really good. Tastes good. Great. And as far as e-commerce sellers, some of, I really wanna try to do food, [00:48:00] actually.

I would love to sell food. Right. That’s even one reason I like invite sometimes with these shows. Yeah. I get to invite people ’cause I wanna learn myself. I’m really trying to do, because some of our categories listeners know is, is sparse and kitchen supplies, gifts. But I think the food one is, is, is also a interesting one because people keep buying it.

Right. Where if Right, right. If it’s a physical product. It might buy it again or buy it for a gift, but a food one, if they like it, they keep buying it, right? Yeah, [00:48:30] that’s right. Long term going. I don’t even know if we, we didn’t record the whole show every, we record it at the meetup. This was done at a meetup here in Chang Mai with Jeniss.

Mm. I think we turned a recording off, but we had like some mastermind discussion after. Oh, yeah. And I was talking, yeah. One of our products is a margarita or a Oh, mojito. Rimmer. It’s like, I don’t have it right next to me, but basically we, you can put the g the glass on plastic. It’s [00:49:00] plastic and they can put the lime put.

We actually sell the product, but I, I actually talked to Janis. He might even help us get in Tyler, the salt. That’s good. So people can buy the margarita salt or, or margarita sugars. Or the mojito salts. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So when you’re making these drinks, you can also buy the product and you can buy the salted sugar pack as like a add-on or as Yeah.

Cross sell. So it’s, it’s so much to do, so much to do, but it’s, yeah. [00:49:30] On the list. And we might hopefully work with Jenis on that. It’s definitely gonna be worth it. I can see you have a very good vision of, of how this should work and I can see that all the hard work that you guys are doing right now would definitely pay up in the future.

And food is something that we do and we get and we buy every day. It’s not something like, it’s gonna get old in a year or two or so. People buy food every time. So whatever you come up with, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna work in the future. Yeah. Yeah. [00:50:00] But he did, they make me think of some of the problems you gotta have.

Yeah. Yeah. Shelf their shelf life. ’cause they could expire. Oh yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So he says at least 18 months shelf life is what he recommends with one of the highlights I got from the talk. Mm. And then he says it’s even more, ’cause you can’t, like if we sell on Amazon and he says Amazon won’t even accept products that expires in less than I think three or six months.

Oh, what I’m saying. So is the expiration date is, is ’cause they don’t wanna take the food or the. [00:50:30] Perishables in their warehouse. Yeah. So that add some new complexity to it. But, but it’s definitely interesting stuff and yeah, it’s something we’re trying to add. Hopefully. Yeah. I mean, oh, go ahead. Mm-Hmm.

No, I was just supposed to say in, in making a business like this, it’s definitely worth it to the pros and cons because you make sure that you, you not wasting any money time here. Exactly. All right. And I think we’re wrapping [00:51:00] up our, our outro here. All right. Just wanna plug our Cross-border summit is, oh, yes, guys, we, I hope people are not confused ’cause we changed the date yet.

So a couple of times we’re gonna move it up to earlier last year we did it in the middle of November last year in 2023, but 2024 we’re gonna do November 3rd to the fifth and, ah. So we changed the dates, so I hope, no, I don’t think people book flights yet, but if we have some early bird tickets and we’re telling them, we changed the dates November 3rd to the fifth, [00:51:30] and we did that because we want to welcome more people coming from the China Canton.

Fair trips. Mm-Hmm. So there’s some Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Tour groups coming with us this time from China. Right. They didn’t, they couldn’t really wait around until the middle of November. So if everybody can just save the dates, we’ll also announce. Jo it down early. Virtual gets in in April. We’re gonna open up tickets, so we’ll let you guys Yeah.

Know guys. You heard Mike get that ticket? Yeah. Buy it. Otherwise we’re gonna regret. [00:52:00] Yes. It’s gonna be a great one. It’s gonna be a great one. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can see that. Yeah. Thanks y It was really great to have you.

To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website@ww.global from asia.com. That’s ww.global from asia.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

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