Regulations & Requirements

In addition to helping U.S. exporters navigate an array of regulations governing trade in food and agricultural products, FAS works to ensure that those regulations are predictable, transparent, and science-based.

FAIRS Reports

FAS's international offices publish Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) reports and exporter guides for the countries they cover. Copies of these reports can be found on the individual country pages of the FAS website as well as by searching the Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) database.

Regulatory Changes by WTO Members

The governments of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries notify the WTO about changes in their domestic regulations that could impact international trade in food and agricultural products. Under WTO rules, other WTO member countries have the opportunity to evaluate these regulatory changes to determine whether they might pose sanitary/phytosanitary (SPS) concerns or technical barriers to trade (TBT). FAS maintains an online system to inform the U.S. agricultural industry regarding changes in international food and agriculture regulations that could affect U.S. exports.

Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) Database

FAS provides access to a database that lists maximum acceptable levels of pesticides and veterinary drugs in food and agricultural products in the United States, as well as 70 other countries, the European Union, and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

Regulatory Information from Other Agencies

Additional information about regulations and requirements governing agricultural exports and imports is available from other USDA agencies and state departments of agriculture. 

  • Individual state's agriculture departments provide points of contact who issue export certification documents such as Certificates of Free Sale.

Data and Analysis

Attaché Report (GAIN)

China: Revised Draft Oil Seed Standard Notified

On February 12, 2024, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) notified the National Standard for Seed of Economic Crops – Part 2: Oil Species (Draft) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Attaché Report (GAIN)

China: Revised Draft Cereals Seed Standards Notified

On February 12, 2024, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) notified the National Standard for Seed of Food Crops – Part 1: Cereals (Draft) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
On February 12, 2024, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) notified the General Directive for Labeling of Agricultural Seeds (draft) to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

News and Features

With research and development funds provided by the FAS Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, FAS and ARS are working to produce compostable PLU labels. They are collaborating with the International Fresh Produce Association and Sinclair Systems International to meet the EU standards. The goal is to develop adhesives that are both food-safe and compostable. When achieved, this will allow American companies to export fruits and vegetables as usual while helping to decrease food waste and methane emissions.
Washington, DC – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One...
Contact: press@oc.usda.gov WASHINGTON, June 24, 2020 – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., issued the following statement regarding food export restrictions pertaining to COVID-19: “The United...

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