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Importing Sunflower Oil: How to, Duty Rates, and More

Importing Sunflower Oil
Looking to import sunflower oil? Then look no further, our guide tackles all you need to know for importing sunflower oil into the U.S.
USA Customs Clearance
April 22, 2022
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Last Modified: March 2, 2023

Importing sunflower oil is a very hot commodity, not just in the United States, but all over the world. Due to the ever-present challenges throughout the supply chain, it takes enormous preparation and vigilance to regularly establish an importation network for consumable goods like sunflower oil.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the import of all sunflower oil into the U.S. Depending on the strain of oil, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may require permits and additional verification as well. The duty rate of sunflower oil can be found using the following HTS Codes:

  • Refined - 1512.19.20
  • Crude - 1512.11.00

Importing can be a meticulous process, our guide below will help familiarize you with how to import sunflower oil.

How to Import Sunflower Oil

How to Import Sunflower Oil

Importing sunflower oil into the U.S. is not an easy feat. There is an entire process that is involved in successfully importing sunflower oil into the country. There are several federal organizations that have established rulesets and guidelines that must be followed in order to legally import this commodity.

The following federal agencies will oversee the process of importation from start to finish. It is for this reason that careful and diligent planning and accuracy are required. Avoiding potential delays, fines, or even the potential refusal of your shipment at the port is paramount.

  • USDA Compliance: The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) classifies sunflower oil as fruits and vegetables. The APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program has been put into place to safeguard our natural resources against foreign pests, bacteria, or diseases.
  • APHIS Compliance: Under the APHIS PPQ program, a permit may be required for importing sunflower oil for consumption from all foreign sources. Inspection of plant, and plant material is subject to inspection if it is not registered with APHIS such as a new form of sunflower oil hybrid. As an importer, you can verify compliance within the APHIS Database for Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements (FAVIR) for more information and details surrounding sunflower oil importation.
  • CBP Compliance: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) mandates that all commodities coming into the U.S. from a foreign country are subject to inspection. This mandate falls under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 319.56-3.

Ultimately, the biggest hurdle for the importation of your goods, in this case, sunflower oil, is going to be the FDA and CBP. The USDA and APHIS will typically only come into play when importing a hybrid sunflower oil that is new or has not been registered. Be sure to check with a consultant for the latest information.

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1. Requirements For Imported Goods

There are strict sets of requirements for registered foreign food suppliers as it pertains to imported goods coming into the U.S. through any port of entry. Federal agencies like the FDA, USDA, APHIS, and CBP are all potentially involved with food being imported into the U.S.

The FDA has specific requirements that are put into place to protect and sustain our natural resources and agriculture. The federal government takes imported goods seriously and proper attention to the details surrounding your shipments must be followed at all times.

The following requirements are topics to consider when importing goods into the country. This checklist can serve as an example of topics to pay careful attention to when importing food goods.

  • Certificate of Origin: A certificate issued by a recognized and approved country of origin which validates the origination of the commodity.
  • Facility Registration: The facility which produces, manufactures, stores, and packs goods to be imported is required to register with the FDA.
  • Labeling: Proper labeling of all packaging must be in total compliance with the format outlined by the FDA.
  • Shelf Life Expectations: Any imported goods for consumption are required to have a shelf life that doesn’t fall below 60% of its original safe use shelf life.
  • Prior Notice: A filing of prior notice must be filed before the imported goods arrive at a U.S. port of entry.
  • Foreign Supplier Verification Program: This mandate by the FDA requires all food suppliers to meet FDA safety standards.
  • Duty Rates: Always check the HTS Code related to any goods that you import so that you are aware of any and all taxes and fees associated with them.

As always, it is best to speak with a consultant in order to clarify these requirements or any other questions you may have regarding importing sunflower oil. The last thing you want is fines, delays, or even the refusal to accept your goods by the CBP.

2. Find an FDA Registered Supplier

FDA Registered Suppliers

The FDA cannot approve, license, or certify importers or products brought into the U.S. However, importers can bring food goods into the country with an FDA-registered facility without prior sanction from the FDA.

In order to become a FSVP supplier, all foreign food facilities that wish to export goods are required to register with the FDA prior to exporting goods to the U.S. The following points of interest ensure that foreign suppliers are in compliance with the FSVP Final Rule.

  • All food produced is done so in accordance with the public health protection section 418 or 419 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. 350g and 21 U.S.C. 350h were applicable.
  • All food must be unadulterated under section 402 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 342.
  • Food that is to be consumed by humans is not to be misbranded under section 403 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. 343w.

On May 10th of 2021, the FDA instituted an online portal so that importers could electronically upload FSVP records when the FDA requests these documents, speeding up compliance and communication.

Under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the FDA has been directed to require a “prior notice” filing by any importer/registered facility. The reason for this is to give both the FDA and CBP advanced notice of all incoming shipments and to better safeguard the U.S. food supply.

3. Comply With FDA Labeling Rules

The FDA has an established set of rules and guidelines as it pertains to the labeling conventions for food goods. As it stands, sunflower oil falls into the category of vegetable oil. The following is a list of pertinent information required for the label of imported sunflower oil.

  • Statement of Identity: The food’s name “sunflower oil” is displayed on the principal display panel.
  • Facts: Any additional facts surrounding the goods, whether the sunflower oil is crude, refined, part of another ingredient, or mixed as a hybrid.
  • Country of origin: The foreign country that is exporting to the U.S.
  • Ingredients list: The list of any ingredients included with the sunflower oil in the case of hybrids.
  • Total Net Quantity: The total quantity of goods within the package.
  • Packer name: The name of the person who packs the goods and prepares them for export.
  • Facility name: The name of the facility which prepares the goods for export.
  • Facility address: The address of the facility which prepares the goods for export.
  • Distributor name: The name of the distribution company that exports.

The labeling requirement must be followed or the importer runs the risk of being in violation of FDA regulations and also CBP seizure, detention, or refusal of admission. When you properly label your sunflower oil containers, you minimize the risk of delay.

4. Arrange For International & Domestic Shipping

Sunflower Oil International & Domestic Shipping

When making arrangements for international and domestic shipping, it is critical that you make all the necessary arrangements in advance. At the same time, having a complete understanding of what these two terms mean is also vital to the success of your shipment.

  1. International Shipping: This form of shipping is when goods are transported overseas by either air or oceanic freight. These goods must follow all U.S. import laws, regulations, and guidelines prior to acceptance. The CBP is responsible for admitting goods into the country that have been internationally shipped.
  2. Domestic Shipping: This form of shipping is when goods are shipped within the borders of the country. In this instance, let's take the U.S. Any domestic shipping will not cross into Canada or Mexico but will stay confined within the U.S. borders. This type of service can be as fast as “same day” delivery.

For commercial shipping, your goods will require a harmonized code, declared value, packing list, and an electronic export (EEI) form. Certificates of origin are also required.

5. Partner With an Experienced Licensed Customs Broker

In order to fulfill your international & domestic shipping challenges, you will absolutely require the help of a customs broker to handle your shipping challenges. Importing and shipping consumable goods requires accuracy, completeness, and great attention to detail.

Why go it alone in the importation and shipping game? Regardless of if you are new to importing or have some experience, the risk of missing a finite detail is too high. Especially as it pertains to your imports and the time-sensitivity of their shipment.

You should never be alone or ill-equipped to handle any import challenges that will occur with your shipment. Peace of mind is always the best policy when handling goods that are internationally or domestically shipped. Our licensed & experienced brokers are ready and eager to assist you today.

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Top Sunflower Oil Exporting Countries

Top Exporting Countries of Sunflower Oil

When considering the top sunflower oil-exporting countries, it's good to have a working knowledge of exactly where to import from. As you can see below, the bulk of the world's sunflower oil exports originates in Europe and Asia, commonly referred to as Eurasia.

Only a small percentage of the world's global sunflower oil exports come from North and South America. Ukraine exclusively produces over half of the world's supply of sunflower oil annually. The Russian Federation holds a nearly 20% market share with the rest of the world sitting near a 25% combined market share.

However, it is also important to note that just because countries like the Ukraine and Russia dominate the export share of sunflower oil, it doesn’t mean that you can’t find alternative sources. Other nations contribute to the global production of sunflower oil for importation into the United States, such as:

  1. The European Union
  2. Argentina
  3. Turkey
  4. China
  5. South Africa
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Serbia
  8. Moldova

Top 5 Producers of Sunflower Oil (2021-2022)

RankCountryExport SharesExport ValuesAnnual Growth 2021-2022

The contributions to the sunflower oil industry from these nations are important to you as an importer. Competition for your business plays a critical role in generating the best import price for purchase through distribution networks in other countries.

When you have a distribution partner in another country, you will need to verify they have an approved distribution facility that is registered with the FDA. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can verify FDA registration and obtain the necessary permits getting you started with importing sunflower oil today.

Where Does the U.S. Import Sunflower Oil From?

Sunflower Oil Production

Sunflower oil comes from all over the world. Historically speaking, the sunflower is a native plant of North America. However, it wasn’t until the 1800s that widespread knowledge of sunflower oil’s cooking and medicinal potential became available.

It is because of this fact that sunflower oil has since been a hot commodity. The U.S. imports sunflower oil from a wide number of countries around the world. The table below illustrates the top five countries that export sunflower oil into the U.S.

Meticulous and diligent research is required to find a registered distributor, facility, and network for importing sunflower oil. Staying up to date with available distribution quantities is a must if you are serious about importing sunflower oil.

Top 5 Sources of U.S. Sunflower Oil Imports (2020-2021)

RankImport OriginContainer QuantityMetric Tonnage

Sunflower Oil Duty Rates

Sunflower Oil Duty Rates

Importing sunflower oil in the U.S. will be accompanied by various taxes and fees. When the imported goods arrive at a port of entry, there are taxes and fees that will impact the shipment of foreign goods coming into the country.

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) was enacted on January 1st, 1989 by the U.S. Congress under the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). The HTS system is administered by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels. This system is a coded classification of goods and their trade relation duty rates.

In the case of sunflower oil, the HTS Code is 1512.19.20 (refined) and 1512.11.00 (crude). According to the USITC, the duty rate for both refined and crude sunflower oil is 1.7¢/kg + 3.4% when imported from a country with Most Favored Nation (MFN) status. The U.S. also has trade agreements in place with a number of countries, making sunflower imports from those nations duty-free.

It is important to note that when pure sunflower oil is changed by introducing other ingredients, therefore creating a hybrid oil, the duty rates are subject to change. It is recommended to check with one of our customs brokers who are happy to offer the very best information surrounding added fees or taxes.

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Get Help Importing & Shipping Sunflower Oil

Importing sunflower oil is not as easy it may appear. Fortunately, you have an ace up your sleeve! USA Customs Clearance offers a full suite of services to help with your imported sunflower oil. Customs Bonds are critical to importing sunflower oil into the U.S. It is essential that import fees and taxes are correctly handled. USA Customs Clearance can help you obtain a continuous customs bond.

Becoming a registered importer in the U.S. is a snap with our importer of record registration. You get accurate and speedy filing from our licensed customs brokers. Before you can import your sunflower oil into the country, you will need to become a registered importer with CBP, we can help you there!

Regardless of your experience with importing goods, we offer multiple packages to help. Our new Importer Success Bundles are the perfect all-in-one solution to get you started importing today. We have consultants waiting to provide you with their expertise and get you importing the right way. You can contact us at (855) 912-0406 to get started on importing sunflower oil today.

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