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Country Guide:
The United States of America

The USA is the UK's biggest trading partner and export market. Despite the many familiarities shared between the two transatlantic cousins, there are many differences in how both nations do business. Whilst the opposing seaboards of the US offer different approaches to doing deals, the federal system means that each state presents differences in business legislation and regulations.   

Key Export Opportunities:

  • Food and drink, including sparkling wines, gins and cheeses

  • Technology including telecoms and AI

  • Healthcare and medical supplies

Top Tips for Doing Business in the USA

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Shout about it
Whilst we tend to be more reserved when it comes to publicising our achievements in the UK, there’s a lot less stigma attached to self-promotion in the USA. Because of this, it’s not only okay to emphasise your experience and the value of your business proposition but vital to ensure it stands out amongst the rest.  

Translate your title
Where businesspeople in the UK might be hesitant to label themselves as a CEO or President of their own operations, our US counterparts are not. Titles matter to our transatlantic cousins, and there’s no room for modesty here. If you’re heading up your own firm, it might be wise to translate ‘managing director’ to ‘President’ in line with the US approach.  

Be direct
Unlike other cultures we’ve reviewed, ‘yes’ really does mean ‘yes’ in the US. Accordingly, ‘no’ means ‘no’. The upside of this transparent communication, however, is that ‘maybe’ isn’t just a polite way of saying ‘no’ and means there might be room for persuasion or negotiation.

Punctuality can differ by place but is always important
Whilst people in the Midwest and Northeast are more likely to place a premium on their time and expect punctuality, the attitude to timekeeping in the south and west is a little more relaxed. Ultimately, though, time is money in the USA, and you should always aim to be on time, both for meetings and deadlines.  

Prepare for rapid and aggressive negotiations
It’s not unusual for US businesses to use aggressive negotiation tactics like offering a very high or low price. Unlike in other cultures, where cooperation and consensus shape negotiations, self-interest tends to inform business deals in the USA.  

USA at a Glance

2nd (↓1 from '19)

Projected Economy 2030




Business Languages

GMT -4 (Eastern)

Time zone

Varies PER State

Standard VAT/

GST Rates

Trade at a Glance


Largest UK Export Market


Largest UK Import Market


Ease of Doing Business Rank (2019)

2nd (↓1 from '19)

Projected Import Market 2030


Largest Outward FDI Markets


Largest Import FDI Markets

10.9 (2021)

World Bank - Export of Goods and Services (% of GDP)

14.6 (2021)

World Bank - Import of Goods and Services (% of GDP)

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Despite negotiations at a federal level grounding to a halt, the UK has seen significant developments at state level. The UK has signed Memorandums of Understanding with seven states (Florida, Washington, Utah, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Indiana, South Carolina) which aim at building upon the current economic ties. Looking forward, the UK hopes to sign similar agreements with states such as Texas, California, Colorado and Illinois.

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