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Policies and Procedures

Policy 1217 – Foreign Source Purchases

July 1, 1995
Last Updated
July 15, 2010
Responsible University Officer
Director of Purchasing Services
Responsible Unit
Purchasing Services

Policy Statement

All goods shipped into the United States from other countries are subject to U.S. customs and tariff regulations. To expedite regulatory compliance for incoming shipments from foreign sources, the University uses the services of a customs broker. Purchasing Services identifies the customs broker on all purchase orders for the foreign-sourced goods. International orders require that the University comply with U.S. and foreign trade regulations which requires communicating with customs agents, and arranging for the long-distance shipments of goods. These processes must be taken into account when purchasing from a non-U.S. vendor.

Reason for Policy

This policy is to ensure compliance with U.S. customs and tariff regulations when purchasing goods from foreign sources.



Special Situations

Certain incoming foreign products, such as agricultural products or drugs, may be subject to special approvals and/or licensing provisions. For such items, the using department must contact the appropriate Federal agency (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, etc.) to determine the required approval process. The U.S. Department of Commerce may also be contacted for assistance in determining which products require special approval.


  • None

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My lab wants to order scientific equipment and was told that we would not have to pay duty to get it in the country; is that true?
A: Yes, but an ITA-338 form (Request for duty-free entry of scientific instruments or apparatus) must be completed and forwarded to the U.S. Department of Commerce to be granted the exemption.

Q: Will completing the ITA-338 form delay my order?
A: It can possibly extend the period of time that it will take to receive the goods. Please plan ahead when making your purchase since various procedures will have to be followed before the goods can be delivered.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen working in a University-owned facility in a foreign country. May I bring the goods I have purchased with foreign currency for the office back to the University office and be reimbursed?
A: No. The University will not honor such transactions without going through the proper procedures.

Related Data

North Carolina General Administration Statute GS 143 59.1, Contracts with Certain Foreign Vendors


Foreign source purchases Purchasing Services – Goods 919-962-3774 919-962-0636


July 15, 2010
February 12, 2004