List of Free Import-Export Courses and Classes

Jan 10, 2019

This list offers a comprehensive overview of free import-export courses and classes. Learn what courses are available, find out what topics they cover, and determine which is the right one for you.

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Info on Free Online Import-Export Training Courses

The majority of free courses and classes focused on importing and exporting are offered by government agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Commerce. Some academic institutions offer courses that discuss international trade, globalization and related topics. These courses don't award college credits.

Free Import-Export Courses and Classes

Bureau of Industry and Security

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, aims to maintain effective export control in an effort to advance various economic and national security goals. The BIS supports individuals looking for export information through its Essentials of Export Controls informational document.

  • Essentials of Export Controls: This resource includes six modules explaining all aspects of exporting. Students learn about licensing requirements, item classification, prohibited end-users and end-uses, record keeping and getting export clearance. This PDF document also explores agency jurisdiction, the Commerce Control List (CCL), Commerce Country Chart and license exceptions.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of free learning resources for individuals interested in managing and growing small businesses. Among available resources are the following business planner and guide, designed to help business owners understand the basics of exporting.

  • Export Business Planner: This SBA tool is geared toward small business owners who want to export their products or services. The chapters provide a comprehensive overview of exporting, including tips on making a business plan, marketing, financing and accounting and other aspects of running a small export business. The tool goes over accounting worksheets and forms of technology to use when exporting. Also included are various worksheets and additional resources, such as a glossary.
  • Export Products: Students can explore this resource located in the SBA's Business Guide to learn all about the exporting business. Contents include exporting benefits, how to begin the process of exporting and how resources like the U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) can help exporters get started. Additional topics covered include ways to locate international buyers, finance programs and trade resources.

Trade Port

Trade Port serves as a free resource for businesses interested in taking part in international trade to and from California. Individuals can learn about importing and exporting through tutorials that are free to access and require no registration.

  • Export Tutorials: The tutorials are geared toward exporters at any level of experience. Business owners learn to determine their readiness to begin exporting, differentiate between direct and indirect exporting and locate trade leads. The tutorials also explore how to research potential foreign markets, become familiarized with trade regulations and gain financing advice for their export ventures.
  • Import Tutorials: Users of these tutorials learn how to import products and services to the U.S. Divided into five steps, the tutorials feature separate text-based lessons covering topics like planning, logistics and security. Students can also learn the basics of foreign sourcing and import trade finance. Specific topics include packaging and insurance, the import documentation process and tips for qualifying trade leads.


Export-U is a website funded in part by the Department of Commerce's U.S. Commercial Service and operated by the District Export Council of Georgia. Users can access free resources designed to help them become more competitive in export sales.

  • Export-U Webinars: By exploring 15 webinar topics, students can learn the basics of exporting, including risk management, export controls, costing, pricing and payment terms. The webinars also go over ways to secure SBA financing, participate in international tradeshows and locate overseas markets that can help earn profits. Students can expect to dedicate approximately 5-30 minutes to watching each webinar video. Some webinars consist of multiple video lessons.
  • Export-U Exporter Database: This comprehensive collection of exporter resources provides business owners with an exporting guidebook, top market reports, trade articles and an in-depth export glossary. Individuals exploring this database can learn about eCommerce, trade partners, market research, insurance and intellectual property.

Global Edge

Global Edge is a web portal developed by Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University and the International Business Center. Individuals exploring this portal can learn all about global business and even connect with professionals in international business. Global Edge offers online course modules focused on international entrepreneurship, culture, conducting business in specific countries and more.

  • Exporting: The 18-module Exporting course can help users develop an export strategy, find customers and create a successful export business marketing plan. Users can also gain shipping, pricing, global business travel, service and legal information. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video slide presentations, and users can download audio files as well.

U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau have joined to create a website focused on providing information about foreign trade, including statistics on goods and services moving between the U.S. and other countries. Included on this site are training videos dedicated to understanding importing and exporting. No registration is required to access these videos.

  • Importing and Exporting Training Videos: These videos provide users with information on regulatory and compliance issues related to import/export business in addition to other topics. For example, users can learn how to access and use trade data to build business strategies, maximize the benefits of trade agreements and ship products to various countries. Other topics explored include taxes and tariffs, embargoes and foreign trade zones. The videos average 2-10 minutes each and require Adobe Flash Player to view.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers free online courses through the online learning platform Coursera. Students can study auditing, financial accounting, sustainability, microeconomics and more through the university at no cost. To access these courses, students must sign up for a free Coursera account via email or Facebook.

  • Global Strategy I: How the Global Economy Works: This course examines the concept of globalization and discusses challenges of global relationships in international business. In addition to looking at topics like the complexities of globalization and the basics of operating as multinationals, students gain a quality understanding of international trade. Learning materials include videos, readings and quizzes. Students can expect to dedicate about 13 hours of study time to this course.


Marginal Revolution University (MRUniversity), founded by two George Mason University economics professors, offers free online courses to anyone interested in learning subjects like microeconomics, macroeconomics, data and international finance. Courses on this learning platform typically consist of downloadable video lessons and practice questions. Some courses offer exams that require registration to access.

  • International Trade: In this course are entertaining video lessons that help students understand comparative advantage, trade restrictions and consequences of international trade. Specific topics covered include the political economy of tariffs, monopolistic competition, intra-industry trade and factor price equalization. This course consists of 60 videos and numerous practice questions. The total time expected to complete this course is six hours.
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