United States

With the largest economy in the world, the United States of America offers some of the best possible business opportunities. Founded on the principles of equality, the US is rich in cultural diversity. This - alongside a hardworking, dedicated and well educated workforce - position it well as a location in which businesses of any size can thrive.

Covid-19 latest information

This guide is an accurate reflection of the pre-Covid-19 business environment in the USA. Please note that due to the current situation, some circumstances may have changed in this country. Figures and data in the guide were last updated in May 2021.


Welcome to the US

A vast country, spanning six timezones, the US is a world leader in invention, innovation and inspiration. The free enterprise system means all businesses can compete on a level playing field in the US, which is why so many international organisations choose to locate here.

Evolving from a primarily agricultural economy in the 19th Century to a highly industrialized one for most of the 20th Century, today it proudly boasts one that is increasingly service-based.

HSBC Bank USA, N.A. has been connecting Americans to global opportunities since 1865. One of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world, we service customers from offices and branches across the US, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington DC.

Our team is on hand to help you navigate this vast land and make the most of the potential that the US has to offer.

Please get in touch today to find out how HSBC can support you and your business.

Michael M Roberts Country Chief Executive Officer

Head office address: 452 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10018


330 million1
9,833,517 sq km
Main languages
Capital city
Washington, DC
Other major cities
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas
US Dollar
Dialling code
USD59,500 per capita2
Top exports
Agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn), industrial supplies (organic chemicals), capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment), and consumer goods (automobiles, medicines)2
Top imports
Agricultural products, industrial supplies (crude oil), capital goods (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys)2
Unemployment rate
6% (March 2021)1
Corporation tax
Typical office hours
08.00am – 5.00pm, Monday to Friday
Time zone
Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (Honolulu) – UTC -10
Alaska Standard Time (Anchorage) – UTC -9
Pacific Standard Time (Los Angeles) – UTC -8
Mountain Standard Time (Salt Lake City) – UTC -7
Central Standard Time (Chicago) – UTC -6
Eastern Standard Time (New York) – UTC -5
Emergency numbers
911 (police, fire and ambulance services)

1 US Government, 2021
2 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2021
3 PwC, 2019

* Map shows cities of economic significance according to the CIA, 2019

United States: The world’s largest economy


# 6

for ease of doing business (in a survey of 190 measured economies by The World Bank)

  • Biggest global market

    The United States of America is a vast country, straddles six time zones and is the largest consumer market on earth. With a GDP of USD20 trillion and a population of 330 million, its household spending is the highest in the world.

  • Home of innovation

    The US leads the way in research and development (R&D), attaching great importance to the protection of intellectual property. Businesses of all sizes create an environment geared up for invention and inspiration.

  • Easy to do business

    Free enterprise and competition is encouraged in the US, where a stable democracy and predictable legal system enables all companies to compete on a level playing field.

  • Rich resources

    The US is the third-largest country in the world and has an abundant array of natural resources. An extensive infrastructure network allows for the smooth transportation of these materials across the length and breadth of the nation.

  • Skilled workers

    The US possesses a highly skilled, diverse and educated English-speaking workforce. Its universities also nurture the talent of tomorrow.

  • Access to capital

    The US is home to the most developed, liquid and efficient financial markets in the world. Capital is attainable to help businesses succeed.

Country profile

A highly competitive and technologically advanced nation, the US’s economic, political and cultural clout is felt worldwide. Bold and brash it may be, but it’s certainly a place in which to do business.

Boasting by far the largest economy in the world, the size and scale of the US is like no other. Its GDP compares to that of entire continents.

The United States of America (USA), also known as the US or America, is a federal republic comprising 50 states, a federal district, five self-governing territories and various possessions.

The US today is a diverse society, shaped by large waves of immigration from Europe and beyond. As the world’s third-largest country, coast to coast the country spans almost 3,000 miles.

There’s New York on the Eastern Seaboard, the ‘city that never sleeps’, while Los Angeles to the West is home to all the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood movie industry. And there’s plenty more in between; from the ‘Windy City’ of Chicago in the North, through the country’s heartlands to NASA’s ‘Space City’ of Houston in the Deep South.

The US offers a massive market of consumers to tap into. And while the country has been making even more headlines than usual during these politically and economically transformative times, global business continues to view the US as the go-to destination for both investment and growth.

Read on to discover more about the dos and don’ts of doing business in the US. Also find out how trading in or with the country could help boost the future growth of your business.

5 reasons to do business in the US1

  1. An entrepreneurial culture
    Almost every other country in the world wants their own ‘Silicon Valley’. And it’s not just in San Francisco, the US’s start-up community is vast with entrepreneurial ecosystems thriving throughout New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Austin.
  2. Hard-working society
    Not only do Americans work harder than in many other countries, they are also among the most productive workers in the world.
  3. Home of the brave
    Risk-taking is embedded in the national DNA. It’s why many Americans love the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, where fortunes are sometimes won and lost. It’s also a key ingredient that makes the US one of the most competitive business nations on earth.
  4. Championing achievement
    The US is the very embodiment of a meritocracy; the land of opportunity for all. Some of today’s largest US companies, such as Amazon and Google, have become household names in the past 15 years, and Facebook wasn’t even founded until 2004.
  5. US dollar is king
    The ‘greenback’ facilitates trade across the globe and is still the world’s premier reserve currency. This matters in times of turmoil when there’s a ‘flight to quality’; the US dollar tends to behave in a similar way to gold, another perceived ‘safe haven’.

5 key challenges2

  1. 1

    A weigh of life

    Whether it’s filling up your car with 10 gallons of petrol before embarking on a 20-mile drive, buying a pound of apples or being told it’s a pleasant 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, Americans use different measures for weights, distances and temperatures.

  2. 2

    State of the nation

    The federal government of the US is based in Washington DC and each of the 50 states has its own local government. Nationwide federal laws, as well as state ones, apply – and these can vary greatly. Businesses must meet federal, state and local tax obligations.

  3. 3

    An abbreviated code

    All US states and territories come with two-letter abbreviations. As some are fairly long, the abbreviated form is often used instead – Houston TX (Texas), Los Angeles CA (California), Chicago IL (Illinois). Washington state (WA) is situated on the West Coast. The city of Washington, meanwhile, in the District of Columbia (DC), is not a state but an administrative unit on the East Coast.

  4. 4

    Brush up on your Spanish

    Although English is used in 100% of business conversations, there are now 50 million Spanish speakers in the US – more than in Spain itself. They live mainly in states bordering Mexico to the south, such as New Mexico, California, Texas and Arizona, as well as big cities such as New York.

  5. 5

    Communication style

    Americans often use their mobile devices to text rather than speak, so don’t be offended if most prefer to connect via text or email at work.

1 US Department of Commerce, 2018
2 PwC, 2018