Key documents required for import & export
Prior to undertaking the business, at least it is necessary to know the basic terms of import or export.
Without such knowledge problems can be expected. Missing or inaccurate documents can increase risks, lead to delays and extra costs, or even prevent a deal from being completed.
Whether you are importing or exporting, you need to understand what paperwork is required.
Commercial invoice. The commercial invoice is a record or evidence of the transaction between the exporter and the importer. Once the goods are available, the exporter issues a commercial invoice to the importer in order to charge him for the goods. The commercial invoice contains the basic information on the transaction and is always required for customs clearance.
Bill of Lading (B/L), Airway bill (AWB), Road waybill (CMR), Rail waybill (CIM) These documents are carrier’s documents required for import customs clearance purposes and provide the details of cargo with terms of delivery. B/L under sea shipment, AWB - air shipment, CMR – by road, CIM – by rail.
Packing list. The packing list (P/L) is an inventory of the incoming cargo required for customs clearance and accompanying the commercial invoice and the transport documents. The packing list may be prepared in any language, although a translation into English is recommended.
Import, Export License/Certificate. It may be required as one of the documents for import or export customs clearance procedures and formalities under specific products. This document may be mandatory for importing specific goods as per guide lines provided by government. Import, Export of such specific products may have been being regulated by government time to time. It`s highly recommended to check this requirement before actual delivery.
Export Customs Declaration. Customs export control document completed and submitted by an exporter at the port of export, it is meant to provide information on amount, nature, and value of exports. In some countries it`s submitted to importer`s customs office when the relevant data in the commercial invoice requested for confirmation.
Certificate of Origin. Often abbreviated to C/O or COO - is a document used in international trade. It is a printed form, completed by the exporter or its agent and certified by an issuing body, attesting that the goods in a particular export shipment have been wholly produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. It is a key document for applying tariff preference and other important criteria
Declaration of Manufacturer. In certain countries customs duties exemption is applied to a new equipment only and there is a need to confirm the manufacturing date on it, for such cases you can ask the supplier / manufacturer to provide such declaration.
Free of charge agreement. Sometimes local representative office of the foreign company may receive office electronics or other valuable material as a free of charge delivery for a local needs. Local office needs to arrange customs clearance of the delivery or it may also be arranged by a customs broker by order of the consignor. For such cases we recommend to sign a one page agreement between parties of transaction that will define who does what and eliminate misunderstanding in customs.
Export Compliance memo. Any exporter shall be educated and be aware about international sanctions and trade compliance regulation to avoid negative consequences for non-compliance that can include monetary fines, civil and criminal responsibility. This is only a basic information to share with you and your company shall have more detailed procedures and policies in place.