Top 10 Export and Import documents part 1

                                     Top 10 Export and import documents

                                                               Part 1          

Export documentation lies at the heart of all international trade transaction. In provides exporters and importers with an accounting record; shipping and logistics companies with instructions of what to do with freight information; and banks with instructions and accounting tools for collecting payments.

Export documents are more complex than those used for domestic sales due to the special characteristics of international trade: geographical distance, different customs laws, different means of transport, greater risks, etc. The documents required for each shipment will depend on the conditions of sale ( Incoterms ) agreed between seller and buyer.

I describe below the top 10 port documents mentioning for each one: what are used for? who prepares them? and to whom they are addressed? 

                                            International Purchase order

Usually, international transactions are based on the buyer's purchase order. Issuance of a international purchase order is normally preceded by an exchange of information between exporter and importer with respect to the price, quality and quantity of products , etc.

When the transaction details have been agreed , the seller may issue an informal price quote or a more detailed proforma invoice. If the buyer accepts the seller's price and other conditions, the buyer issues a purchase order.

The international purchase order may constitute a binding offer or a binding acceptance, depending on the circumstances. Usually in international transactions involving a large commercial buyer, the purchase order is often the main contract form and constitutes the first legally binding offer. In such cases, the seller's signature of the purchase order will constitute the acceptance of the transaction.

                                      International commercial invoice

The international commercial invoice is main document of export documantation because contains all the information about the international sale.  The item, quantity, price for the products / services sold, delivery and payment conditions, as well as the taxes and other expenses that might be included in the sale, are detailed in an international commercial invoice.

The importer, with the original of the international commercial invoice, declares to the tax authority of his country the amount that it must pay, to who it is going to pay and the agreed means of payment. For the exporter, this document means a documentary evidence of the sales that it has made in foreign markets.

In operations with third countries, the international commercial invoice is part of the customs declaration, upon which, the taxes and tarif rights applied, must be paid at the moment at which the products enter the country.  In operations with EC countries, this document is used as a declaration of the transaction and tax exemption to comply with basic tax settlement conditions.

                                                                 Packing list

The packing list is a more detailed version of the commercial invoice but without price information. It must include, inter alia, the following: invoice number, quantity and description of the goods, weight of the goods, number of packages, and shipping marks and numbers.

A copy of the packing list is often attached to the shipment itself and another copy is send directly to the consignee to assist in checking the shipment when received.

Although not required in all transactions, it is required by some countries and some buyers. This document is prepared by the exporter and addressed to the importer, the carrier and the import customs clearance.

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