What is Export Documentation?
International trade of goods via import and export is the lifeblood of world commerce. When these goods are sold between countries, each shipment includes documentation that meets established statutes of the manufacturer/producer origin country as well as the country where the exports will land. Export documentation can take many forms. The most common export documents include:
- Export license - required by the United States government to do exporting business with countries around the world
- Bill of Lading
- Letter of Credit
- Certificate of Origin (CO)
- Certificate of Free Sale (CFS)
- Proforma Invoice
- Commercial Invoice
- Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- Export Packing List
- Shipper's Letter of Instruction (SLI)
- Dangerous Goods Form
Different shipments may call for different export documentation to remain in compliance with U.S. and foreign requirements. Regulatory authorities use these documents to ensure that exported goods meet established standards and international treaties, particularly for shipments that may be hazardous or of a sensitive military/technology nature.
An exporter clearly has many challenges in meeting the requirements of the applicable export. Failure to obtain the right documents can cost the exporting company thousands, even millions, of dollars for violations.