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Why You Shouldn't Include HS Numbers on a Commercial Invoice

11/19/14 4:30 PM | David Noah | Export Compliance, Export Forms

A commenter left this note on one of our recent articles, 10 Items That Belong on Your Commercial Invoices:

“Nice overview of elements of a commercial invoice. I was glad to see the interesting note on the whether or not to include HS numbers. This is coming up more and more with clients.”

Her comment gave me a thought: As a rule, I encourage exporters to include Harmonized System (HS) numbers on their commercial invoices. Correctly applied, HS numbers can help ensure your exports make it through customs without delay and get delivered to their final destinations, which can help you get paid faster. However, as the reader noted, while most businesses consider it a best practice to include HS numbers on their commercial invoices, there are certain situations where including a HS number could actually backfire.

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Creating a CAFTA-DR and other Free Trade Agreement Certificates of Origin (Video)

11/18/14 1:00 PM | Lisa Nemer | Shipping Solutions News & Tips

The United States has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 20 countries, which offer reduced tariffs between participating countries. The United States’ FTAs build upon the foundation set out by the World Trade Organization of which the U.S. is a member.

Some FTAs are between the U.S. and just one nation, such as the Korea FTA. Other FTAs include several countries, such as the NAFTA, which includes the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The CAFTA-DR includes the U.S., Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

When shipping your goods to one of the FTA countries, it is sometimes required but always helpful to provide a document, such as a certificate of origin, showing that your goods qualify for the reduced tariffs offered by the FTAs.

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If You Must Use a Letter of Credit—Get It Right!

11/17/14 1:17 PM | Roy Becker | Letters of Credit, Export Basics

Too often exporters receive a letter of credit and then become frustrated with the terms the issuing bank has provided. They ask, “Why would a bank issue a letter of credit with terms and conditions like this?” The issuing bank does not arbitrarily set the terms.

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An Introduction to Incoterms—Part 2: Why Do Incoterms Matter?

11/12/14 3:30 PM | David Noah | Export Basics, Incoterms

In the first article on this topic, we learned what Incoterms are and how they originated. Today, we’ll discuss how to apply Incoterms, how exporters benefit from them, and why they matter.

Do rules make life more fun? Most people would shake their heads no, as the word itself has negative connotations. But as an exporter, you know better. Where Incoterms are concerned, following the rules actually gives you more freedom to export—and more opportunity to make more profit!

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Understanding Units of Measure

11/11/14 1:00 PM | Lisa Nemer | Shipping Solutions News & Tips

Have you ever wondered why Shipping Solutions has three unit of measure fields and three quantity fields? The reason is that they have different reporting purposes. One is used as a sales unit of measure on invoices and other forms, and the other two are used for filing your Electronic Export Information with AES.

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4 Options for Moving Beyond Your International Representative Network

11/10/14 7:43 AM | Becky DeStigter | Export Marketing, Export Strategies

Many companies begin their journey into international markets through country representatives or distributors. Oftentimes these representatives seek out your company at trade shows or online and approach staff with offers to represent your products in their home country.

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6 Reasons Using Microsoft Word for Export Documents Is like Grilling Steaks Indoors

11/5/14 9:22 AM | David Noah | Export Forms

Here in Minnesota, you just don’t talk about the onset of winter. It’s coming, and we all know it, so we avoid it by extending the summer months for as long as we can. One of my favorite ways to do that? Grilling in the backyard.

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Deciphering AES Error Messages

11/4/14 1:00 PM | Lisa Nemer | Shipping Solutions News & Tips

You’ve probably heard the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” which was printed on motivational posters in 1939 by the British government to raise the morale of the British people during WWII. Today it pops up on coffee mugs and t-shirts with all kinds of advice to keep calm about one thing or another.

I think it also applies to filing through AES. I often get calls from customers who have clicked the AES button in Shipping Solutions, uploaded their information to AESDirect, and then are stymied by the error messages on the orange AESDirect screen. But if one just stays calm and reads what they say, they are often simple to solve.

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The Art and Science of Packing a Shipping Container—Part 1

11/3/14 10:23 AM | Robert Smith | Logistics
If you don’t think it’s important to put some real thought into how you pack your shipping containers, keep this in mind: Losses from improperly packed containers add up to $5 billion a year worldwide. In addition to the loss of your own cargo, shippers who incorrectly pack their containers are liable for damages caused to other containers and the vessel itself. Worse yet, cargo insurance doesn’t cover these losses if the shipper is proven to be negligent.

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The Beginner's Introduction to Incoterms

10/29/14 9:00 AM | David Noah | Incoterms

An Introduction to Incoterms for Beginners

Part 1: What are Incoterms?

Today, we’re going to take a look at Incoterms—what they are and how they originated. Next time, we’ll discuss how to apply Incoterms, how exporters benefit from them, and why they matter, so stay tuned!

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