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Catherine J. Petersen

In 1992, Catherine Petersen founded C J Petersen & Associates, LLC, a research, instruction and consulting firm located in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. She has designed documentation and procedure manuals for exporters and has authored/co-authored five books:

Ms. Petersen has had day-to-day practical experience at a freight forwarder, a trading company, and an ocean carrier; she has been active in international business since 1980. Her background led her to develop C J Petersen & Associates, LLC, which is a collaborative consultancy that works with clients to identify compliance gaps and to resolve them. Ms. Petersen is a speaker and instructor at U.S. and foreign venues.

She holds both graduate and undergraduate degrees in regional planning from Mankato State University, Minnesota, and she is a Licensed Customs Broker with a Permit from Minneapolis Port Office of US Customs & Border Protection. She has also completed the ICC Incoterms® 2010 online training and received the ICC Certificate of Achievement in 2011. She has been awarded the Certified Customs Specialist certification by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America.

Ms. Petersen has been appointed by U.S. Trade Representative and Secretary of Commerce to the International Trade Advisory Committee on Customs Matters and Trade Facilitation (ITAC14).

She has been active in several organizations including the Minnesota District Export Council, University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies Logistics Task Force, Twin Cities Roundtable Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Midwest Global Trade Association of Minnesota, Global Minnesota, and the International Transportation Committee of the Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C.

Articles Written By Catherine J. Petersen

Getting Paid for Your Exports: Payment Options for International Transactions

Catherine J. Petersen | March 8, 2021 | Export Finance

As an exporter, you focus on selling your goods and getting paid for those sales. How you structure those sales and the payment option you choose will increase the likelihood of both.

You and your customer will assess many factors as you negotiate the payment term that will be used for your export transaction. They include, but are not limited to:

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Getting Paid for Your Exports: Required  Documents

Catherine J. Petersen | February 8, 2021 | Export Forms

What's the point of exporting if you don't get paid for your goods? Providing the correct export documents will help ensure you get paid in a timely manner.

The export quotation is often the first document you'll need to prepare.

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FCA Incoterms 2020: A Replacement for the Domestic Trade Term FOB

Catherine J. Petersen | December 28, 2020 | Incoterms

Companies that ship domestically within the United States often use the trade term FOB—Free On Board. But FOB has a completely different meaning under the international trade terms, Incoterms 2020. Exporters who want to use the international equivalent to FOB often use the Incoterm FCA—Free Carrier At.

Like all 11 of the 2020 Incoterms rules, FCA identifies whether it is the seller or the buyer who pays the domestic, international and on-carriage freight charges. So, let’s compare the domestic use of FOB with the international use of FCA.

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Using Incoterms 2020 Rules to Finalize Your Export Sales Contract

Catherine J. Petersen | September 21, 2020 | Incoterms

Before you calculate your final selling price and negotiate a sales contract, you and your buyer must agree upon who is responsible for the expense of transporting and insuring the merchandise from the time it leaves your plant or warehouse to the time it arrives at your customer's premises.

To assist in this process, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has created a generally accepted, readily understandable nomenclature called Incoterms 2020 that defines the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller in the various transportation options.

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Schedule B Codes: 6 vs. 10 Digits

Catherine J. Petersen | August 24, 2020 | Export Basics

Dear Cathy:

During the past year, we have been working diligently to ensure that our documents clearly reflect all the details and information needed for export and import clearance. This has included a project to ensure that our classifications for export are accurate.

We are stymied now. The question that we are trying to resolve at this moment is whether we should report the six-digit portion of the Schedule B code number or the full 10-digit number on our commercial invoices.

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Using the Right Certificate of Origin for Your Exports

Catherine J. Petersen | July 20, 2020 | Export Forms, Free Trade Agreements

As an exporter, you are required to provide documents to accompany your international shipments. The number and kinds of documents that you must prepare will vary depending on where, what and how you are shipping.

A certificate of origin (COO) may be one of the export forms you need to produce.

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5 Reasons You Need a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction for Your Exports

Catherine J. Petersen | June 29, 2020 | Automated Export System (AES), Export Forms

When it comes to preparing export paperwork, the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) is one document that many exporters are inexplicably reluctant to prepare. They shouldn’t be.

By completing an SLI and sending it to the freight forwarder, you are establishing a best practice for your firm. You have a written record of who received the shipping documents, who to contact for questions, who to contact for proof of export, and who issued the export control documentation that supports the decision to send your products to your foreign customer.

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The Importance of an Export Packing List for Your International Shipments

Catherine J. Petersen | March 23, 2020 | Export Forms

Documenting your international shipments does not begin and end with the commercial invoice. A commercial invoice is not a substitute for a packing list, and a packing list is not a substitute for a commercial invoice.

The commercial invoice may be first in a line of export documents that you must issue to get your goods shipped from the United States, cleared through customs at the final destination, and delivered to your customer’s warehouse. However, an export packing list provides important information to all the interested parties.

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Defining and Using a Manufacturer’s Affidavit

Catherine J. Petersen | February 17, 2020 | Import Basics, Export Forms

Doing business internationally means responding to requests for certain documents, certain statements on documents, or additional terms and conditions.

When exporting, firms create certain standard documents: a commercial invoice, a packing list, and a certificate of origin. International customers may request additional documents to satisfy their country’s import requirements, letters of credit, sales contracts, or purchase agreements. One of those additional documents is a Manufacturer’s Affidavit.

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Export Invoices: How to Properly Value Free Samples

Catherine J. Petersen | January 20, 2020 | Export Forms

Dear Cathy,

I found an article online that you wrote regarding the value on a commercial invoice titled Repaired Goods: Import and Re-Export. I am a transportation coordinator for my current employer, and there has always been a question in my mind that I'm not sure how to answer.

Many times we ship items to customers free of charge as an incentive for a bulk order or just as samples for them to try out. I've always thought that their actual value must be listed on the commercial invoice whether we charge the customer or not. Usually when I do that, however, I always make a notation on the commercial invoice stating there was no charge to the customer. The value was for customs use only.

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