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3 Things You Need to Know about the Bill of Lading Form

David Noah | May 13, 2020 | Export Forms

Are you a new exporter looking for a primer on bills of lading? Or maybe you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum—a seasoned professional seeking a reference or training tool.

Either way, this article is for you! We’ll explain, in simple terms, three things you need to know about the bill of lading form.

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8 Documents Required for International Shipping

David Noah | May 4, 2020 | Export Forms

You’ve heard people talk about how to do the sexy part of exporting—the research, the schmoozing, the travel, and all the marketing and sales stuff that people think about when they think about the glamour of international trade.

But what I want to talk about is the not-so-sexy part of exporting: documents required for international shipping. It’s the stuff you need to do—and do correctly—to successfully deliver goods and make money. I’d argue that this not-so-sexy part of exporting is more important than the sexier side, but maybe that’s just because it’s what I’ve been focusing on for the past 22 years. 

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6 Reasons Not to Use Word Templates for Your Export Documents

David Noah | April 27, 2020 | Export Forms

In Minnesota, you go out of your way to celebrate the end of winter, because up here, it lasts a very long time.

The first snow of the season fell in Minnesota on October 3, 2019. And the last winter storm (at least I hope it's the last) dumped 10 inches of snow in the state on April 12, 2020.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate the end of winter is by grilling in the backyard.

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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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FAQ: Creating a Certificate of Origin for Your Exports

David Noah | February 12, 2020 | Export Basics, Export Forms

Since Shipping Solutions unveiled its online portal for generating electronic Certificates of Origin (eCO) in April 2019, almost a thousand U.S. exporters have registered for free for the service and successfully generated hundreds of Certificates stamped by the American World Trade Chamber of Commerce (AWTCC). By utilizing the eCO portal, these companies have reduced the time and expense they’ve traditionally spent on creating their Certificates.

During the past several months as we’ve talked with users and prospective users of the eCO service, we’ve compiled a list of several frequently asked questions (FAQ) that we posed to Wendy Baggett, president of AWTCC, the Chamber that stamps the Certificates created through the portal:

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Export Invoice vs. Accounting Invoice: What's the Difference?

David Noah | February 10, 2020 | Export Forms

Invoices play an important role in the export process. The invoice is the single document that describes the entire export transaction from start to finish.

When completed properly, the invoice provides important information to the buyer, freight forwarder, customs, the bank, and other parties in the international transaction. Done wrong, it can cause confusion, delays and disagreements.

Too many exporters—particularly new exporters—don't understand how the invoices they prepare for their exports often require more information than they may include on the invoices they use for their domestic sales. I get too many calls from exporters whose shipments are stuck in customs, or they're having trouble getting paid because their invoice is incomplete.

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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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10 Time-Saving Tips for Creating and Organizing Your Export Documents

David Noah | December 11, 2019 | Export Compliance, Export Forms

When I first talk to exporters frustrated by the amount of time it takes to complete their export documentation, they often tell me they can spend two hours or more on every single shipment. If they have multiple export orders to ship, the time they have left to do any other part of their job is virtually nil.

A typical export shipment can require five or more documents including a commercial invoice, a packing list, a shipper’s letter of instruction, a bill of lading, and a certificate of origin. On top of that, a shipment valued at more than $2,500 per Schedule B code needs to be filed electronically through the Automated Export System (AES). And, of course, every shipment, regardless of value, needs to be screened against U.S. export regulations.

It’s easy to see why it can take so long!

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10 Items That Belong on Your Export Commercial Invoices

Catherine J. Petersen | December 2, 2019 | Export Basics, Export Forms

A commercial invoice is a formal request of reimbursement by the seller to the buyer. For your export shipments, it can serve several added functions:

  • The destination country requires it before clearing the goods through customs.
  • If there is an insurance claim on the shipment, it serves as a key supporting document.
  • The buyer uses it to release funds through its bank to the seller.
  • A bank examines it before reimbursing funds under a letter of credit or documentary collection.
  • U.S. export regulations require that exporters retain it for five years from date of shipment.
  • Exporters can use it to support foreign credit risk insurance claims.

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