In addition to a commercial invoice, certificate of origin, and packing list, an exporter will often prepare a Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) that conveys instructions to his or her freight forwarder.
An SLI also typically includes a limited Power of Attorney statement that gives the freight forwarder the authority to sign documents on behalf of the exporter.
Preparing and submitting an SLI provides your company with 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 information that was used to support the decision to export the goods.
If your export shipment requires that you or your agent file your export information electronically through the Automated Export System (AES), the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) has created a specific version of the SLI that includes the additional information required for a freight forwarder to file through AES.
This version of the SLI typically includes an additional statement granting the forwarder this right to file through AES on behalf of the exporter.
Think of the standard format SLI as a cover memo for the rest of the export documents that includes:
Foreign Trade Regulations require that you provide at least these 10 data elements:
By using the SLI in NCBFAA format, your firm will have a model that is easy to use, provides the necessary data to the freight forwarder or your internal team member who is completing the AES filing, and supports your firm’s export compliance efforts.
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