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What is a SLI in NCBFAA Format?
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.
Key Data Elements
Think of the standard format SLI as a cover memo for the rest of the export documents that includes:
- The name and contact information of the freight forwarder, exporter, ultimate consignee and intermediate consignee;
- Information about the products being shipped, including a description of the goods, how they are packed, any special markings on the packing, and their weights and measurements;
- Any export control information that may be used to determine whether or not there are any restrictions on exporting the goods;
- Who is paying for the freight;
- Whether or not the goods should be shipped directly or consolidated with other freight, which may reduce the cost of the shipping;
- Whether or not insurance is required for the shipment;
- What other documents are being included with the shipment; and
- Any other special instructions to the forwarder or carrier.
Foreign Trade Regulations require that you provide at least these 10 data elements:
- The name, as well as the address of the USPPI;
- The employer identification number or other tax identification number of the USPPI;
- The point of origin for the merchandise awaiting exportation;
- The appropriate merchandise code, Domestic (D) or Foreign (F);
- The appropriate Schedule B number;
- The appropriate Schedule B description of commodities;
- The appropriate quantity and unit of measure;
- The appropriate value;
- The appropriate export control classification number (ECCN) or enough technical information to determine the ECCN; and
- Sufficient technical information to determine which U.S. government agency has licensing authority over the goods.
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