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Most businesses who "export" are not really in the exporting business.  What their success actually depends on, is designing, manufacturing and marketing of their products.

Shipping goods out of the country and collecting payment can sap the company's resources. Often the vital support role is left to staff who does not have the expertise to figure out the complex procedures or prepare unusual  paperwork!

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Basics of exporting: Tons of export documents.

 Documentation often depends on the country of import, specific trade agreement or regulation, the value of the shipment, the method of payment and mode of transport and usually includes the following:

Bill of Lading
Certificate of Inspection
Certificate of Insurance
Certificate of Origin
Certificate of Weight

Certificate for Mexico
Commercial Invoice
Consular Invoice
Customs Form CF349
Delivery Order/Dock Receipt
Distribution License
Forwarder's Export Invoice
Letter of Credit
Letter of Distribution
Loss and Damage Claim
Manufacturer's Certificate
Packing List
Phytosanitary Certification
Power of Attorney
Pro forma Invoice
Shipper's Export Declaration
Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods
Shipper's Letter of Instruction
Transmittal Letter

Product Specific Documentation

When shipping a product overseas, the exporter must be aware of packing, labeling, documentation, and insurance requirements.

The average international shipment involves 46 separate documents. The specific documents required for any given shipment depend on U.S. Government regulations, the importing countryís regulations, the importerís requirements, terms of sale, method of payment and mode of transportation.

Slight discrepancies or omissions in documentation may prevent goods from being exported, may result in the shipper not getting paid or may even result in seizure of the goods by customs agents. Completion of much of the documentation is routine for freight forwarders or customs brokers, but the exporter is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the documentation. As such, documentation becomes a crucial function of the export process.

Most exporters rely on an international freight forwarder to perform these services because of the multitude of considerations involved in physically exporting goods.

Shipping and receiving country requirements, in terms of sale and method of payment, typically dictate the required export documents. Exporters must prepare all documents with absolute accuracy. Therefore, new exporters should consider obtaining the advice and securing the services of a competent freight forwarder, in order to ensure compliance with all necessary documentary requirements.

Thorough, timely and professionally prepared documentation is one of the keys to success in the export business and cannot be undervalued.   Your freight forwarder can be an invaluable source of information on markets, packing, and shipping costs, as well as documentation for export transactions.

EXPORT CONTROLS  .Fortunately for U.S. exporters, information regarding trade laws and regulations are now readily available.  As always, the success of these regulations in furthering U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives ultimately depends on U.S. companiesí active participation and support.

WHAT IS AN EXPORT LICENSE AND DO ALL U.S. EXPORTS REQUIRE ONE? An export license grants permission to conduct a certain type of export transaction. It is issued by the appropriate licensing agency after a careful review of the facts surrounding the given export transaction. Not all exports require a license. In fact, a relatively small percentage of all U.S. export transactions require licenses from the U.S. government. However, the characteristics of your product are key elements of any transaction. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for licensing products that are "dual-use," or have both commercial and military or proliferation applications. The first step to establishing whether a dual-use product requires a license is to find the productís Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) on the Commerce Control List (CCL).  Once the ECCN number is determined, the specialists at BIS can also help you navigate the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to find out whether you must apply for a license and how to submit the requisite application.

 If you discover that your product does not fall into one of the specific categories listed in the EAR, then EAR99 is a designation for dual-use goods that are covered by the EAR but are not specifically listed on the Commerce Control List. EAR99 items can be shipped without a license to most destinations under most circumstances. In fact, the majority of commercial exports from the United States fall into this category.