Import export documents. Documentation Bill of Lading


Learning unit: Import export documents. Syllabus:

- Import export documents. Documentation in International trade.
- Documents of origin (Certificate of origin)
- Commercial documents (Proforma, Invoice, Packing List...).
- Transport documents.
- Administrative documents.
- Other documents.
- Case study: Exporting fish to Angola.


The main objectives of this learning unit are to learn about different types of documents used in Foreign trade (import and export), which documents are usually required by customs, the requirements for various documents and how to fill in these documents correctly.

In this unit you will: learn about the various types of documents used in foreign trade.

This will be achieved by:

  • Analyzing the various classifications and requirements of export documents.
  • Learning what functions export documents perform.
  • Learning the different types of documents of origin that evidence the origin of products.
  • Analyzing the various commercial and administrative documents.
  • Examining other documents that may be required in International business transactions.

Learning unit summary (Import export documents)

Most International trade transactions require some transport documents, administrative documents, commercial documents and insurance documents.

There are a great variety of documents that may need to be produced to complete export/import transactions; some estimates indicate 200 different documents are used in foreign trade.

However, in most export transactions, only a few certain documents are used (invoice, packing list and transport document.).

Sample of the learning unit Import export documents:
Export Documents

This learning unit "Import export documents" is part of the:

Learning materials En or Fr Documents En Documentos Pt Documentos.

Documents fulfill the following functions:

  • Proof of contract. Documents such as transport documents (bill of lading), insurance documents, etc. Evidence the existence of contracts of sale and conditions stipulated there.
  • Title to the products. Certain transport documents represent title to the products, that is, they give the right to collect the products from the carrier (just as a bank draft gives you the right to collect funds against the drawer).
    - Information. Certain documents provide information on the price for the products (invoice), the contents of package units (packing list), etc.
  • Customs. The customs of the country of destination require documents that evidence the origin of the products, etc. In order to establish whether the products are importable to the country and in order to charge appropriate taxes and duties.
  • Proof of compliance. Certain documents serve as proof that the conditions stipulated in the contract of sale are complied with, such as date of shipment (transport documents), the origin of the products (Certificate of origin), etc.

The objective of these documents is to show where the products originated. Therefore, they play an important role in order to establish the taxes and duties to be paid on the products at the customs. One must find out what type of document exactly is required at the customs in order to be able to benefit from possible reduced tariffs.

Documentation foreign trade

China Costa Rica Agreement


India Chile Trade Agreement

SADC Certificate of Origin

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