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Import/Export Documents

Syllabus of the Subject: Import/Export Documents. Documentation for International Trade. Bill of Lading.

  1. Introduction to the Import/Export Documents
  2. Documentation for International Trade
  3. Documents of Origin (Certificate of Origin)
  4. Commercial Documents (Proforma, Invoice, Packing List)
  5. Transport Documents
  6. Administrative Documents
  7. Other Documents
  8. Case Study:
    1. Documents needed for exporting to Brazil
    2. Documentation for exporting fish to Angola

The main purposes of the subject “Import/Export Documents” are to learn about the different types of documents used in the foreign trade (import and export), which documents usually require the customs, the requirements for various documents and how to fill in these documents correctly.

In this subject, the student will learn about the various types of documents used in foreign trade.

This will be achieved by:

  1. Analysing the various classifications and requirements of export documents
  2. Learning what functions export documents perform
  3. Learning the different types of documents of origin that evidence the origin of products
  4. Analysing the various commercial and administrative documents
  5. Examining other documents that may be required in international business transactions
The Subject “Import/Export Documents” is part of the following programs:
  1. Masters (e-learning): International Business, Foreign Trade and Marketing
  2. Diploma in International Trade
  3. Foreign Trade Course
  4. Degree in International Trade

Languages of study English or French Documents Spanish Documentos Portuguese Documentos.

Credits of the subject “Import/Export Documents”: 1 ECTS.

Area of Knowledge: Foreign trade.

Sample of the subject: Import/Export Documents
Export Documents

Description of the Subject: (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).

The documents fulfil the following functions:

  1. Proof of contract. Documents such as transport documents (bill of lading) or insurance documents evidence the existence of contracts of sale, and conditions stipulated there
  2. 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)
  3. Information. Certain documents provide information on the price for the products (invoice), the contents of package units (packing list)
  4. Customs. The customs of the country of destination require documents that evidence the origin of the products to establish whether the products are importable to the country and to charge appropriate taxes and duties
  5. 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) and the origin of the products (Certificate of origin)


The objective of these documents is to show where the products originated. Therefore; they play a major role 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 to be able to benefit from possible reduced tariffs.

Samples - Export Documents

Documentation foreign trade

European Union GSP Form A

United States-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

China-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

India-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

SADC Certificate of Origin

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