International trading definitely yields sure-shot success and profit, but it also carries with it a number of complicated legal processes. For every export business that you carry out with a foreign country, there is a legal procedure that needs to be followed. And every export business procedure requires a number of documents attested by the authority in order to have the legal permission from the exporting as well as the importing country. This export documentation ensures a smooth flow of trade between the two countries without any hindrance.
These documents are categorized into four heads, namely commercial documents, regulatory documents, export assistance documents and documents required by the importing country. Each of these has been discussed below.
i) Commercial Invoice
All the information about the goods that are being exported is incorporated in the commercial invoice. The type of good, price, quantity, shipping terms, HSN (Harmonized System Nomenclature) etc are all included in this document. It is required for getting the inspection certificate, excise clearance, custom clearance, company compensatory support and import license.
ii) Pro Forma Invoice
This is the invoice sent by the supplier to the importer before dispatching the shipment. It can also be treated as a ‘confirmed purchase order’. While commercial invoice is used to convey the payment, this invoice is basically used to tell the details and specifications of goods, their quantity and quality.
iii) Bill of Lading (B/L)
This bill is issued by the shipping company informing that the goods have been shipped or are about to be shipped from their end. It contains the consignor’s name, consignee’s name, product description, details about the vessel, dates of transportation, number of packages, marks of the packages, weight of the goods being shipped and the freight rate. B/L is used as a contract of affreightment and receiving receipt.
iv) Bill of Exchange (B/E)
Bill of exchange or B/E is used in the international market which is used to get easy payment. It contains unconditional order asking the drawee (Importer) to make a payment of certain sum to the payee (Exporter). The drawee has to accept the bill by signing it and make the payment either immediately or at a decided time.
v) Air Waybill (AWB)
If the goods are shipped via the airways, then air waybill serves three important functions. These are forwarding note for goods, receipt of the goods and acts as a contract between the carrier and the shipper. It is non-negotiable and thus does not talk about the flight details or the date of shipment and arrival.
vi) Letter of Credit (L/C)
This is a written commitment which legally binds the importer or buyer to pay a certain sum of money to the exporter or the seller. A Letter of Credit can be of three types based on the type of payment that the buyer is obliged to make. It can be revocable/irrevocable, confirmed/unconfirmed and with or without a recourse.
i) Legal Documents For export From
There are two types of documents required while exporting; one is the document needed for registration and the other is document needed for shipment. One requires the code number from RBI, code number of importer and exporter from Chief Controller of Importers & Exporters and a Registration-cum-membership-certificate. On the other hand, shipment documents include GR Form, PP Form, VP/COD Form, EP Form and SOFTEX Form.
ii) Shipping Bill
This document is required for the gaining custom’s permission for export. The customs authority has three types of shipping bills with themselves. These are free shipping bill, dutiable shipping bill, drawback shipping bill.
iii) Marine Insurance Policy
Marine insurance policy is required by the exporter as a collateral security if he wishes to any advance against the bank credit. These are nothing but legal documents or contract between the assured and the insurer.
i) Registration Application Form
Exporters need to register themselves with authority like EPC or CCIE. The bank statement of financial status of exporter needs to be accompanied with this registration form.
ii) Allotment of Indigenous Raw Materials on Priority Basis
The documents required by various ministries whose raw materials you are using for manufacturing goods you are exporting.
iii) Duty drawback
These are the documents required to avail incentives. These documents are shipping bill, final commercial invoice, drawback payment order and B/L or AWB.
iv) REP License and CSS
If you seek REP license or cash compensatory support, then you require application form, acknowledgement slip, bank challan, advance receipt, shipping bill and B/L or AWB.
i) Consular Invoice
These are issued by the consulates of importing country residing in the exporting country. One needs to pay valorem to the customs authority of importing company based on the true value of goods declared on the consular invoice.
ii) Certificate of Origin
This certificate carries legal value stating that goods have been manufactured in the exporting country only. It is issued by various independent bodies of the country.
iii) GSP Certificate of Origin
Goods that demand special treatment are given the certificate of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
iv) Customs Invoice
This custom invoice is issued by the customs authority of the importing country. One needs to pay import duty on the basis of this document.
v) Certified Invoice
This document contains a certificate that is self-certified by the exporter and states about the origin of the goods.
Whether you want to import goods or want to supply your goods to a certain country, it is inevitable that you comply with the rules and regulations set out by them so as to ensure smooth transfer of goods and payment transactions. Keep the above-mentioned documents handy to carry out easy trade.
Documentation is very important and helpful in future use. It is your reference if something went wrong so you can figure out what is the cause and can easily come up with sulotion. Or a reference when you done something successful to make a plan about to improve even more.