Read Time: 4 min.
If you are an exporter or considering entering the global export market, you probably already know the potential. The export industry can be highly profitable if you follow the rules and adhere to all the guidelines. However, it can go the other way very quickly if you don’t have all your paperwork, packaging, and documentation in order.
We created this guide to provide you with a detailed overview of export procedures and documentation so you can look forward to business growth and success.
The Basics: What is an Export?
In simple terms, an export is any item that you ship outside of your home country. This includes goods, services, data, and even documents transmitted electronically, like manuals or email attachments. Even if the item is only leaving the country temporarily, it is considered an export and therefore subject to export legislation.
The Who: People and Organizations Involved in Your Export Journey
Here are some of the key players you’ll deal with as an exporter.
1. The exporter (that’s you!)
2. Your shipping department/personnel is responsible for specific paperwork, such as packing slips, commercial invoices, certificates of origin, bills of lading, and more. These documents can often be submitted electronically.
3. A freight forwarder can arrange transport, pack your goods, and take care of certain paperwork if you don’t have time to do it yourself.
4. Inland carriers pick up your goods and transport them to the warehouse at either end.
The Role of Licensed Customs Brokers in Facilitating International Trade
5. U.S. Department of Commerce (includes State, Treasury, and other agencies). These agencies publish regulations that apply to exports. They also outline any certifications or licensing that must be in place, if applicable. You need to know whether your goods require an export license before you ship. Most shipping software can help you understand your obligations and ensure you are compliant.
6. International carriers include ships, trucks, trains, or airplanes. They will require a bill of lading before they can move your goods outside of the country. A freight forwarder can handle this for you.
7. Foreign Customs Agencies oversee customs regulations in the country you are shipping to. You’ll need to ensure you are compliant with their rules, so your shipment is not delayed to its destination.
8. Intermediate Consignees sometimes take possession of your goods to clear them through foreign customs before moving on to the final destination.
9. Banks in the U.S. and the destination country will handle wire transfers and deal with currency conversions. If you need certain paperwork to get paid, the banks will generally control that process as well. To ensure you get paid on time, you will need to complete and submit the appropriate documents based on the terms and conditions in the destination country.
10. The Buyer. Your buyer—the end-user or importer—takes possession of your goods at the other end. This individual or organization is also known as the “Ultimate Consignee” or the “Foreign Principal Party.”
Export procedures are a complex process, and it’s vital to surround yourself with partners who can support you at every stage. In part 2 of our export procedures and documentation guide, we’ll look at incoterms, classification, compliance, procedures, and ways DTS World Cargo can help.