Answer to this question lies in the nature of the business relations between the exporter and the importer operating from two countries. One knows, unlike the domestic business, the commercial practices and legal systems are different in the two countries the exporter and importer are operating from.
Therefore, in order to protect the respective interests of the exporter and the importer involved in export business, certain documentary formalities become essential. Such documentation facilitates the smooth flow of goods and payments thereof across national frontiers.
This is the first basic and the only complete document in an export transaction. It is, in fact, a document of contents containing information about goods. Harmonized System Nomenclature (HSN), price charged, the terms of shipment and marks and numbers on the packages containing the merchandise.
Besides commercial invoice, there is a proforma invoice also. The importer requires this document for obtaining an import license and opening a letter of credit in favour of the exporter.
Bill of lading (B/L) is a document which is issued by the shipping company acknowledging that the goods mentioned therein are either being shipped or have been shipped. This is also an undertaking that the goods in like order and condition as received will be delivered to the consignee, provided that the freight specified therein has been duly paid.
In air carriage, the transport document is known as the airway bill. This document performs three functions of a forwarding note for the goods, receipt for the goods tendered, and authority to obtain delivery of goods. Since it is non-negotiable, so it does not carry the same validity as a bill of lading for sea transport carries.
Bill of exchange is an instrument or draft used for the payment in international / export business. It is an instrument in writing containing an unconditional order, signed by the marker, directing a certain person to pay a certain sum of money only to or to the order of a person or to the bearer of the instrument. The person to whom the bill of exchange is addressed is to pay either on demand or at a fixed or a determinable future.
It is a written instrument issued by the buyer’s (importer’s) bank, authorising the seller (exporter) to draw in accordance with certain terms and stipulating in a legal form that all such bills (drafts) will be honoured. Letter of credit provides the exporter with more security than open accounts or bills of exchange.
The shipping bill is the main document on the basis of which the custom’s permission for export is given. Post parcel consignment requires customs declaration form to be filled in.
It is the basic instrument in marine insurance. A marine policy is a contract and a legal document which serves as evidence of the agreement between the insurer and the assured. The policy must be produced to press a claim in a court of law. An exporter must also put up the marine insurance policy as a collateral security when he gets an advance against his bank Credit.
Exporters desirous of availing themselves of the benefits of the import policy are required to register themselves with the appropriate registering authority such as Export Promotion Councils (EPC), Commodity Boards and Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCIE), New Delhi.
The application for registration should be accompanied by a certificate from the exporter’s bankers in regard to his financial soundness. In case of a firm having branches, the application for registration shall be submitted only by the Head Office.
Manufacturer- exporters may apply to the Director of Export Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, for replenishment of the indigenous materials used in the manufacture of goods for export.
For claiming this incentive, the main document is the customs attested drawback copy of shipping bill. This is to be accompanied by other documents such as drawback payment order, final commercial invoice and a copy of bill of lading or airway bill, as the case may be.
For claiming REP license and cash compensatory support (CCS), the exporter is required to prepare and file a number of documents.
The main documents in this regard are:
In case of export business, the importing countries need some documents because of the legal necessity. These documents are obtained by the exporter and are sent to the importer.
It is usually issued on the specified form by the consulate of the importing country situated in the exporting country. It gives a declaration about the true value of goods shipped. The customs authorities of importing company charge valorem based on the value mentioned on consular invoice.
This certificate is issued by the independent bodies like chamber of commerce or export promotion council in the exporting country. This is a certification that the goods being exported were actually produced in that particular country.
Goods which get the benefit preferential import-duty treatment in countries which implement the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) should be accompanied by the GSP certificate of origin. This certificate is given on the forms prescribed by the importing countries.
It is also made out on a specified form prescribed by the customs authority of the importing country. The details given on the document will enable the customs authority of the importing country to levy and charge import duty.
This is the self-certified invoice by the exporter about the origin of the goods.