Exporters should seriously consider having the freight forwarder handle the formidable amount of documentation that exporting requires; freight forwarders are specialists in this process. The following documents are commonly used in exporting; which of them are actually used in each case depends on the requirements of both our government and the government of the importing country.
- 1. Commercial invoice
- 2. Bill of lading
- 3. Consular invoice
- 4. Certificate of origin
- 5. Inspection certification
- 6. Dock receipt and warehouse receipt
- 7. Destination control statement
- 8. Insurance certificate
- 9. Export license
- 10. Export packing list
STEP1: Enquiry :
The starting point for any Export Transaction is an enquiry.
An enquiry for product should, inter alia, specify the following details or provide the following data
Size details - Std. or oversize or undersize
Drawing, if available
Sample, if possible
Is the price required on FOB or C& F or CIF basis
Mode of Dispatch - Sea, air or Sea/air
Mode of Packing
Terms of Payment that would be acceptable to the Buyer - If the buyer proposes to open any Letter of Credit, any specific requirement to be complied with by the Exporter
Is there any requirement of Pre-shipment inspection and if so, by which agency
Any Certificate of Origin required - If so, from what agency.
STEP 2: - Proforma generation :
After studying the enquiry in detail, the exporter - be it Manufacturer Exporter or Merchant Exporter - will provide a Proforma Invoice to the Buyer.
STEP 3: Order placement :
If the offer is acceptable to the Buyer in terms of price, delivery and payment terms, the Buyer will then place an order on the Exporter, giving as much data as possible in terms of specifications, Part No. Quantity etc. (No standard format is required for such a purchase order)
STEP 4: Order acceptance :
It is advisable that the Exporter immediately acknowledges receipt of the order, giving a schedule for the delivery committed.
STEP 5: Goods readiness & documentation :
Once the goods are ready duly packed in Export worthy cases/cartons (depending upon the mode of despatch), the Invoice is prepared by the Exporter.
If the number of packages is more than one, a packing list is a must.
Even If the goods to be exported are excisable, no excise duty need be charged at the time of Export, as export goods are exempt from Central Excise, but the AR4 procedure is to be followed for claiming such an exemption.
Similarly, no Sales Tax also is payable for export of goods.
STEP 6: Goods removal from works :
There are different procedures for removing Export consignments to the Port, following the AR4 procedure, but it would be advisable to get the consignment sealed by the Central Excise authorities at the factory premises itself, so that open inspection by Customs authorities at the Port can be avoided.
If export consignments are removed from the factory of manufacture, following the AR4 procedure, claiming exemption of excise duty, there is an obligation cast on the exporter to provide proof of export to the Central Excise authorities
STEP 7: Documents for C & F agent :
The Exporter is expected to provide the following documents to the Clearing & Forwarding Agents, who are entrusted with the task of shipping the consignments, either by air or by sea.
Declaration in Form SDF (to meet the requirements as per FERA) in duplicate.
AR4 - first and the second copy
Any other declarations, as required by Customs
On account of the introduction of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system for processing shipping bills electronically at most of the locations - both for air or sea consignments - the C&F Agents are required to file with Customs the shipping documents, through a particular format, which will vary depending on the nature of the shipment. Broad categories of export shipments are:
Under claim of Drawback of duty
Without claim of Drawback
Export by a 100% EOU
Under DEPB Scheme
STEP 8: Customs Clearance :
After assessment of the shipping bill and examination of the cargo by Customs (where required), the export consignments are permitted by Customs for ultimate Export. This is what the concerned Customs officials call the ‘LET EXPORT’ endorsement on the shipping bill.
STEP 9: Document Forwarding :
After completing the shipment formalities, the C & F Agents are expected to forward to the Exporter the following documents:
Customs signed Export Invoice & Packing List
Duplicate of Form SDF
Exchange control copy of the Shipping Bill, processed electronically
AR4 (original duplicate) duly endorsed by Customs for having effected the Export
Bill of Lading or Airway bill, as the case may be.
STEP 10: Bills negotiation :
With these authenticated shipping documents, the Exporter will have to negotiate the relevant export bill through authorized dealers of Reserve Bank, viz., Banks.
Under the Generalized System of Preference, imports from developing countries enjoy certain duty concessions, for which the exporters in the developing countries are expected to furnish the GSP Certificate of Origin to the Bankers, along with other shipping documents.
Broadly, payment terms can be:
Letter of Credit, payable at sight or payable at... days.
Step11: Bank to bank documents forwarding :
The negotiating Bank will scrutinize the shipping documents and forward them to the Banker of the importer, to enable him clear the consignment.
It is expected of such authorized dealers of Reserve Bank to ensure receipt of export proceeds, which factor has to be intimated to the Reserve Bank by means of periodical Returns.
STEP 12: Customs obligation discharge :
As indicated above, Exporters are also expected to provide proof of export to the Central Excise authorities, on the basis of the Customs endorsements made on the reverse of AR4s and get their obligation, on this score, discharged.
STEP 13: Receipt of Bank certificate :
Authorized dealers will issue Bank Certificates to the exporter, once the payment is received and only with the issuance of the Bank Certificate, the export transaction becomes complete.
It is mandatory on the part of the Exporters to negotiate the shipping documents only through authorized dealers of Reserve Bank, as only through such a system Reserve Bank can ensure receipt of export proceeds for goods shipped out of this country.