23 Mar All the commercial documents required for exporting in the agri-food sector
Exporting is a great growth opportunity for companies in the agri-food industry as it allows them to reach new markets, diversify risk, project a sturdier corporate image, gain competitive and profitable advantage, increase revenues and boost brand positioning.
Nonetheless, taking the first steps in exporting is not feasible without extensive sector expertise and understanding the requirements, including all the mandatory documentation. Various commercial, transport and customs documents need to be drawn up, namely:
- Commercial documentation: a proforma invoice, a non-commercial invoice (with value for statistical purposes), a commercial invoice and a packing list.
- Transport documentation: a bill of lading (B/L), an air waybill (AWB), a forwarder’s cargo receipt (FCR), a CMR consignment note and transport insurance policy or certificate.
- Customs documentation: a Single Administrative Document (SAD) and certificates of origin.
This is a hefty amount of “paperwork” that is mandatory for any purchase and sale of products in the agri-food industry (and in any other). In this instance we will focus on the commercial documentation required for exporting in the agri-food sector.
But before reading on, a word of caution! If you are thinking about getting started in export, keep in mind that you must first apply for registration of your company as an exporter with the competent authorities.
COMMERCIAL DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED FOR EXPORTING
Commercial documentation concerns all written receipts used to record the transactions undertaken in commercial activity. They are essential for monitoring all the actions carried out in a company and are of vital importance as they define the legal relationship between the parties to a commercial transaction.
The proforma invoice is a pre-invoice document that is normally issued after submitting a quote that has been accepted. It serves as proof of a commercial transaction that has yet to take place. It is essentially an estimate made for practical purposes with no commercial or customs value.
The data to include are: date of issue; seller and buyer’s details; description of the operation (concept, quantity, unit price, etc.); the Incoterm applied; validity; and total price.
The non-commercial invoice is only valid for statistical purposes. In other words, it has no commercial value and is not subject to economic consideration between the parties. However, it does have customs value.
It should be borne in mind that, since it has a value for statistical purposes, this value must be the same as if it were a commercial operation.
The data to include are: date of issue; seller and buyer’s details; description of the operation (concept, quantity, unit price, etc.); and the Incoterm applied.
The commercial invoice is a mandatory document for transporting and selling goods. It is issued by the exporter in the name of the importer and serves as proof of the transaction.
It has commercial value and customs value and is subject to economic consideration between the parties. The data to include are: date of issue; seller and buyer’s details; description of the operation (concept, quantity, unit price, etc.); the Incoterm applied; and total price.
The packing list is an important document required for compliance with customs procedures. It is a list of all the goods to be exported, as well as their quantity, weight and dimensions.
It is especially useful in facilitating the customs process, above all in the case of using sea or air freight for exports. A mandatory document in both types of shipment is the bill of lading.
In addition, the packing list helps to avoid blocking of goods at customs as customs agents are able to identify them more swiftly. Similarly, checking the document allows to detect any goods that are not allowed to enter the country of destination.
It has no commercial value and can be included in the commercial or non-commercial invoice. Moreover, it can be used to declare the number as authorised and registered exporter.
The data to include are: date of issue; seller and buyer’s details; description of the goods; number of packages; unit/goods dimensions; unit/goods gross weight; and unit/goods net weight.
That is all regarding the commercial documentation required for exporting and compliance with the law. But one more thing – if you are thinking about getting started in export or you have already taken the first steps, remember that there are real people behind all that paperwork who make every operation possible. Therefore, show your willingness to help in the process beyond the documentation. Offering advice is not a legal requirement, but it guarantees to consolidate your company as an export professional.