The main documents for foreign trade

The main documents in foreign trade

While it is true that international logistics has advanced in the technological field by modernizing processes and documents that are requested when exporting or importing there are still several physical documents that companies must have.

The diversity of laws by country or market means that the documents used in international logistics have not only differential characteristics, but the same document can vary substantially depending on the country of destination. In general, the most common documents are:

The commercial invoice

It is the document used to describe the delivered goods, their price, their weights and measures or to detail any other characteristics that the seller deems necessary to describe the transaction. In many cases the invoice is the only document that shows the existence of a contract, which makes it a more important document if possible.

The transport document

Evidence of the existence of the contract of carriage and the characteristics of that contract: consignor, consignee, origin, destination, details of receipt, freight, etc. Depending on the means of transport used, the document is different. Thus, Bill of Lading is used in maritime transport, which, unlike other transport documents, is a title document conferring possession rights on the goods. Other common transport documents are the Air Waybill or road freight letter (known as CMR).

The certificate of origin

Document certifying the origin of the goods and which may be necessary for the purpose of calculating customs duties.



Other documents used in foreign trade are the packing list, the weight list, the inspection certificate, the health certificate or the customs invoice.  They are generally issued by authorized agencies such as chambers of commerce or government agencies.

Let yourself be advised by an expert and contact us to guide you with the documents required to take or enter your goods from the country. 

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