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The most important terms and basic definitions in export

There are many terms that the source hears, and this source may be a beginner and does not know what these terms are and what they mean?!! In this article, we will present all the basic terms and definitions with an adequate explanation, which can help exporters to better understand the export process.

Basic tariffs in export:

Bill of Lading

It is a document issued by the carrier company and is considered as a contract of transport between the exporter and the carrier company, as it shows the port of shipment as well as the port of arrival, the means of transportation, freight and how to pay. The bill of lading is considered a confirmation from the carrier that the goods have been received in the ship's holds, and it is also a contract of ownership for the issuer to which the bill describes the goods and the destination to which it is intended.

Airway Bill

It is a document confirming the carrier's receipt and readiness to transport the goods.

 Waybill Road Freight List

It is a written list bearing the names and descriptions of the goods shipped on a wagon, train or car, and it is the official document accepted by the transport company in the event that the owner of the goods asks the transport company or the insurance company to recover the price of what was lost or damaged during shipment.

Free On Board- FOB

Comprehensive guide to the most important terms and basic definitions in export

A pricing method that shows that the price includes the price of the goods loaded on board the tanker in a specific place, and the exporter is no longer responsible for the goods if they are placed on board the ship at the port of embarkation or shipment, and thus the buyer bears all expenses or risks that may incur the goods after placing them on board the ship.

Cost Insurance and Freight - CIF

A pricing method that shows that the price includes the cost of goods, insurance and shipping costs to the point of arrival of the goods in the importing country.

Factory door delivery Ex-Works or EX-Factory

A pricing method that determines the seller's responsibility to prepare the goods for the buyer in the seller's places such as the factory or warehouse, so that the buyer bears all costs of transporting the goods and any risks resulting from receiving the goods from the seller's land to the place of arrival, and this condition represents the minimum obligation of the seller.

Deliver Duty Paid (DDP)

A pricing method that states that the seller fulfills his obligations when the goods are delivered to the buyer clear of import, not from the means of transport at the specified destination, and this condition represents the upper limit of the seller's obligation.


It is the permitted share or quantity of goods imported at a reduced tariff negotiated in a trade agreement between the contracting parties.

Demurrage containers breakdown 

It is a fee paid by the importer for his delay in returning the shipping containers at the target port after giving him a period of one or two weeks, or according to the agreement between him and the shipping company.

Floor or Storage Fees

These are fees for flooring and storage fees in the port yards, paid by the importer or authorized to clear the goods after the grace period has expired.

Customs Duties

Taxes imposed on imported or exported goods. These taxes may be estimated at a percentage of the value of the commodity, or take the form of a fixed amount imposed on the commodity, whatever its value. These are known as specific taxes. Customs duties are mainly used as a means of collecting revenues for the government and protecting local producers from foreign competition.

Certificate of Origin

Comprehensive guide to the most important terms and basic definitions in export

A certificate issued by the Chamber of Commerce in the country of the exporter indicating the place of manufacture or production of the goods to be exported, and it is a necessary document to determine the nationality of the goods in order to estimate the rates of fees that will be levied on them or the preferential transactions that will be granted to them.

Commercial Invoice

The invoice that shows the quantity and value of the goods sent, their specifications and the delivery condition related to the price, issued by the exporter and certified by the Chambers of Commerce.

Tariff Book

This book includes customs tariffs and other import requirements (detailed for each product separately) that the country applies to its imports.

Customs Declaration Form (CDF)

It is an official document prepared by authorized clearing agents who estimate and calculate the customs duties and taxes that will be collected by the customs authorities. The customs declaration must be prepared accurately and in conformity with the cargo manifest submitted by the transport company to the customs authorities in order to avoid paying any customs fines.

Environmental Permit

It is a permit that must be obtained from the authority entrusted with all chemicals and raw materials that are exported.

Bonded Areas

They are areas that are public or private warehouses under the supervision of the customs authorities in which the goods are stored under the supervision of the customs department before they are subject to the clearance procedures. Pay any dues.

Rules of Origin

They are requirements agreed upon within the framework of trade agreements with the aim of determining the country of origin so that it enjoys preferential customs exemptions stipulated in trade agreements.

Pro-Forma Invoice

It is an invoice prepared by the exporter in accordance with a sale order or inquiry from the buyer, but the importer's receipt of this invoice does not obligate him to purchase the product. This document contains a full description of the products, prices, import specifications, expected delivery dates, terms and dates of payment, packing, shipping, insurance, and unloading of goods. This document may be necessary for the importer to obtain a government license to import or open a documentary credit.

Backing List

It is a document issued by the source that clarifies

Each package contains contents and number, shipment weight, importer's name and commercial invoice number, accurately describing the products.

Import License

It is a permit issued by a competent governmental authority to the importer allowing him to import specific quantities of specific merchandise and merchandise, which can only be imported with such a license. It is a governmental tool for controlling and controlling the movement of trade and a method of ascertaining and implementing trade policies with regard to granting preferential treatment and ensuring that mandatory health and safety requirements are met.

License Export

A government document that allows an exporter to export specific goods to a specific country.

Drawback Import Duty Recovery

Refund of duties paid on imported goods upon re-export to another destination.

Health Certificate

It is a certificate that shows analytical data for the required goods and the materials used in their manufacture and certifies that the product is fit for human or animal consumption.

Harmonized System

It is the recognized international classification system for goods that are traded internationally under a unified commodity code, whereby materials are classified into groups according to the nature of the materials they are made of.

Phytosanitary Certificate

It is a certificate stating that the exported grains, seeds or plant seedlings are free of disease.

Certificate Of Weight

It is a certificate that shows the actual weight of the goods and is required for homogeneous goods that depend on the weight such as rice, sugar and iron.

Specification List

It is a document that shows the specifications, sizes and measurements of goods in terms of length, width, thickness and any other relevant specifications, and also shows the quantity of goods in cubic metres. It is usually used for goods that depend on size and measurement, not weight or packing, such as wood and some types of iron.

Certificate of Surveillance or Inspection

It is a certificate issued by specialized companies such as LLOYDS or SGS, where the goods are inspected and inspected immediately before shipment to ensure their specifications mentioned in the accompanying papers, and the goods can be inspected at the port of arrival if they are perishable during the shipping period.

Analysis Certificate

It is a certificate requesting materials that need analysis to know the percentage of their components and it must be issued by specialized bodies such as laboratories.

Clearance Papers

Are the papers handed over by the customs authorities in the port to the captain of the ship to indicate that the ship has fulfilled its obligations and has the right to leave the port

Customs Declaration

It is the document that must accompany the imported or exported goods when they pass through the checkpoints or clearance, and it has different forms commensurate with the specific customs process.

Customs Bond

Comprehensive guide to the most important terms and basic definitions in export

It is a document submitted by importers, warehouse owners, transport companies and people who import and handle goods subject to customs duties, and the purpose of this undertaking is to protect the government's interest while these goods are in warehouses or during their handling and to clear their transactions before clearing customs duties on them.

Custom Broker

A natural or legal person who is in charge of clearing official transactions related to imported goods, clearing them from customs, preparing papers for goods prepared for export and submitting them to customs authorities. He also submits documents and other documents required by government authorities in foreign countries.

Customs Clearance

It is the sum of the transactions that include paying the fees and presenting the customs documents and papers necessary to clear the imported goods after unloading them at an air, sea or land customs checkpoint.

Discriminating Duties

Taxes are imposed on imports of a particular country at a price higher than that which is imposed on similar imports from other countries.

Transit Trade

It is the process of transporting goods from the sending areas to receiving centers and ports with the intention of temporarily depositing them or conducting some manufacturing operations on them, wrapping them or packing them and then re-exporting them without paying customs duties.

Non-Tariff Barriers

These are the barriers that limit freedom of trade and movement of goods, other than customs duties, such as other restrictions imposed on foreign goods, such as domestic support for some national goods.

Goods Label - Item Description

It is a piece of paper or a printed statement or a piece of metal or leather or the like that is affixed to the goods or to the container in which the goods are packed to describe the contents of the container and to mention the party to which the goods are shipped and to indicate the origin and price of the goods.

Brand Name

A symbol used to distinguish a commercial product from similar products produced by competitors. Trademarks enjoy legal protection from third party aggression in domestic laws as well as in international law.

Manifest Manifest

It is the statement prepared by the master of the ship about the goods that are unloaded from the ship to a specific port, and a copy of it is sent to the customs authority and shipping agents. This statement includes a full description of the goods, the name of the importer, the weight, the number of packages, the size of the goods, the name of the ship, the voyage number, the port of loading, the port of discharge.

In this article, we dealt with the most important terms and basic definitions in exporting, which the source may need to understand before entering the export process.

Organic Import and Export would like to thank you for reading the article and for your support, and we hope to benefit all Egyptian exporters.