Exporter Negotiation Check List

When working with overseas customers it is vitally important that both parties are fully aware and clear on the transaction that is taking place. This Export Negotiation Check List will help you focus on some of the key factors of exporting from the US.

Here are some export negotiation points that need to be agreed upon:

  • Currency

This is important due to:

  • Clarity –

Do not assume you are both talking about USD.  When working in a global marketplace identifying the currency will allow you


to better.

  • Currency fluctuation

This is a double edge sword and depending on the currency.  Although some exporters are willing to gamble and sell their product based on fluctuating currency, the more seasoned exporters focus on stable currencies specifically when selling in a market with fluctuating or unstable currency.

  • Form of payment
    • Wire transfer – This is where your customer sends you the funds prior to you sending the shipment.  This is the ideal (although not the most common) form of payment.
    • Payment against Documents – In this form of payment, the shipper presents the pre-agreed upon conveyance documents proving that the shipment is infact on its way to the bank after for payment, henceforth, payment against documents.
    • Letter of Credit – In this form of payment, the exporter works through his bank in order to pre-deposit the funds into an “escrow” account.  Until you as the shipper meet all the requirements stated on the letter of credit (you must meet these requirements exactly, this is more of a Contract with the bank) the bank will not release the documents. This is one of the more difficult and mostly payment forms for both you and the consignee.
    • etc. – We will cover additional forms of payments in a later podcast and article(s).
    • Payment by date
      • I have seen customer break relationships due to a miscommunication on payment terms.  This export negotiation term can be missed on the checklist because the focus is on a date, Not the format…
        • Example of the US vs Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) and some EU countries, month/date as opposed to day/month

In the US the format for the date is Month/Date/Year,  In many countries, it is stated in reverse Day/Month/Year

  • Destination Country import requirements

Although there are many destination country requirements that you do not need to be concerned with because your customer will be the one responsible for addressing (such as an import license), there are others that you will need to discuss with your customer prior to the shipment departing, which is why they are included in this export negotiation check list.  Some of these items have a cost associated with them; therefore, it is also important that you address this at the negotiation level.

  • Information written on an invoice
    • Such as the consignees Import Lic. Number.
  • Consular Invoice

There is usually a cost associated with this document, clarify with your customer who will pay (UAE and Dom. Rep. are samples)

  • Certificate of Origin (COO)

NAFTA and other countries when consignee would like to claim lower or no duty based on a Trade Agree


  • Product Certification (Manufacture letter)
  • Inspection (i.e. Bureau de Veritas)

Usually all cost associated with this inspection are paid by the consignee at destination, but shipping documents must contain the inspection

  •  Chamber of Commerce Invoice

This is a way for the destination country/customer to verify that you are a legitimate business in your area. (there is usually a minimal cost associated with this document.  In many cities it varies between US$5.00 and US$20.00)

  • Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Material Declaration  (there is usually a cost associated with this document)– This is a required document for all shipments that fall under the DG/HazMat regulations as per IATA for air shipments, DOT for ground/over the road shipments and (not sure who the Ocean authority is). If you understand the requirements and are certified, you may complete this form on your own.  If you are not certified or authorized to do this, please DO NOT.  It is VERY Dangerous.  An incorrectly completed form or an incorrectly packed DG/HazMat shipment can and has caused loss of life.
  • A Waybill is the document that supports the transportation/conveyance of your shipment.  The terminology is different for each mode of transportation.  Regardless of which form is used, there is usually a cost associated with the preparation of this document.  The cost, is usually determined by the Terms of Sale (which we will discuss in future articles and posts).
    • Air waybill – Shipments transported by Air whether domestic or international.
    • Ocean Bill of Lading (AKA, a B/L) – Shipments transported by Ocean.
    • Trucking Bill of Lading (AKA Trucking BL)

We will cover various export checklists to help you grow through the process. This export negotiation checklist will help you focus on asking the correct questions from the onset of your communication and negotiations with your customer.

Stay focused on clarity as you grow your export business.  Fostering it clear understanding as you negotiate with your international customers will ensure your growth at a global level.

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One Response to “Exporter Negotiation Check List”

  1. emilysmith47876 Says:

    I agree that when you are working with overseas customers, it is necessary to be clear on the transaction taking place. If you are not clear on it, then you might forget to purchase proper licensing. For example, if you are transporting hazardous material, you need the correct licensing.

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