Customs has a language all of its own as well as terminology that can appear a little complicated at times. Our glossary presents some of the more common terms you will come across when shipping dutiable goods internationally.
This is a Latin term meaning "according to the value". All duties and taxes are calculated on the basis of value, so you may see this used quite often.
The ATA Carnet is an international Customs document. Issued under the terms of the ATA Convention and the Istanbul Convention, it incorporates an internationally valid guarantee.
The carnet can be used in place of national Customs documents and as security for import duties and taxes. This covers the temporary admission of goods and the transit of goods.
The ATA Carnet can also be accepted to control the temporary export and re-importation of goods. However, in this case, the international guarantee does not apply.
These are goods which are kept in a secure warehouse. For as long as they remain in the warehouse, no import tariff is due. In other words, they can remain there until the tariff has been paid or the goods have been exported or processed.
This term often relates to the customs fee that is applied if third parties handle the processing of incoming or outgoing shipments.
The cargo manifest lists goods that are being shipped with a means of transport or in a transport unit.
The cargo manifest contains the goods’ trade information, e.g.:
- Transport document numbers
- Sender and recipient
- Identifying codes and numbers
- Number and type of packages
- Description and quantity of goods
It can be used instead of the freight declaration.
Certificate of Origin
A special document which confirms that the goods listed in the certificate originate from a particular country.
The certificate can also contain a declaration from the manufacturer, producer, supplier, exporter or any other responsible person.
An abbreviation used in some international sales contracts, when the selling price includes all "Costs, Insurance and Freight" for the goods sold.
This means that the seller arranges and pays for all relevant expenses involved in shipping goods - from their point of export to a given point of import.
In trade statistics, "CIF value" means that all figures for imports or exports are calculated on this basis, regardless of the nature of individual transactions.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
A precise specification of the shipment goods that is confirmed by the consulate of the country. It is requested by some governments that want to have greater control over what is imported into their country.
A declaration or procedure for passing on the required information in a form specified or accepted by the customs authorities.
This is a Latin term and is a shortened version of the expression "de minimis non curat lex" meaning "the law does not care about very small matters".
It is often considered more efficient to waive very small amounts of duties and taxes rather than collect them.
Electronic Data Interchange - the electronic transmission of data.
An area within a country (a seaport, airport, warehouse or any designated area) regarded as being outside its customs territory.
Importers may therefore bring goods of foreign origin into such areas without paying customs duties and taxes. This is always pending eventual processing, trans-shipment or re-exportation.
Free zones were once numerous and prosperous when tariffs were higher many years ago. Some still exist in capital cities, transport junctions and major seaports, but their number and prominence have declined as tariffs have fallen in recent years.
Free zones may also be known as "free ports", "free warehouses", "free trade zones" and "foreign trade zones".
The international system published by the World Customs Organization that sets out in a systemized form the goods handled in international trade.
Goods are grouped in Sections, Chapters and sub-Chapters that are governed by rules.
The recognized abbreviation for the International Chamber of Commerce Terms of Sale.
They comprise a range of unsolicited rules for the interpretation of commercial terms in the international trade of goods.
The cost of the imported goods at the port or point of entry into a country, including the cost of freight, insurance and port and dock charges.
All charges occurring after the goods leave the import point are not included.
A certificate issued by a Government agency (usually Agriculture) to satisfy import regulations of foreign countries.
The certificate indicates that a shipment has been inspected and found free from harmful pests and plant diseases.
Preference (or Preferential) Duty
A lower duty rate based on the value of the goods and dependent on the country of origin.
An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and quantities of goods to be sent, their value and specifications (weight, size, etc.).
Proof of Payment
For the clearance of your shipment we require a suitable proof of payment of the specific contents of the shipment like a legible order transaction, or order or job confirmation or purchase agreement or PayPal statement.
A proof of payment should contain payee; bill to address; amount and currency; description of goods and purchase date and in ideal way also freight costs and the delivery address. The customs authorities shall not accept an invoice as proof of payment.
United Nations EDI For Administration, Commerce and Transport.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) Standards are developed and supported by the UN for electronic message (data) interchange on an international level.