So, what is the kind of paperwork that can help ensure orderliness and structure to the various steps involved?
First, it is important to thoroughly check the documents before you submit them as there are multiple kinds of paperwork involved while exporting goods, says Pushkar Mukewar, Co-founder & CEO of Drip Capital.
According to the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-2020, the essential documents required for exporting goods from India are: bill of lading/airway bill; lorry receipt or railway receipt/postal receipt; commercial invoice; packing list and shipping bill. There are also documents related to export compliance, licences and some general paperwork that are integral to being export-ready.
With regard to export compliance documents, an Import Export Code (IEC) is needed first. If exporting without paying integrated goods and services tax (IGST), a bond or letter of undertaking (LUT) is required. Besides this, tax invoices with details such as name, address and GSTIN of the supplier; invoice number and date; name and address of the recipient; HSN code for goods; quantity and total value of goods and signature of the supplier are required.
Mukewar says a trader should remember the key steps while collating all the documents. He suggests availing the services of a customs agent who can ensure that all documents are in place and help carry out the customs and dispatch procedures smoothly and speedily. “To avoid confusion and delay, ensure you know ahead of time which products are to be scrutinised and by which agencies, so that you can start compiling the required documents easily at the earliest. As far as quality check certificates are concerned, double-check if everything is ready for inspection so you can avail these documents on time,” he adds.
To get an export licence, Drip Capital advises that the following documents be attached with the application for faster processing:
- Profile of exporter and importer in ANF-1 form and the application form for the export licence of restricted items in ANF-2N form
- Copy of purchase order/import order from the foreign purchaser, or a contract agreement between the two
- Proof of online payment of the application fee
- Copy of PAN card
- Copy of identity proof
- Address proof
- Bank certificate/cancelled cheque
- An NOC in case of rental property
Exporters should also be aware of an indicative list of general documents needed to ship goods overseas. Proforma invoice, for instance, which specifies various details including buyer and seller in the transaction; description of the goods being shipped; delivery details and currency used in the quote have to be filled correctly. Certificates of origin will be needed in some countries to prove the source of the product. A bill of exchange, which is typically generated on a letter head of the exporter, instructs the importer to pay the relevant amount to the exporter.
Besides these, documents such as phyto-sanitary certificates and fumigation certificates are required to show conformity with international quality, standards and procedures. Other necessary paperwork includes export order/purchase order; letter of credit; inspection/quality check certificate; marine insurance policy; health certificate (applicable only when exporting food products that are of animal or non-animal origin); certificate of insurance; warehouse receipt and bill of entry.
Exporters must pay attention to correctly filling product description or classification so as to avoid issues with customs clearance at a later stage. Taking into account stringent quality checks by ensuring that all quality certifications are in order will also keep them in a good stead.
Mukewar suggests that exporters network and build a good equation with the officials concerned to ensure smooth processing and to keep track of the shipments. “In general, it is important for exporters to maintain a good rapport with the C&F agent to avail real-time updates of the shipment. Delays can turn out expensive,” he adds.
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