A sample and explanation of when an "Export Packing List" is used. This information is part of "A Basic Guide to Exporting" provided by the U.S. Commercial Service to assist U.S. companies in exporting.
Last Published: 10/20/2016

Considerably more detailed and informative than a standard domestic packing list. It itemizes the material in each package and indicates the type of package, such as a box, crate, drum, or carton. It also shows the individual net, tare, and gross weights and measurements for each package (in both U.S. and metric systems). Package markings should be shown along with references to identify the shipment. The shipper or forwarding agent uses the list to determine the total shipment weight and volume and whether the correct cargo is being shipped. In addition, U.S. and foreign customs officials may use the list to check the cargo.

Packing List

The Harmonized System (HS) describes products for customs purposes. It is recognized by 179 countries, customs bureaus, or economic unions, representing 98 percent of world trade.
  • Six-digit codes are assigned that represent general categories of goods. Countries that use HS numbers are allowed to define commodities at a more detailed level but must “harmonize” the first six digits to the HS framework.
  • Using these codes ensures that customs officials are referring to the same item when classifying the product and applying the tariff rate.

More Information

Export Packing List