This article provides export compliance related documents most commonly used for exporting.
Last Published: 11/1/2016

EXPORT COMPLIANCE DOCUMENTS

Export Licenses
An export license is a government document that authorizes the export of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination. This document may be required for most or all exports to some countries or for other countries only under special circumstances. Examples of export license certificates include those issued by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (dual use articles), the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (defense articles), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (nuclear materials), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (controlled substances and precursor chemicals).

Several videos are available on export licenses, including: Export Compliance Introduction, Exporting Commercial Items: ECCNs and EAR99, The Commerce Control List and Self-Classification, and Exporting EAR99 Items: Screening Your Transaction, Lists to Check and Red Flags.

Destination Control Statement
A Destination Control Statement (DCS) is required for exports from the United States for items on the Commerce Control List that are outside of EAR99 (products for which no license is required) or controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). A DCS appears on the commercial invoice, ocean bill of lading, or airway bill to notify the carrier and all foreign parties that the item can be exported only to certain destinations. For more information, watch relevant videos: Export Compliance Introduction, and Exporting Commercial Items: ECCNs and EAR99.

The U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI)
The USPPI, as defined in the Foreign Trade Regulations ("FTR"), is the person in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, of the export transaction. The attached article describes responsibilities of the USPPI, and offers a handy checklist to assure compliance with U.S. export regulations.

OTHER CERTIFICATES FOR SHIPMENTS OF SPECIFIC GOODS
Additional certificates are needed for different purposes. Check with your importer, freight forwarder forfurther information.

Certificate of Analysis:
A certificate of analysis can be required for seeds, grain, health foods, dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and pharmaceutical products.

Certificate of Free Sale
Certificate of free sale may be issued for biologics, food, drugs, medical devices and veterinary medicine. More information is available from the Food and Drug Administration. Health authorities in some states as well as some trade associations also issue Certificates of Free Sale.

Dangerous Goods Certificate
Exports submitted for handling by air carriers and air freight forwarders classified as dangerous goods need to be accompanied by the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods required by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The exporter is responsible for accuracy of the form and ensuring that requirements related to packaging, marking, and other required information by IATA have been met.

For shipment of dangerous goods it is critical to identify goods by proper name, comply with packaging and labeling requirements, which vary depending upon the type of product shipper and the country shipped to.  More information on labeling/regulations is available from the International Air Transportation Association or Department of Transportation - HAZMAT websites.

For ocean exports, hazardous material regulations are contained in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods regulations.

Fisheries Certificate
The National Marine Fisheries Service conducts inspections and analyses of fishery commodities for export.

Fumigation Certificate
The Fumigation Certificate provides evidence of the fumigation of exported goods (especially agricultural products, used clothing, etc.). This form assists in the quarantine clearance of any goods of plant or animal origin. The seller is typically required to fumigate the commodity at his or her expense a maximum of 15 days prior to loading.

Halal Certificate
Required by most countries in the Middle East, this certificate states that the fresh or frozen meat or poultry products were slaughtered in accordance with Islamic law. Certification by an appropriate chamber and legalization by the consulate of the destination country is usually required.

Health Certificate
For shipment of live animals and animal products (processed foodstuffs, poultry, meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, and eggs and egg products). Note: some countries require that health certificates be notarized or certified by a chamber and legalized by a consulate. Health certificates are issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Ingredients Certificate
A certificate of ingredients may be requested for food products with labels that are inadequate or incomplete. The certificate may be issued by the manufacturer and must give a description of the product, contents, and percentage of each ingredient; chemical data; microbiological standards; storage instructions; shelf life; and date of manufacture. If animal fats are used, the certificate must state the type of fat used and that the product contains no pork, artificial pork flavor, or pork fat. All foodstuffs are subject to analysis by Ministry of Health laboratories to establish their fitness for use.

Inspection Certificate
Weight and Quality certificates should be provided in accordance with governing USDA/GIPSA regulations for loading at port and loading at source/mill site as appropriate. A certificate of origin certified by the local chamber of commerce at the load port and a phytosanitary certificate issued by APHIS/USDA and fumigation certificate are to be provided to the buyer. Costs of all inspection, as well as certificates/documents at the load port, are usually the responsibility of the seller. Independent inspection certificates may required in some instances.

Pre-Shipment Inspections
The governments of a number of countries have contracted with international inspection companies to verify the quantity, quality, and price of shipments imported into their countries. The purpose of such inspections is to ensure that the price charged by the exporter reflects the true value of the goods, to prevent substandard goods from entering the country, and to deflect attempts to avoid payment of customs duties. Requirements for pre-shipment inspection are normally spelled out in letter-of-credit or other documentary requirements. Inspections companies include Bureau Veritas, SGS and Intertek. Some countries require pre-shipment inspection certificates for shipments of used merchandise.

Insurance Certificate
Insurance certificates are used to assure the consignee that insurance will cover the loss of or damage to the cargo during transit. These can be obtained from your freight forwarder or publishing house. Note: an airway bill can serve as an insurance certificate for a shipment by air. Some countries may require certification or notification.

Phytosanitary Certificate
All shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, flour, rice, grains, lumber, plants, and plant materials require a federal phytosanitary certificate. The certificate must verify that the product is free from specified epidemics and/or agricultural diseases. Additional information and forms are available from Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Radiation Certificate
Some counties including Saudi Arabia may require this certificate for some plant and animal imports. The certificate states that the products are not contaminated by radioactivity.

Other (Product-Specific) Certificates
Shaving brushes and articles made of raw hair must be accompanied by a recognized official certificate showing the consignment to be free from anthrax germs. Used clothing requires a disinfection certificate. Grain requires a fumigation certificate, and grain and seeds require a certificate of weight. Many countries in the Middle East require special certificates for imports of animal fodder additives, livestock, pets, and horses.

Weight Certificate
A certificate of weight is a document issued by customs, certifying gross weight of the exported goods.

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.


Trade Documents