SBA Gopher
Business Developement
International Trade
Small Business Guide to Exporting


First class condition.

A.A.R.: Against all risks.

ACCEPTANCE: An agreement to purchase goods at a stated price and under stated terms.

AD. VAL.: According to value (ad valorem).

AFFREIGHTMENT, CONTRACT OF: An agreement by a steamship line to provide cargo space on a vessel at a specified time for a specified price to accommodate an exporter or importer, who then becomes liable for payment even though he is later unable to make the shipment.

ALL-RISK CLAUSE: An insurance provision that all loss or damage to goods is insured except inherent vice (self-caused).

ANTI-DUMPING CLAUSE: A tariff imposed to discourage sale of foreign goods in the United States market at very low prices (below foreign country’s domestic market) which might hurt U.S. manufacturers.

ARBITRAGE: The practice of exchanging the currency of one country for that of another or a series of countries to gain an advantage from the differences in exchange rates.

ARBITRATION CLAUSE: A clause in a sales contract outlining the method under which disputes will be settled.

A/S: After sight.

BBL: Barrel.

B/D: Bar-draft.

B.D.I.: Both dates inclusive.

B/E: Bill of exchange.

B/L: Bill of lading.

B.O.: Bad order, buyers option.

B/P: Bills payable.

B.T.: Berth terms.

BOOKING NUMBER: A number assigned to a contract of affreightment used as an identifying reference on bills and correspondence.

bu: Bushel.

bx: Box.

C.E.: Consumption entry.

C.O.D.: Cash on delivery.

C.O.S.: Cash on shipment.

C.P.: Charter party.

C.R.: Carriers risk.

CABLE ADDRESS: A code word of less than 10 letters, registered annually with the Central Bureau of Registered Addresses, used in lieu of the entire name and address of a firm receiving or sending cablegrams in order to reduce the number of words required in a cablegram.

CASH AGAINST DOCUMENTS (C.A.D.): A method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are given the buyer upon payment of cash to an intermediary acting for the seller, usually a commission house.

CASH IN ADVANCE (C.I.A.): A method of payment for goods in which the buyer pays the seller in advance of the shipment of the goods. Usually employed when the goods are built to order, such as specialized machinery.

CASH WITH ORDER (C.W.O.): A method of payment for goods in which cash is paid at the time of order and the transaction becomes binding on both buyer and seller.

c.c.: Current cost.

CERTIFICATE OR ORIGIN: A certified document as to the origin of goods, used in foreign commerce.

c.f.: Cubic foot.

CHARTER PARTY: Renting of an entire vessel or part of its freight space for a particular trip or stipulated period of time.

C&F NAMED PORT: Cost and freight. All costs of goods and transportation to the named port are included in the price quoted. Buyer pays insurance while aboard ship up to overseas inland destination.

c.i.: Cost and insurance.

c/i: Certificate of insurance.

C.I.F. NAMED PORT: Cost, insurance, freight. Same as C&F except seller also provides insurance up to named destination.

C.I.F. & C.: Price includes commission as well as C.I.F.

C.I.F. & E.: Price includes exchange of currency from United States to foreign money as well as C.I.F.

CLEAN BILL OF LADING: Document of receipt issued by a carrier when the goods are received in good order.

DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMS: The representative of the U.S. Treasury Department acting for the government in connection with foreign traffic to specifically named inland sea ports.

COMMERCIAL CODE: A published code designed to reduce the total number of words required in a cablegram.

CONSIGNEE MARKS: A symbol placed on packages for export for identification purposes; generally consisting of a triangle, square, circle, diamond, cross, with letters and/or numbers as well as port of discharge.

CONSUL: A government official residing in a foreign country who is charged with the representation of the interests of his country and its nationals.

CONSULAR DECLARATION: A formal statement describing goods to be shipped, made to the consul of the country of destination. Approval must be obtained prior to shipment.

CONSULAR INVOICE: A document required by some foreign countries showing exact information as to consignor, consignee, value and description of shipment.

CONSULATE: The jurisdiction, terms of office, or official premises of a consul.

CONSUMPTION ENTRY: An official form used for declaration of value, description and the total duty due on such transaction.

c.p.d.: Charterers pays dues.

CREDIT RISK INSURANCE: A form of insurance which protects the seller against loss due to default on the part of the buyer.

c.t.l.o.: Constructive total loss only.

CUSTOM HOUSE: The government office where duties and/or tolls are placed on imports or exports and are paid on vehicles or vessels entered or cleared.

CUSTOMHOUSE BROKERS: A person or firm, licensed by the Treasury Department, engaged in entering and clearing goods through customs. The duties of a broker include preparing the entry blank and filing it; advising the importer on duties to be paid; advancing duties and other costs; and, arranging for delivery to his client, his trucking firm, or other carrier.

CUSTOMS TARIFF: A schedule of charges assessed by the federal government on imported and/or exported goods.

cwt.: Hundredweight.

D.A.: Documents for acceptance.

D.D.: Double deck; demand draft.

D/D: Date draft.

D/S: Days after sight.

Dm.: Dekameter (10 meters long).

D/A SIGHT DRAFT: Documents against acceptance sight draft. A method of payment for goods in which documents transferring title are delivered to the buyer as soon as he signs an acceptance, stamped on a draft, guaranteeing payment of the draft.

d.: A penny or pence.

d/a: When prefixed to word “clause” vessel must discharge afloat.

d.d.o.: Dispatch discharging only.

DEMURRAGE: Excess time taken for loading or unloading of a vessel not caused by the vessel operator, but due to the acts of a charterer or shipper. Also refers to imported cargo not picked up within prescribed time.

DIRECT EXPORTING: Sale by an exporter directly to a buyer located in a foreign country.

DISPATCH: An amount paid to a charterer by the vessel operator if loading or unloading is accomplished in less time than provided for in the charter party.

DISTRIBUTOR: A foreign agent who sells directly for a manufacturer and maintains an inventory on hand.

d.l.o.: Dispatch loading only.

dm.: Decimeter (one tenth of a meter long).

DOCK RECEIPT: A receipt given for a shipment received or delivered at a shipment pier. When delivery of a foreign shipment is completed, the dock receipt is surrendered to the vessel operator or his agent and serves as basis for preparation of the Ocean Bill of Lading.

DOCUMENTS AGAINST PAYMENT (D/P): A type of payment for goods in which the documents transferring title to the goods are not given to the buyer until he has paid the value of a draft issued against him.

d.p.: Direct port.

DRAWBACK: A partial refund of duties paid on importation of goods which are further processed and then re-exported, or exported in same condition as imported.

DUTY: A tax levied by a government on the import, export or use and consumption of goods.

d.w.: Deadweight (ton 2240 pounds).

d.w.c.: Deadweight for cargo.

E.A.O.N.: Except as otherwise noted.

E.&.O.E.: Errors and omissions excepted.

E.B.: Eastbound.

E.E.: Errors excepted.

EXPORT MANAGEMENT COMPANY: An organization which, for a commission, acts as a purchase agent for either a buyer or seller.

ENTRY (CUSTOMS): A statement of the kinds, quantities and values of goods imported together with duties, if any, declared before a customs official.

ENTRY PAPERS: Those documents which must be filed with the Customs officials describing goods imported, such as consumption entry, Ocean Bill of Lading or Carrier Release, and Commercial Invoice.

est.: Estimated.

est.wt.: Estimated weight.

et al: And other.

EX DOCK (IMPORT USAGE ONLY): The seller is obligated to place the specified goods at the specified price on the import dock clear of all customs and duty requirements. The buyer must do nothing further than pick up the goods within a prescribed time limit.

EX MILL (EX WAREHOUSE, EX MINE, EX FACTORY): The seller is obligated to place the specified quantity of goods at the specified price at his mill loaded on trucks, railroad cars or any other specified means of transport. The buyer must accept the goods in this manner and make all arrangements for transportation.

EXPORT: To send goods to a foreign country.

EXPORT BROKER: One who brings together the buyer and seller for a fee and then withdraws from the transaction.

EXPORT DECLARATION: A formal statement made to the Director of customs at a port of exit declaring full particulars about goods being exported.

EXPORT LICENSE: A permit required to engage in the export of certain commodities and quantities to certain destinations. List of such goods are found in the comprehensive Export Schedule issued by the Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

EXPORT MERCHANT: A producer or merchant who sells directly to a foreign purchaser without going through an intermediate such as an export broker.

EXPORT RATE: A freight rate specially established for application on export traffic and generally lower than the domestic rate.

F/A: Free astray.

F.M.: Fine measurement.

F.O.B. FREIGHT ALLOWED: The same as F.O.B. named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.

F.O.B. FREIGHT PREPAID: The same as F.O.B. named inland carrier, except the seller pays the freight charges of the inland carrier.

F.O.B. NAMED INLAND CARRIER: Seller must place the goods on the named carrier at the specified inland point and obtain a bill of lading. The buyer pays for the transportation.

F.O.B. NAMED PORT OF EXPORTATION: Seller is responsible for placing the goods at a named point of exportation at the seller’s expense. Some European buyers use this form when they actually mean F.O.B. vessel.

F.O.B. VESSEL: Seller is responsible for goods and preparation of export documentation until actually placed aboard the vessel.

f.a.a.: Free of all average.

f.a.s.: Free alongside ship.

f.c.s.: Free of capture and seizure.

f.d.: Free discharge

f.f.a.: Free from average.

f.i.a.: Full interest admitted.

f.i.w.: Free in wagon.

f.o.w.: First open water.

FOREIGN BRANCH OFFICE: A sales (or other) office maintained in a foreign country and staffed by direct employees of the exporter.

FOREIGN FREIGHT FORWARDER: A corporation carrying on the business of forwarding who is not a shipper or consignee. The foreign freight forwarder receives compensation from the shipper for preparing documents and arranging various transactions related to the international distribution of goods. Also, a brokerage fee may be paid to the “forwarder” from steamship lines if the forwarder performs at least two of the following services: (1) coordination of the movement of the cargo to shipside; (2) preparation and processing of the Ocean Bill of Lading; (3) preparation and processing of dock receipts or delivery orders; (4) preparation and processing of consular documents or export declarations; (5) payment of the ocean freight charges on shipments.

FOREIGN SALES AGENT: An agent residing in a foreign country who acts as a salesman for a domestic manufacturer.

FOREIGN TRADE ZONE ENTRY: A form declaring goods which are brought duty-free into a Foreign Trade Zone for further processing or storage and subsequent exportation and/or consumption.

FOUL BILL OF LADING: A receipt for goods issued by a carrier bearing a notation that the outward containers or the goods have been damaged.

fr. & c.c.: Free of riot and civil commotion.

FREE ALONGSIDE (F.A.S.): (or free alongside steamer): The seller must deliver the goods to a pier and place them within reach of the ship’s loading equipment. The buyer arranges ship space and informs the seller when and where the goods are to be placed.

FREE IN AND OUT (F.I.O.): Cost of loading and unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

FREE OF CAPTURE AND SEIZURE (F.C. & S.): An insurance clause providing that loss is not insured if due to capture, seizure, confiscation and like actions, whether legal or not, or from such acts as piracy, civil war, rebellion and civil strife.

FREE OF PARTICULAR AVERAGE (F.P.A.): A marine insurance clause roviding
that partial loss or damage is not insured. American condition (F.P.A.A.C.) – Partial loss not insured unless caused by the vessel being sunk, stranded, burned, on fire, or in collision. English conditions (F.P.A.E.C.) – Partial loss not insured unless a result of the vessel being sunk, stranded, burned, on fire, or in collision.

FREE OUT (F.O.): Cost of unloading a vessel is borne by the charterer.

FREE TRADE ZONE: An area to which goods may be imported for processing and subsequent export on duty-free basis.

ft.: Foot.

G.T.: Gross ton (2240 lbs.)

GENERAL AVERAGE: A deliberate loss or damage to goods in the face of a peril, which sacrifice is made for the preservation of the vessel and other goods. The cost of the loss is shared by the owners of all goods on board up to time of peril.

GENERAL LICENSE (EXPORT): Authorization to export without specific documentary approval.

GENERAL LICENSE, LIMITED VALUE (GLV): Authorization to export a limited value amount of a good without specific documentary Gram.

GROSS WEIGHT: Entire weight of goods, packing, and container, ready for shipment.

hhd.: Hogshead.

ht.: Height.

inv.: Invoice.

IMMEDIATE TRANSPORTATION ENTRY: A customs form declaring goods for transportation by a bonded carrier from a port of entry to a bonded warehouse at an inland port, or another port of entry.

IMPORT MERCHANT: A merchant who buys overseas for his own account for the purpose of later resale, handling all details of import documentation and transportation. Usually the merchant is specialized in one or two commodities.

IMPORT RATE: A rate established specifically for application on import traffic and generally less, when so published, than a domestic rate.

IMPORTER DISTRIBUTOR: A merchant who imports goods, usually on an exclusive territory arrangement, maintains an inventory and, through a sales staff, sells to retailers.

INDENT: A requisition for goods, enumerating conditions of the sale. Acceptance of an indent by a seller constitutes his agreement to the conditions of the sale.

INDIRECT EXPORTING: Sale by the exporter to the buyer through a domestically located intermediary.

INLAND CARRIER: A transportation line which hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

the territory of the United States, including operations between U.S. points separated by foreign territory or major expanses of international waters.

kg.: Kilogram.

L.: ?›

L.A.: Letter of authority.

L.& D.: Loss and damage.

L.& R.: Lake and rail.

L/C: Letter of Credit.

L.C.L.: Less than carload, also less than containerload.

lat.: Latitude.

LAY DAYS: The dates between which a chartered vessel is to be available in port for loading of cargo.

LEGAL WEIGHT: The weight of the goods plus any immediate wrappings which are sold along with the goods; e.g., the weight of a tin can as well as its contents. (See Net Weight).

LETTER OF CREDIT (L/C): A method of payment for goods in which the buyer establishes his credit with a local bank, clearly describing the goods to be purchased, the price, the documentation required and a limit for completion of the transaction. Upon receipt of documentation, the bank is either paid by the buyer or takes title to the goods themselves and proceeds to transfer funds to the seller. The banks insist upon exact compliance with the terms of the sale, and will not pay if there are discrepancies.

ldg.: Loading.

ltge.: Lighterage.

MANUFACTURER’S EXPORT AGENT: A firm which acts as an export sales agent for several non-competing manufacturers. Business is transacted under the
name of the agent firm.

MARINE INSURANCE: An insurance which will compensate the owner of goods transported overseas in the event of loss which cannot be legally recovered from the carrier.

Mdse.: Merchandise.

N.O.E.: Not otherwise enumerated.

N.O.H.P.: Not otherwise herein provided.

N.O.I.B.N.: Not otherwise indicated by number; not otherwise indexed by name.

N.O.S.: Not otherwise specified.

N.S.P.F.: Not specifically provided for.

NET WEIGHT (ACTUAL NET WEIGHT): Weight of the goods alone without any immediate wrappings; e.g., the weight of the contents of a tin can without the weight of the can. (See Legal Weight).

NON-VESSEL OPERATING COMMON CARRIER (NVOCC): A cargo consolidator of small shipments in ocean trade, generally soliciting business and arranging for or performing containerization functions at the port.

O/A: Open account.

O.& R.: Ocean and rail.

O/N: Order notify.

O.S.& D.: Over, short and damage.

o.t.: On truck or railway.

P.A.: Particular average.

P.D.: Per diem.

P.W.: Packed weight.

PARCEL RECEIPT: Receipt given by a steamship company for a parcel shipment.

PARTICULAR AVERAGE: Partial loss or damage to goods.

PERILS OF THE SEA: Those causes of loss of goods for which the carrier is not legally liable. The elemental risks of ocean transport.

PORT OF ENTRY: A port at which foreign goods are admitted into the receiving country.

PORT MARKS: An identifying set of letters, numbers and/or geometric symbols followed by the name of the port of destination, which are placed on export shipments. Foreign government requirements may be exceedingly strict in the matter of port marks.

Ppd.: Prepaid.

PRIVATE CODE: A secret code system devised to conceal the contents of a message and to reduce the number of words required in a cablegram.

QUOTA: The quantity of goods which may be imported without restriction or additional duties or taxes.

QUOTATION: An offer to sell goods at a stated price and under stated terms.

R.& O.: Rail and ocean.

R.C.& L.: Rail, canal and lake.

R.I.T.: Refining in transit.

R.& L.: Rail and lake.

Refg.: Refrigerating, refrigeration.

S.C.& S.: Strapped, corded and sealed.

S/D: Sight draft.

S.D.D.: Store door delivery.

S.L.& C.: Shipper’s load and count.

S.L.& T.: Shipper’s load and tally.

S.O.: Ship’s option; shipping order; sellers option.

S.S.: Shipside.

S/S: Steamship.

S.T.: Short ton 2000 lbs.

S.U.C.L.: Set up carload.

S.U.L.C.L.: Set up in less than carload.

SCHEDULE B: Refers to “Schedule B, Statistical Classification of Domestic and Foreign Commodities Exported from the United States.”

SHIPPER’S EXPORT DECLARATION: A form required by the Treasury department and completed by a shipper showing the value, weight, consignee, destination, etc., of export shipments as well as Harmonized Schedule B (see above) identification number.

sld.: Sailed.

s.p.d.: Shipped.

STEAMSHIP CONFERENCE: A group of vessel operators joined together for the
purpose of establishing freight rates. A shipper may receive reduced rates if the shipper enters into a contract to ship on vessels of Conference members only.

STERLING BLOC: The British Commonwealth countries which fixed the price of sterling used in foreign exchange. With a fixed price, sterling was not readily convertible to other currencies. This resulted in trade within the Bloc being favored.

Stds.: Standards.

str.: Steamer.

STRIKES, RIOTS AND CIVIL COMMOTIONS (S.R.& C.C.): A term referring to an insurance clause excluding insurance of loss caused by labor disturbances, riots and civil commotions or any person engaged in such actions.

SUE AND LABOR CLAUSE: A provision in marine insurance obligating the assured to do those things necessary after a loss to prevent further loss and to act in the best interests of the insurer.

s.v.: Sailing vessel.

SWITCH TRANSACTIONS: The practice of exporting (or importing) goods through an intermediary country to final destinations. This is done when the destination country is short of U.S. dollars and the intermediary country has available U.S. dollars and is willing to exchange for the destination country’s currency on goods. Switch transactions must be performed within the various laws concerning export licenses.

TARE WEIGHT: The weight of packing and containers without the goods to be shipped.

t.l.o.: Total loss only.

TONNE (METRIC TON): 1000 Kilograms (2204 lbs).

TRANSPORTATION AND EXPORTATION ENTRY: A form declaring goods which are entering the United States (for example from Canada) for the purpose of
exportation through a U.S. port. Carriers and any warehouse must be bonded.

val.: Value.

Ves.: Vessel.

W/B: Waybill.

WAR RISK INSURANCE: Separate insurance coverage for loss of goods which results from any act of war. This insurance is necessary during peacetime due to objects, such as floating mines, left over from previous wars. War Risk Insurance in the United States is underwritten exclusively through the American Cargo War Risk Reinsurance Exchange, a group formed to share the extreme losses possible.

War/Strike Clause: An insurance provision that covers loss due to war and/or strike.

WAREHOUSE ENTRY: A form declaring goods imported and placed in a bonded warehouse. Duty payment may not be required until the goods are withdrawn for consumption.

WEATHER WORKING DAY: A day when reasonable weather conditions prevail to allow normal working to the vessel.

WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRADE CORPORATION: A domestic (U.S.) corporation whose business is done in any country of North, South, or Central America or the West Indies, and which usually receives certain tax advantages.

WITH PARTICULAR AVERAGE (W.P.A.): An insurance term meaning that partial loss or damage to goods is insured. Generally must be caused by sea water.

May have a minimum percentage of damage before payment. May be extended to cover loss by theft, pilferage, delivery, leakage, and breakage.

Y/A: York/Antwerp Rules.