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International Trade Process - Full Steps

Updated: 4 days ago

1. Customer Inquiry Usually, before a customer places an order, the business department receives an inquiry to gain a better understanding of the details.

2. Quotation The business department promptly responds to the customer's inquiry, confirming details such as product name, model, manufacturer, quantity, delivery date, payment method, packaging specifications, and container type, providing the customer with a formal quotation. 3. Receiving the Order

After negotiations, the business department receives the customer's official order. 4. Placing Production Order Upon receiving the customer's order confirmation, an order is placed with the factory, and production plans are scheduled.

5. Business Approval After receiving the order, the business department first prepares a business approval form. The form is filled out truthfully based on the items in the "Export Contract Review Form," and all anticipated expenses are listed as accurately as possible. The contract approval should include the customer's order fax and the factory's procurement contract. The approval form is signed by the salesperson, approved by the department manager, and then reviewed by personnel from the management department before execution. If the amount is significant or if there are terms such as advance payment and commission, it requires approval from the company's general manager. The contract approval is then converted into a sales order and handed over to the department progress officer for follow-up.

6. Issuing Production Notice After determining the delivery date, the business department can issue a production notice if the following conditions are met to ensure timely production: a) For customers who make payments via LC, it is typically confirmed that the LC has been received one month before the delivery date. Upon receipt of the LC, the salesperson and documentation officer should review the letter of credit separately, checking for any errors, verifying the delivery date, and addressing any potential issues. If there are issues, the customer should be asked to make corrections immediately. b) For customers making TT payments, it is necessary to confirm that the deposit has been received. c) For customers on credit or other payment methods such as DA, manager confirmation is required for receiving funds, and so on.

7. Inspection a) One week before the delivery date, notify the company's inspector to carry out an inspection. b) If the customer wants to inspect the goods themselves or appoint an inspector, arrange for the inspection one week before the delivery date and inform the planning department of the inspection date. c) If the customer specifies a third-party inspection company or notary public for inspection, contact the inspection company two weeks before the delivery date to schedule the inspection and ensure it is arranged before the delivery date. Once confirmed, inform the factory of the inspection date. 8. Preparation of Basic Documents and Packing Information Provided by the Factory Prepare export contracts, commercial invoices, packing lists, and other documents (to be prepared by the document handling officer and handed over to the document officer). E-commerce is a global trend. To catch up with this trend, many of the 23 million small and medium-sized enterprises in China are brainstorming to find a shortcut to quickly embrace e-commerce. 9. Customs Inspection If the products require mandatory national customs inspection, specify the inspection requirements when placing the order with the factory and provide the necessary documentation such as the export contract and invoice for inspection. Also, inform the factory of the future export port for the products to facilitate customs inspection processing. Obtain the customs inspection certificate at least one week before shipping.

10. Booking Shipping and Warehousing: a) If the trade contract with the customer is on FOB CHINA terms, the customer typically designates a shipping agent or shipping company. Contact the freight forwarder as early as possible to indicate the intention to ship, understand the designated export port, shipping schedule, and confirm if the factory can deliver at least one week before the ship's departure, and whether the shipping schedule meets the customer's delivery requirements. Send a written warehouse booking notice to the shipping company two weeks before the delivery date (SHIPPING documents are usually available one week before the ship's departure). b) If the seller pays for the freight, consult the shipping company or shipowner early to inquire about the shipping schedule, freight rates, and departure port. After comparing options, select a reputable shipping company with favorable pricing and suitable schedules, and inform the customer through the salesperson. If the customer disagrees, select a shipping company approved by the customer. Follow the same procedure for sending a written warehouse booking notice two weeks before the ship's departure. c) If the goods are not enough to fill a full container, and they need to be shipped as LCL (Less than Container Load), book LCL space with the freight forwarder. When obtaining the warehouse entry document, also inquire about customs clearance cutoff times and warehousing requirements. d) When booking with the shipping company, be sure to fax the written warehouse booking notice, specifying the booked shipping schedule, container type and quantity, destination port, and other details to avoid errors.

11. Container Loading a) Once the goods are ready and have passed inspection, entrust a trucking company to pick up and load the container. Choose a reliable and reasonably priced trucking company and establish a long-term cooperation agreement to ensure safety and punctuality. Fax the following information to the trucking company: warehouse confirmation, loading paper, shipping company, warehouse number, container type, quantity, loading address, customs clearance agent, and shipping port, among others. If an inspection company is overseeing the loading, it should be explicitly mentioned, and they should be instructed not to be late. Request the inspection company to provide a report with container number, license plate number, driver's details, and contact information. b) Fax a loading document to the factory, specifying the loading time, container type, warehouse number, order number, and driver's contact information. c) Instruct the factory to fax a loading notice to the business department as soon as the container leaves the factory. This notice should include the container's departure time, actual loading quantity, and note down the packing and seal numbers for bill of lading purposes. Ensure that the factory seals the container after loading.

12. Customs Clearance Provide the necessary documentation for customs clearance to the cooperating customs broker at the same time as container pickup. Entrust them with export customs clearance and customs inspection clearance declaration. Typically, allow two days for customs clearance (before the ship's cutoff). When entrusting customs clearance, provide a loading document including details of the shipped goods, quantity, port of shipment, shipping company, warehouse number, container number, ship's cutoff time, trucking company, container type and quantity, and contact information for your company.

13. Obtaining Shipping Documents a) Fax any missing information for the bill of lading to the shipping company or freight forwarder no later than two days after the ship's departure. Ensure that the information complies with the LC or customer's requirements, including accurate item quantities and any special requests. This may include requesting certificates accompanying the bill of lading. b) Prompt the shipping company to provide the bill of lading draft and freight invoice as soon as possible. After verifying the accuracy of the draft, provide written confirmation of the bill of lading contents to the shipping company. If the bill of lading requires confirmation by the foreign party, first fax the bill of lading draft to the customer for confirmation, then request the shipping company to issue the original bill. c) Pay transport fees promptly and notify the shipping company to collect the shipping documents, including the bill of lading, after payment. Keep records of the transportation fees paid. 14. Preparation of Other Documents a) Commercial Invoice: Among the documents required for LC, the commercial invoice is subject to the strictest scrutiny. The invoice date should fall after the LC issuance date but before the delivery date. The description of goods on the invoice should match the LC precisely, and both the numeric and written amounts should be accurate. The invoice terms as specified in the LC should be displayed, and it should bear the shipping marks. If the invoice requires authentication by the recipient's embassy, it usually needs to be processed at least 20 days in advance. b) Certificate of Origin: An A Certificate of Origin should be applied for at the inspection and quarantine bureau before shipment. It's important that the shipment date is before the LC's delivery date and the ship's departure date, and the invoice date should be later than the certificate date. If this can't be done before shipment, apply for the certificate after shipment and provide customs declaration and bill of lading documents. For goods transshipped through Hong Kong, the A certificate often needs to be counter-signed by a Chinese inspection company in Hong Kong to verify that no further processing occurred in Hong Kong. c) General Certificate of Origin: A general Certificate of Origin can typically be obtained through the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products and usually has more lenient requirements. It can often be obtained shortly after shipment. If embassy authentication is required for the certificate of origin, as with the invoice, it should be processed at least 20 days in advance.

As a practitioner of the Belt and Road Initiative and multimodal transport operator, Neptune Logistics has operated many intermodal transport projects with a professional team and rich experience, providing you with quality customer service, affordable prices, and solving related logistics problems. If you want more details about logistics services, feel free to contact us!

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