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5.1 Logistics & Shipping
The two options available to Caribbean producers in exporting to the US are air and sea transportation. Air transport is fast, but it is expensive and not all goods are suited for air transport. Bulkier goods are more suited for sea transport; however this method is a lot slower. No matter which method is used however, all shipments require customs documentation. The following is a summary of requirements:
The commercial invoice is a record or evidence of the transaction between the exporter and the importer. Once the goods are available, the exporter issues a commercial invoice to the importer in order to charge him for the goods. The commercial invoice contains the basic information on the transaction and it is always required for customs clearance.
Although some entries specific to the export- import trade are added, it is similar to an ordinary sales invoice. The minimum data generally included are the following:
Certificate of Origin
For goods claiming preferential tariff treatment in the US market such as goods entering the US from the Dominican Republic or Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) CARICOM countries, a Certificate of Origin is required. Once a competent authority in the Dominican Republic or a CBI beneficiary country certifies the origin of the goods being exported to the US, goods are then eligible for customs duty exemptions.
Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
Depending on the mode of transport, a bill of lading (ocean) or airway bill (air) must be completed and presented to US Customs before the goods can be cleared.
The packing list (P/L) is a commercial document accompanying the commercial invoice and the transport documents. It provides information on the imported items and the packaging details of each shipment (weight, dimensions, handling issues, etc.). It is required for customs clearance as an inventory of the incoming cargo.
The generally included data are: