Commercial invoice

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Russian: Инвойс

Commercial invoice, generally, is the sellers bill of sale for the goods sold, specifying type of goods, quantity and price of each type and terms of sale. In import/export, it represents a complete record of the transaction between exporter and importer with regard to the goods sold. Also reports the content of the shipment and serves as the basis for all other documents about the shipment.[1] In international trade, a commercial invoice should be quite detailed and include all of the pertinent information. The commercial invoice should present precisely what the importer is being billed for. This seems obvious, but it is a much greater challenge to fulfill this requirement for an international transaction than it is for a domestic transaction. Several areas of the invoice must be very carefully written in order to avoid problems later on (as below). In spite of the example of so detailed American invoice (see below), this document is not internationally standardized in practice. To highlight the said, the Chinese invoice is presented. Above all, all necessary to identify the product and terms of sale data are to be presented.

Sample of Drawing Up Commercial Invoice (USA)[2]


There are national differences of this export document. To understand them better it's necessary to turn to corresponding competent agencies/information sources. # EXPORTER - The name and address of the principal party responsible for effecting export from the United States. The exporter as named on the Export License.

  1. CONSIGNEE - The name and address of the person/company to whom the goods are shipped for the designated end use, or the party so designated on the Export License.
  2. INTERMEDIATE CONSIGNEE - The name and address of the party who effects delivery of the merchandise to the ultimate consignee, or the party so named on the Export License.
  3. FORWARDING AGENT - The name and address of the duly authorized forwarder acting as agent for the exporter.
  4. COMMERCIAL INVOICE NO. - Commercial Invoice number assigned by the exporter.
  5. CUSTOMER PURCHASE ORDER NO. - Overseas customer's reference of order number.
  6. B/L, AWB NO. - Bill of Lading, or Air Waybill number, if known.
  7. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN - Country of origin of shipment.
  8. DATE OF EXPORT - Actual date of export of merchandise.
  9. TERMS OF PAYMENT - Describe the terms, conditions, and currency of settlement as agreed upon by the vendor and purchaser per the Pro Forma Invoice, customer Purchase Order, and/or Letter of Credit.
  10. EXPORT REFERENCES - May be used to record other useful information, e.g. - other reference numbers, special handling requirements, routing requirements, etc.
  11. AIR/OCEAN PORT OF EMBARKATION - Ocean port/pier, or airport to be used for embarkation of merchandise.
  12. EXPORTING CARRIER/ROUTE - Record airline carrier/flight number or vessel name/shipping line to be used for the shipment of merchandise.
  13. PACKAGES - Record number of packages, cartons, or containers per description line.
  14. QUANTITY - Record total number of units per description line.
  15. NET WEIGHT/GROSS WEIGHT - Record total net weight and total gross weight (includes weight of container) in kilograms per description line.
  16. DESCRIPTION OF MERCHANDISE - Provide a full description of items shipped, the type of container (carton, box, pack, etc.), the gross weight per container, and the quantity and unit of measure of the merchandise. A very precise description of the merchandise (product) should be given as the invoice is one of the documents that will be used by the importer (or the exporter, depending on the terms of trade or Incoterm choosen) to clear Customs in the importing country. Because the tariff paid is a function of the classification (type) of the product imported, a clear and accurate description of the product should be written on the invoice, including the Harmonized System Number.
  17. UNIT PRICE/TOTAL VALUE - Record the unit price of the merchandise per the unit of measure, compute the extended total value of the line.
  18. PACKAGE MARKS - Record in this Field, as well as on each package, the package number (e.g. - 1 of 7, 3 of 7, etc.), shippers company name, country of origin (e.g. - made in USA), destination port of entry, package weight in kilograms, package size (length x width x height), and shipper's control number (e.g. - C/I number; optional).
  19. MISC. CHARGES - Record any miscellaneous charges which are to be paid for by the customer - export transportation, insurance, export packaging, inland freight to pier, etc.
  20. CERTIFICATIONS - any certifications or declarations required of the shipper regarding any information recorded on the commercial invoice


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