Frequently Asked Questions

Exporting Basics: Preparing and Shipping Goods

Who carries out the pre-shipment inspection and who pays?

Pre-shipment inspections are performed by contracted private organizations. In most cases, importers can select from a short list of organizations when planning inspections. However, in certain cases, only one company is sanctioned to carry out inspections for that country. The exporter must present the goods for inspection, but is not required to pay for inspections. In some countries, such as Ecuador and Peru, the importer pays, while in other markets, such as Argentina, the government absorbs all costs.

Following are typical steps in the inspection process:

• The importer opens an import license.

• The importer informs the inspection service in the country of import of a pending shipment, and then either pays for the inspection up front or pays a percentage based on the value of the commercial invoice, depending on the terms of the importing country's inspection contract.

• An inspection order is forwarded to the inspection company office in the country of export.

• The inspection company contacts the exporter to arrange date, time and location for inspection.

• The inspection is carried out, and a "Clean Report of Findings," is issued confirming the shipment's value, customs classification and that it can be cleared.

• The goods are shipped onward to the importing country, and the importer uses the inspection report to get goods released from customs.

• If the goods should reach the border of the importing country without inspection, they usually have to be re-exported to a nearby country where the inspection takes place prior to re-entry.

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