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What are the steps in the foreign trade import and export trade process, and how to operate each step?
Release time:2021-05-08 Browse:1123 Times

Many fans have requested Brother Maoxiong to publish an article on the import and export process of foreign trade. This question is very good.

Many foreign trade friends have been doing foreign trade for many years. If you ask him what is the whole cycle of foreign trade import and export? He seemed to understand, but he couldn't explain clearly.

The biggest misunderstanding of doing foreign trade is that you seem to know but do not understand. You think that there are only a few steps in the process of foreign trade. In fact, if you want to do a good job in foreign trade, you must understand all aspects of the entire process of foreign trade import and export.

Only when you understand the import process of foreign customers, do you know why the customer has no news after receiving your PI? What is he doing?

Only if you have a good understanding of all aspects of the export process, can you truly understand and control all aspects of the export. This is a compulsory course for foreign trade professionals.

The following editor Mao Xiong organizes the entire import and export process from the development and promotion of foreign trade customers to the preparation of import procedures for foreign buyers, and then to your delivery to the customer's port.

I hope this detailed article on sweat pores can sort out the general process of foreign trade import and export:

In fact, the import and export process of foreign trade is very complicated, and not all import and export trade business processes are completely the same. But the main process is basically not much difference.

Let's take the import and export trade process with letter of credit as the payment method as an example to elaborate on the various aspects of the import and export trade process:

Note :

The part in blue font is the work of the relevant unit of the importer (demand side).

The part in black font is the work of the exporter (supply side).

Red is the joint work of both import and export trade.

The first step: sales promotion, SALES PROMOTION: look for and develop foreign buyers.

If exporters want to enter the international market for their products, they must first open up the market and look for importers.

You can develop customers by sending out sales letters (SALE LETTER. SALES E-MAIL), or through the Internet, GOOGLE, B2B platform, visit the importer company's website and leave a message, or send a letter.

It is best for foreign trade companies to have their own website, and use SEO to optimize product keywords to the first page of the GOOGLE search results page, so that potential trading partners can search for your company's website on GOOGLE.

Of course, participate in the Canton Fair, foreign exhibitions, visit abroad, or obtain relevant information of foreign buyers through the commercial counselors of our embassies and consulates abroad to find trading partners.

Step 2. Inquiry INQUIRY

Inquiry (INQUIRY), also known as inquiry.

After the importer receives the promotion letter from the exporter or finds the exporter's website on GOOGLE, according to their own needs, the importer will give an inquiry to the exporter who is interested in further negotiations, in the hope of reaching a deal and establishing a trade partnership.

The third step. Offer OFFER and counter offer COUNTER OFFER

Offer (OFFER), also known as quotation, exporters according to the importer's inquiry (INQUIRY) requirements, first inquire with the supplier of the factory, and then calculate the export price based on the factory's price, and then report to the importer OFFER.

This process may go through several bargaining COUNTER OFFER between the two parties, and finally reach an agreement on terms such as prices.

Step 4. Sign the contract: SIGNING CONTRACT or issue PI

After bargaining, the importer and the exporter reach an agreement on various trade terms and formally sign an export contract (CONTRACT or AGREEMENT)

Or send PI (PROFORMA INVOICE proforma invoice) to customers.

Step 5. In some countries, especially countries with tight foreign exchange, importers need to apply for import licenses and other related documents (such as my country's import verification form system):

In some countries, foreign exchange payments for imports by enterprises must be reviewed by the relevant authorities (my country is the SAFE), and the import payment management (verification) system is implemented.

Imports are settled by a letter of credit, and the importer must apply for a "Trade Import Payment Verification Form" (declaration form) at the issuing bank before the issuance of the certificate.

Use this to go through the import payment procedures. For other settlement methods, apply for this form before payment (now all online and paperless).

(Foreign importers have different management methods in different countries, not to write more here)

Step 6. The importer opens a letter of credit

After the importer fills in the foreign exchange payment verification form, fill in the "irrevocable letter of credit application"


Then submit and apply for the issuance of a letter of credit to the bank with which it is dealing.

The issuing bank accepts the application for issuance and issues a letter of credit (LETTER OF CREDIT.L/C) based on the application.

Then the issuing bank will return the letter of credit to the importer for inspection and confirmation, and the issuing bank will issue the letter of credit to the bank of the exporting country (that is, the advising bank of the exporting country).

The seventh step is to review the stock of L/C

The bank of the exporting place fills in the "NOTIFICATION OF DOCUMENTARY LETTER OF CREDIT" (NOTIFICATION OF DOCUMENTARY LETTER OF CREDIT) and informs the exporter of the letter of credit.

After the exporter receives the letter of credit sent by the advising bank, it will first conduct a review, and if there is any doubt, the importer should amend the letter of credit.

If there are no problems, accept the letter of credit and start signing a contract with the supplier and arrange production and stocking.

Note: Brother Maoxiong specially reminds that you must wait for the credit review to be correct or the customer's deposit arrives before signing the purchase and sale contract with the domestic supplier.

If you first sign a purchase and sale contract with the factory, but the customer cancels the order in the end, and your domestic purchase and sale contract has taken effect, don't you lose it?

Step 8. Chartering and booking:

For transactions under CIF or CFR trade terms, before the factory stocking is about to be completed, of course, it must be before the shipping date required by the letter of credit.

Exporters should find a suitable freight forwarder in advance and arrange chartering and booking to prepare for shipment in advance;

Under the terms of EXW and FOB, chartering and booking are done by the importer, but the exporter should promptly remind the importer that the goods will be ready on a certain day, please charter and book the space immediately.

After confirming the shipping company, the exporter should book the space according to the corresponding shipping schedule and the shipping period specified in the letter of credit.

The foreign trade company sends the charter booking order, invoice, packing list, and customs declaration letter (now paperless online) to the freight forwarding company for export chartering booking and subsequent customs declaration and shipment procedures.

The freight forwarder contacts the relevant shipping company for chartering and booking, and after being accepted by the shipping company, it will issue a shipping notice (loading notice) to the foreign trade company.

The foreign trade company will send the stowage notice to the factory, and arrange for the factory to deliver the goods to the designated container station according to the stowage notice (or drag the container to the factory for loading).

Step 9. Apply for inspection and quarantine:

The exporter fills in the "Application for Certification of Export Inspection" in accordance with the provisions of the letter of credit.

And prepare the commercial invoice, packing list and other relevant documents to apply to the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau for inspection and quarantine.

The inspection and quarantine agency will issue a "Customs Clearance Form for Outbound Goods" after passing the product inspection, and issue corresponding commodity inspection certificates, such as quality certificates, in accordance with the requirements of the exporter.

(Note: Except for legally inspected commodities and special requirements of foreign merchants for commodity inspection certificates, this step is exempt for the export of other commodities that are not legally inspected)

Step 10. Customs clearance:

Exporters or their entrusted customs brokers fill in the "Export Goods Declaration Form (now all online paperless operations)" and prepare the corresponding documents, such as invoices, packing lists, outbound goods clearance forms, etc., to declare to the customs;

After the customs has verified the documents, it will go through the export customs clearance procedures, and issue the customs declaration form stamped with the inspection stamp (the export tax rebate coupon is now transmitted online) and transferred to the tax and exporter through the online platform for verification and tax refund.


The eleventh step. Shipment and shipment:

After customs clearance and clearance, the goods can be loaded on the ship and sailed after being loaded.

The exporter must immediately issue a shipping notice "SHIPPING ADVICE" to the importer after the goods are loaded and sailed.

Shipment notification content: ship name, bill of lading number, voyage, number of packages, gross net weight, mark, etc.

Especially under FOB or CFR trade terms, the importer handles insurance. Timely shipping notification is the key to importers' timely insurance.

If the importer has not been notified of the shipment in time due to the export, and the importer is delayed in applying for insurance, all responsibility lies with the exporter.

Step 12. Apply for insurance:

Under CIF trade terms, insurance is handled by the exporter.

The exporter must fill out the "Cargo Transportation Insurance Application" (Cargo Transportation Insurance Application) according to the provisions of the letter of credit, and attach a commercial invoice to the insurance company;

After the insurance company underwrites the insurance, it issues a "Cargo Transportation Insurance Policy" to the exporter.

Note: The issuance date of the insurance policy must be earlier than or equal to the date of the bill of lading, and cannot be later than the date of the bill of lading.

The thirteenth step. Apply for a certificate of origin (Certificate of origin):

The certificate of origin has a common "CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN"

And "Generalized System of Preferences Certificate of ORIGIN "Form A")

All types of certificates of origin can be applied to the Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Ordinary certificates of origin can also be issued to the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Now it is online application and online approval.

The above relevant agencies will issue the corresponding certificate of origin according to the request of the exporter after passing the review.

Step 14. Retrieve the bill of lading:

The shipping company must wait until the goods are loaded on the ship and set off before issuing the bill of lading (ON BOARD DATE is recorded on the bill of lading BILL OF LADING B/L).

The exporter or its entrusted freight forwarder can go to the shipping company to receive the "BILL OF LADING B/L"

The fifteenth step. Prepare the relevant documents and handle the bill transfer:

After the goods are shipped and exported, the exporter shall prepare relevant documents in accordance with L/C regulations, such as commercial invoices, packing lists, ocean bills of lading, cargo transportation insurance policies, commodity inspection certificates, certificates of origin, letters of credit, etc.

The bill of exchange (BILL OF EXCHANGE) is issued as required by the payer, and all documents are strictly reviewed and fully comply with the requirements of the letter of credit.

Achieve: The bills are consistent, and after the documents are consistent, negotiate and negotiate with the exporting bank (NEGOTIATION).

With the consent of the bank, the export documents can also be used as pledge to obtain a mortgage loan from the bank.

The negotiating documents are reviewed by the billing bank and comply with the provisions of the letter of credit, that is, the bill is allocated, and the exporter is notified that the foreign exchange can be settled, and a certain amount of bills is charged at the same time.

The sixteenth step. For export tax rebate:

After receiving the foreign exchange, according to the purchase and sales contract signed with the factory, arrange for the factory to issue value-added tax invoices. After receiving the value-added tax invoice from the factory, the foreign trade company will first go to the National Taxation Bureau to apply for value-added tax invoice certification (later gradually converted to online certification).

After the value-added tax invoice is certified, the online tax platform will return the certified information, and then fill out the tax refund application form on the Internet, and upload it to the IRS after confirming that it is correct.

After the IRS has approved the uploaded tax refund application forms, foreign trade companies can download and print these forms, sign them by the legal person of the foreign trade company, affix the official seal of the foreign trade company, and send them to the IRS for tax refund filing.

After the IRS has received the tax refund information of the customs declaration form uploaded by the customs to the IRS via the Internet, and the foreign exchange collection verification copy information uploaded by the bank and the SAFE to the IRS via the Internet, all the information is in place.

After confirming that all the information is correct, the foreign trade company waits for the tax refund to be credited. For small and medium-sized foreign trade enterprises, this cycle will take about 3 months. A.B large-scale foreign trade enterprises have fast tax rebates.

Step 17. Submit the bill after negotiation:

In the fifteenth step, after the negotiating bank negotiates, it sends the negotiating documents to the foreign issuing bank to request the reimbursement of the escort.

After the issuing bank verifies the documents and the requirements of the letter of credit, it shall allocate the payment for goods remittance (ie acceptance) to the exporting bank.

After the negotiating bank receives the foreign payment, the bank also transmits the "Export Collection Verification Coupon Information" to the foreign exchange administration system through the online platform on behalf of the exporter

Step 18. Notice of redemption

The issuing bank issued a redemption notice to the importer, requesting payment of the goods.

Since the importer applied for the issuance of the L/C, most of the amount of the L/C has not been paid in full, so the issuing bank notified the importer to pay the balance in full, and after the full payment was paid, the full set of shipping documents were redeemed.

At the same time, the importer will submit the previously received import trade payment verification form to the bank for review (this is what Chinese importers need to do, and it varies from abroad).

The nineteenth step, arrival notice:

When the goods arrive at the destination port of the importing country, the shipping company informs the importer that the goods arrive at the port in exchange for the bill of lading.

The importer or its commissioned import customs broker delivers the bill of lading (B/L) to the shipping company in exchange for the delivery order (DELIVERY ORDER D/O).

Especially when the importer imports the goods under the FOB trade term, the importer only needs to pay the shipping company's freight and miscellaneous fees, and exchange the B/L to the shipping company for D/O before it can declare to the customs.

This is the only way to show that the importer has obtained the approval of the shipping company to withdraw the goods.


Step 20. Apply for import inspection:

The importer fills in the "Application for Certificate of Import Inspection" (Application for Certificate of Import Inspection).

And prepare the bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list and other documents, and declare the import inspection to the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau.

The inspection agency will issue a "Customs Clearance Form for Entry Goods" to the importer after passing the product inspection.

Step 21. Apply for import declaration:

The importer prepares the import goods declaration form, bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, entry goods clearance form, import license (if necessary) and import contract and other documents, and submits a declaration to the customs.

The twenty-second step. Tax payment:

The importer pays all taxes to the customs, and the tax payable includes import duties, value-added tax, and consumption tax


Step 23. Handle import customs clearance procedures:

Pass the customs review and go through the import clearance procedures. After customs clearance, the importer can pick up the goods at the wharf or the place where the goods are stored.

Step 24. Payment of foreign exchange for verification:

Finally, the importer has to rely on the Import Payment Arrival Verification Form to declare the imported goods.