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Shipper's Export Declaration Form

The SED is required by the U.S. Department of Census and by the Bureau of Industry and Security to enforce the necessary export controls. However, it is possible that a shipment is exempt from the form if its value is $2500.00 USD or less.

The form must be prepared and signed by a U.S. shipper (exporter) or their forwarding agent. The shipment description, value, weight, destination, and other basic information must be indicated for processing use by Customs. SED information may be submitted electronically through the Automated Export System (AES), by mail, or by fax.

For more information, please review the US Code of Federal Regulations or contact us directly.

B13 Export Declaration Form

The B13A Form is required by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to enforce the necessary export controls in Canada.

The form must be prepared and signed by a Canadian shipper (exporter) or their forwarding agent. The shipment description, value, weight, destination, and other basic information must be indicated for processing use by Customs. B13A information may be submitted electronically, by mail, or by fax. For more information, please review Info Source, published by the Treasury Board of Canada, or contact us directly.

The CBSA is directly responsible for any updates to this form. Please see our external resources section.

U.S. Commercial Invoice

As in all domestic transactions, the Commercial Invoice is a bill for the consignment transferred from the purchaser to the seller. It generally serves a dual purpose on import shipments: it allows the exporter to claim his money and assists the importer in getting the goods cleared through customs. Some governments also use the form to levy the appropriate customs duties. A commercial invoice is usually sufficient documentation for the clearance of goods valued at less than $1600.00 CAD. To be considered valid, it must include a detailed breakdown of all the variables of the shipment:

  • Exporter/Importer name and address
  • Description of the shipment
  • Unit and extended price
  • Currency of settlement
  • Terms of delivery/terms of payment
  • Reference numbers
  • Import licenses
  • Freight included or excluded

The invoice should always be signed and dated by the exporter; this will certify the validity of the shipment and the form itself.

NAFTA Certificate of Origin

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a preferential tariff program, which allows null or decreased duties for products that qualify under its provisions. A NAFTA Certificate of Origin should be supplied along with goods that qualify for reduced or duty-free entry as a product of any of the three participating member nations: The United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

The certificate should be filed with the commercial invoice for any shipment destined to the U.S., Canada or Mexico valued at $1600.00 CAD or more. But beware, not all shipments crossing the border qualify for preferential NAFTA treatment. In actuality, the nature of the goods will always determine NAFTA treatment. The form is usually available in English, French and Spanish.

The Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) or the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are responsible for updates to the form and NAFTA regulations. Please see our external resources section for links to both agencies.

Canada's Customs Invoice

The Canada Customs Invoice is required on all export shipments passing through customs into Canada. The CCI plays an integral part in the classification of the products shipped, the evaluation of the proper duties to be paid, and any special tariff treatment. For these reasons, any commercial shipment valued at more than $1600.00 CAD must be accompanied by a valid CCI.

The invoice can be prepared either by the importer/exporter and must include:

  • Importer/exporter name and business number
  • Unit measurement and quantity of goods
  • Estimated value of the goods in Canadian dollars
  • Detailed description of the shipment
  • Country of origin
  • Reference number

The Canadian Border Services Agency is directly responsible for any updates to this form. Please see our external resources section for links.

Packing List

An Export Packing List, similarly to the commercial invoice, itemizes the material in each individual parcel and indications the type: box, crate, drum, carton, etc. It shows the net, legal, tare, and gross weights and dimensions for each package. Its markings should be shown along with buyer and seller references.

The list itself is used by the shipper or agent to determine either the total shipment volume or if the cargo being shipped is valid. It can also be used by Customs officials to check the actual cargo contents. As there may not be a standard format for packing lists, it is critical that the content be exact. Even the most minor errors may cause delays in shipment; possibly resulting in the exporting firms not getting paid or the seizure of the goods by Customs.

The packing list is always secured to the outside of the package in a waterproof envelope marked: “Packing List Enclosed”.

Confirmation of Sale

The Confirmation of Sale is required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Canada’s equivalent to the Food and Drug Administration) on all shipments of fruits and vegetables into Canada. The document outlines the names of the vendor/purchaser, carrier, destination, sales terms and product description. The main reason for this form is to prohibit consignment selling; thereby protecting ‘stability and equity’ in the Canadian market. The confirmation of sale form is verified both at the border and at the licensee’s premises.

The Canadian Border Services Agency is directly responsible for any updates to this form. Please see our external resources section for links.

Bill of Lading

The Bill of Lading is a document, issued to a shipper/exporter by a carrier, which describes the products to be shipped, recognizes their receipt and states the conditions of the contract for their carriage.

There are two types: A straight bill of lading is non-negotiable. A negotiable BOL, or shipper’s order bill of lading, can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit. It is commonly used for letter-of-credit transactions. The shipper is responsible for completing the bill of lading and providing the completed document to the carrier at the time the shipment is sent. The receiver usually needs the original, or a copy, as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods when delivered.

Import Declaration

The Import Declaration document is required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Canada’s equivalent to the Food and Drug Administration) on all shipments of agricultural products into Canada. The document outlines the names of the manufacturer, importer, exporter, carrier, the final shipping destination and a full product description. The main reason for this form is to verify the legality and nature of the import into the Canadian market. The shipment can be refused entry if the document lacks accuracy when verified by Customs.

The Canadian Border Services Agency is directly responsible for any updates to this form. Please see our external resources section for links.

Other Documents/Resources

Transportation Report 2007

The Transportation Report provides a comprehensible insight into the Canadian Transport Industry. The report is annually produced by the U.S. Government and is available for download.