INTERNATIONAL TRADE FINANCE
Mr. Kwasi Poku
email@example.com // 0207401585
The aim of this course is to help students acquire the necessary
background information and also gain an understanding of the finance of
international trade, foreign exchange and support services provided for
exporters, importers and merchants by financial institutions especially in
This course also seeks to help students acquire a sound understanding of
relevant theoretical and practical concepts, coupled with an ability to
apply the principles in a given practical situation.
Students should however note that, international trade is a rapidly
changing subject, hence careful study of publications and newspapers such
as graphic business, business and financial times and the various customer
leaflets and circulars prepared by banks is essential in order to keep up to
In addition, students should regularly search the internet to keep abreast of
To help students to appreciate the need for international trade, the
risks and problems encountered in international trade and the role
played by banks in facilitating international trade.
To help students gain an understanding of the various terms of
payment in international trade.
To help students to be able to define the various terminologies
developed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to be used
in international trade. It also aims to help students appreciate the
obligations and responsibilities that Incoterms impose on importers and
To help students to be able to explain the various international
settlement mechanisms through banks and the problems encountered in
To help students gain an understanding of letters of credit, the parties
involved in issuing letters of credit as well as the general instructions to be
followed before banks issue letters of credit.
To help students appreciate the relevance of documentation in international
To help students gain an understanding of the factors which affect export
finance as well as the traditional and nontraditional facilities provided by
banks to facilitate export trade.
To help students to appreciate the types of credit available to importers
To help students gain an understanding of the various facilities and
services provided by banks to new exporters and the travelling public.
To help students to appreciate the basic operations of the foreign
exchange market in Ghana and the factors that affect the demand and
supply for foreign exchange in Ghana.
Unit 1: OVERVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE FINANCE
Unit 2: METHODS OF PAYMENT IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Unit 3: INCOTERMS/TERMS OF DELIVERY/SHIPPING TERMS
Unit 4: DOCUMENTS USED IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Unit 5: DOCUMENTARY CREDIT
Unit 6: OVERVIEW OF EXPORT FINANCE
Unit 7: IMPORT FINANCING
Unit 8: METHODS OF INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENT
Unit 9: FOREIGN EXCHANGE MARKETS
Continuous assessment: 30%
End of semester examination: 70%
Arnold, G. (2008). Corporate Financial Management. 4th Edition.
Financial Times/Pearson Education Ltd
Atuahene, R. (2016). Finance of International TradeChartered Institute
of Bankers (GH), 2nd Edition.
Cowdell, P. and Hyde, D (2003). International Trade FinanceThe
Institute of Financial Services (UK), 8th Edition.
Cranston, R. (2007). Principles of Banking Law. 2nd Edition. Oxford
University Press, UK.
Luke, K.W. (2015). International Trade Finance: A Practical Guide. 2nd
Edition. City University of Hong Kong Press.
Watson, D. and Head, A. (2010). Corporate Finance: Principles and
Practice. 5th Edition. Financial Times/Prentice Hall.
OVERVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
To discuss the need for International Trade
To discuss the Problems/Difficulties of International Trade
To explain the difference between International and Domestic Trade
To discuss the theories of International Trade
To know the major players in International Trade
To examine the objectives of the parties in International Trade
To help students appreciate the risks in International Trade
To explain International Trade Fraud and Trade Based Money
To understand & appreciate the role of Banks in International Trade
Deﬁnition of International Trade:
International Trade is the process of buying and selling
between two parties in two different countries where
business activity calls for payment or settlement in a
foreign currency. Trading can be conducted for both
goods and services.
International can be categorised into visible trade the
export and import of goods, and invisible trade the use of
services from other countries.
Why Companies Expand Into Foreign Markets
The complexities in International Trade require imaginative and proactive
It is therefore very vital that companies receive quality advice from expert
sources to help them make informed business decisions on international
Companies opt to expand outside their domestic market for any of four
To Gain Access To New Customers
Expanding into foreign markets offers potential for increased
revenues, profits, and longterm growth and becomes an
especially attractive option when a company’s home markets are
matured or saturated.
Firms like the Ghana Cocoa Board Ltd, Sony, Toyota, Mercedes
Benz and General Motors, which are racing for global
leadership in their respective industries must move rapidly and
aggressively to extend their market reach to all corners of the
2. To Achieve Lower Costs And Enhance The Firm’s
Many companies are driven to sell in more than one country
because the sales volume achieved in their domestic markets is
not large enough to fully capture manufacturing economies of
scale and experience curve effects and thereby substantially
improve a firm’s cost competitiveness.
The relative small size of country markets in Europe explains
why companies like Nestle sell their products all across Europe
and then moved into markets in North America, Africa and
Also, some companies abroad may have a competitive advantage in the
provision of certain goods and services.
The need to earn more profit by selling goods or services in overseas
Some firms act as export houses or import merchants. Bamson Company
In Ghana, is an importer of Dutch Akzo paints. Thus, acting as a
middleman between buyer and seller in different countries.
3. To Capitalize On Its Core Competencies
A company with competitively valuable competencies and capabilities may be
able to leverage on them into a position of competitive advantage in foreign
markets as well as just domestic markets.
4. To spread its business risk across a wider market base
A company spreads business risk by operating in a number of different
foreign countries rather than depending entirely on its operations in its own
Globalization and improved technologies equally offer immense opportunities
for firms to benefit from economies of scale and tax advantages.
• In a few cases, companies in natural resourcebased industries
often find it necessary to operate in the international arena because
attractive raw materials supplies are located in foreign countries.
Differences Between International Trade and Domestic Trade
Domestic trade has the following features which are common for both
seller and buyer but differ entirely from that of international trade:
A single currency is the mode of payment;
Trading is conducted under the same law;
Documentation to the domestic trade is very simple;
Business is done in the absence of stringent Customs Excise and
No or little transportation difficulties are encountered;
Most businesses are conducted under common language and culture;
Inherent Problems / Difﬁculties In International Trade
Aside the normal problems of trade and commerce which arise in the
domestic trade, there are several additional difficulties associated with
Some of the problems are:
Time and distance
The time lag between placing an order from suppliers could affect trade
through changes in changes in pricing, additional working capital
requirement on the part of the supplier, nonpayment on the part of the
buyer, changes in customer’s taste, substitute product and nondelivery
Differences in time zone also results in communication difficulties.
Distance also affects international trade when the risks and
inconveniences, in relation to transit times, cannot be avoided
considering the time it takes to ship goods and services abroad and the
time payment is received.
2. Differences in laws/customs
Lack of knowledge and understanding about customs, habits and laws of
the buyer’s or the seller’s country create an extra degree of uncertainty or
mistrust between the two parties involved in trade. e.g. exporting pork to
a Moslem country.
The nature of the trade, transportation requirement, mode of payment and
terms of delivery used in the trade call for a comprehensive and thorough
understanding of the documents which makes international trade more
complicated than in domestic trade.
4. Government regulations
Government rules and restrictions can be a serious threat to international trade.
Such regulations and restrictions include:
Exchange control regulations
Health and hygiene requirements, notably on food
Patent and trademarks
Exchange control regulation
Exchange control is system of controlling the inflows and the outflows of
foreign exchange in and out of a country.
Government may therefore take extra measures in defense of its currency, such
Regulations requiring individuals or firms to obtain foreign exchange approval
from the Central Bank before engaging international trade activities.
Regulations rationing the supply of foreign exchange to those wishing to
make payment abroad in a foreign currency.
Regulations making the holding of foreign currency or exchange illegal by
Principal Players In International Trade
Exporters may be manufacturers, traders, farmers or commodity producers.
Their aim is to get their goods to buyers around the world in the quickest
and safest manner possible and to be paid in the correct currency and
within their agreed terms of settlement.
The importance of exports to the economies of many countries is
demonstrated by the wide range of support and encouragement given by
governments, particularly through Export Credit Agencies.
Importers may be equally be manufacturers buying raw materials for their
factories, oil companies buying crude oil for refining, or simply merchants
and traders fulfilling contracts with domestic and foreign consumers.
c) Freight Forwarders
Freight forwarders or forwarding agents are the most versatile operators in
the trade chain.
They collect goods from exporters, sometimes actually packing them for
shipment, transport them to ports of shipment by road, rail or barge and
arrange with the shipping company (or airline) for them to be loaded on
board their vessels.
d) Warehousing facilities
Warehousemen perform a valuable service prior to the shipment of goods
and after their arrival at the port of destination.
As they are always holding goods belonging to a third party, it is essential
that they meet stringent security requirements, the most important of
which is that they should be completely independent.
Goods may be transported in a number of different ways and by several
types of carriers. There exists a need for independent road haulers, barge
operators and railway companies to carry goods on specific routes and to
be responsible for the whole journey.
However well a consignment is packed, there is always the
possibility of damage being incurred in transit.
In some parts of the world, piracy and hijacking is prevalent.
Most shipments are financed by banks or other financial
institutions who want to ensure their security is properly insured.
Banks provide a multitude of services to every operator in the trade
chain and for every stage of any transaction.
Banking instruments and techniques which have been developed over
hundreds of years are made available with worldwide branch networks,
affiliates and correspondents.
The rapid growth of world markets owes much to the ability of these
financial institutions to adapt to change, to keep pace with development
and to maintain a high level of skill in handling transactions.
Now most international banks have a factoring subsidiary.
There is clearly a defined difference between the services offered by banks and
Every form of banking finance is effected with recourse to its customer, whereas
factors provide facilities for buying debt without recourse.
Complete factoring involves the exporter in handling all his documents to the
factor who takes an assignment over the debt of the overseas buyer.
Although expensive, factoring can take care over a number of administrative
operations for the exporter, leaving him to concentrate on his main business of
International Trade Risks
No transaction can be undertaken without risk to the importer or exporter,
although those risks can be significantly reduced by banks and insurers.
For the exporter, the main risks are commercial, political and foreign
The main risks for the importer are commercial, involving short landing or
non delivery of goods and delivery of substandard goods.
Other Risks Involved In Cross Trading
This is the risk that a counter party to a transaction fails to perform
according to the terms and conditions of the contract.
This may be due to one of the following reasons:
Inability of the drawee to pay under a bill of exchange which he or she
has accepted earlier or the failure of the importer to pay for goods
Bankruptcy/Insolvency or Liquidation
Undeveloped mechanisms for efficient assessment of borrowers by credit
referencing agencies in the country.
b) Foreign Exchange risk
This is caused by the fluctuations in exchange rates over time.
Exporters may invoice the buyer in foreign currency (e.g. the currency of
the buyers country) or the buyer may pay in foreign currency. (e.g. the
currency of the exporters country).
The importers problem is therefore the need to obtain foreign currency to
make payments abroad and the exporters problem is exchanging foreign
currency for the local currency.
c) Sovereign Risk
This arises when a sovereign government of a country:
Obtains a loan from a foreign lender
Incurs a debt to a foreign supplier
Guarantees a loan or debt on behalf of a third party.
But then, either the government or the central bank refuses to pay the loan or
debt and claims immunity from the processes of the law.
d) Country Risk
This arises when a buyer does all he can to pay what he owes to the exporter
or lender but authorities of his country either refuse to make available to him
the foreign currency, or he is unable to pay because of political/economic
instability or imposition of foreign exchange controls
e) Bank Risk
This arises due to the liquidation or insolvency of a bank that is supposed
to honour payments.
f) International Fraud
forged documentary credits
cargo theft etc.
International Fraud and Trade Based Money Laundering
The international trade system is subject to a wide range of risks
and vulnerabilities, which provide criminal organizations with the
opportunity to launder the proceeds of crime and provide funding
to terrorist organizations, with a relatively low risk of detection.
The relative attractiveness of the international trade system is
The enormous volume of trade flows, which obscures individual
transactions and provides abundant opportunity for criminal
organizations to transfer value across borders.
The complexity associated with foreign exchange transactions
and recourse to diverse financing arrangements
The additional complexity that can arise from the practice of
commingling illicit funds with the cash flows of ‘legitimate’
The limited recourse to verification procedures or programs to
exchange customs data between countries; and
• The limited resources that most customs agencies have available to
detect illegal trade.
Abuse Of The International Trade System
Researchers have documented how the international trade system can be
used to move money and goods with limited scrutiny by government
Tax Avoidance And Evasion
• A number of authors, including Li and Balachandran (1996), Fisman
and Wei (2001), Swenson (2001) and Tomohara (2004), have
described the impact that differing tax rates have on the incentives of
corporations to shift taxable income from jurisdictions with
relatively high tax rates to jurisdictions with relatively low tax rates
in order to minimize income tax payments
It has been shown that companies and individuals shift money from one
country to another to diversify risk and protect their wealth against the
impact o financial or political crises.
Several of these studies also show that a common technique used to
circumvent currency restrictions is to overinvoice imports or under
Trade-Based Money Laundering
Unlike tax avoidance and capital flight, which usually involve the
transfer of legitimately earned funds across borders, capital movements
relating to money laundering involve the proceeds of crime, which are
more difficult to track.
A number of these studies have also analyzed techniques to establish
whether reported import and export prices reflect fair market values.
The Role of Banks In International Trade
a) Provision of Banking facilities
Maintaining customers foreign & local accounts
Provision of short/medium term credit facilities
Providing documentary credit & documentary collection services
Negotiating Bankers Acceptances, Discounting & Factoring services
Arranging finance for exporters under various Bank of Ghana finance
schemes (private enterprise scheme, EDIF, etc.)
b) Collection & Transfer of funds & Settlement
Transmitting payments in foreign currency on behalf of importers/lenders
International money transfers
c) Provision of foreign exchange services
Provide foreign exchange in spot/forward market
Provide travel facilities, foreign currency, foreign draft, traveller's cheques
d) Facilitation of International Trade by providing
information and data
Status report on foreign buyers, suppliers & banks (Banks rating) through
General information on the Economic and Political situation in trading
countries such as:
Foreign exchange position (supply & demand)
Balance of payment
Assisting in finding markets for goods and services
iv. Advising on various ICCO publications on INCOTERMS,
Documentary credits/Documentary collection and others
e) Provision of Specialized Trade Finance
Standby Credit Arrangement
Red Clause Credit and Green Clause Credit
METHODS OF PAYMENT IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
To explain the different terms of payment in International trade
To highlight the problems and risks associated with each mode of
To discuss the advantages and disadvantages in the methods of payment
to the supplier & buyer
To make students aware of the relevance of each method of payment
When an exporter sells goods or services to an overseas buyer, he
expects to be paid.
Terms of payment reflect the extent of guarantees required by the seller
to ensure payment before he sells his goods.
The extent of payment guarantee may vary depending on the credit
worthiness and reputation of the parties involved.
For the Seller:
The exporter needs payment if he cannot finance the production of the goods
and/or services ordered
At time of shipment or rendering of service
Exporter/seller want assurance of payment as soon as goods are or services are
After shipment or rendering of services
Supplier/seller is prepared to wait for some time after shipment/after services are
For the Buyer:
Payment in advance
The buyer trusts that the contract will be fulfilled and he is therefore prepared to
pay in advance.
At the time of shipment or rendering of service
The contract may stipulate that or the buyer does not want to take risk
After shipment or rendering of services
The buyer possibly wants to sell the goods or wants to be satisfied that the
service has been rendered before he pays the seller
TERMS OF PAYMENT
1. Cash in Advance/Payment in Advance
The buyer places the funds at the disposal of the seller prior to
shipment of the goods or provision of services.
In such circumstances, the parties may agree to fund the operation
by partial payments in advance or by progress payments.
This method of payment is expensive and contains some degree of
risk and as such, the buyer may request the seller’s bank to issue
advance payment bond in respect of monies advanced, to protect
himself from associated risks.
This method of payment is used when:
The buyer’s credit is doubtful; or when the parties are doing business
for the first time.
There is an unstable political or economic environment in the buyer’s
There is a potential delay in the receipt of funds from the buyer, perhaps
due to risks beyond his control
Advantages to the seller
Immediate use of funds
Disadvantages to the buyer
Tying up his capital prior to receipt of the goods/services
Has no assurance that goods/services will be:
c. received timely
d. received in the quality or quantity ordered
2. Open Account
Open account trade is a system where goods and documents are
delivered to the buyer before payment is effected at a later date, usually
on a revolving basis.
This trade practice occurs usually between parties who have dealt with
each other over a specified time and have established a reasonable degree
of trust between themselves.
Open account provides for payment at a stated specific future date without
the buyer issuing any negotiable instrument.
The seller must have absolute trust that he will be paid at the agreed date.
Advantages to the buyer:
Payment is effected after receipt of goods/services
Payment is conditioned on the political, legal and economic issues
as previously discussed
Disadvantages to the seller
The title of goods is released without payment assurance
The possibility of political events deferring or blocking movement
of funds to him
Tied up capital until services are accepted and payment is made
An arrangement whereby goods are shipped and the relevant
bill of exchange is drawn by the seller on the buyer, and/or
documents are sent to the seller’s bank with clear instructions
for collection through one of its correspondent banks located in
the domicile of the buyer.
The conditions under which the document of title and other
documents covering the goods will be released to the buyer/
importer are spelt out in a Collection Order, which the exporter’s
bank sends to the importer’s bank.
Normal Precautions To Be Taken By The Seller
The seller should:
obtain a credit report or status opinion on the buyer,
obtain an economic and political analysis of the country of import
concerning political stability, foreign currency position and foreign
not consign the goods to the buyer, nor consign the goods to the
buyer’s bank without that bank’s prior agreement.
establish alternative procedures for the resale, reshipment or
warehousing of the goods in the event of nonpayment by the buyer.
The exporter ships the goods and obtains the shipping documents and usually draws
The exporter submits the draft(s) and/or documents to his bank, which acts as his
The exporter’s bank sends the Draft and other documents along with a collection
letter to a correspondent bank
acting as an agent for the remitting bank, the collecting bank notifies the buyer upon
receipt of the Draft and documents, and
all the documents, and usually title of the goods, are released to the buyer upon his
payment of the amount specified or his acceptance of the Draft for payment at a
Advantages to the Seller
documentary collections are uncomplicated and inexpensive
documents of value are not released to the buyer until payment or
acceptance has been effected
collections may facilitate preexport or postexport financing
Disadvantages to the Seller
ships the goods without an unconditional promise of payment by the
there is no guarantee of payment or immediate payment by the buyer
ties up his capital until the funds are received
Advantage to the Buyer
collections may favour the buyer since payment is deferred by him
until the goods arrive or even later if delayed payment arrangements
are agreed to
Disadvantages to the Buyer
by defaulting on bill of exchange, he may become legally liable
trades reputation may be damaged if the collection remains unpaid
Types of Collection
An arrangement where the seller draws a bill of exchange on the buyer
with relevant documents for the value of the goods or services and
presents the bill of exchange to his bank.
The seller’s bank sends the bill of exchange along with a collection
instruction letter to a corresponding bank, usually in the same city as the
A clean collection may represent:
an underlying merchandise transaction, or
an underlying financial transaction
b) Direct Collection
An arrangement where the seller obtains his bank’s prenumbered direct
collection letter, thus enabling him to send his documents directly to his
bank’s correspondent bank for collection.
This kind of collection accelerates the paperwork process.
The seller forwards to his bank a copy of the respective instruction/
collection letter that has been forwarded directly by him to the
The Remitting Bank treats this transaction in the same fashion as a normal
documentary collection item, as if it were completely processed by such
4. Documentary Credit
Documentary credit or Letter of Credit is an undertaking issued by a
bank for the account of the buyer or for its own account, to pay the
Beneficiary the value of the Draft and/or documents provided that the
terms and conditions of the Documentary Credit are complied with.
This Documentary Credit arrangement usually satisfies the seller’s
desire for cash and the importer’s desire for credit.
The Documentary Credit offers a unique and universally used method
of achieving a commercially acceptable undertaking by providing for
payment to be made against complying documents that represent the
goods and making possible the transfer of title to the those goods.
The meaning of Documentary Credit embodies the following. It is:
a written undertaking given by a bank, known as an issuing bank or
to a seller, known as a beneficiary;
at a request and on the instructions of its customer (buyer), known as
the D/C applicant;
to pay either at sight or at a specific future date;
a stated sum of money;
against delivery of shipment and submission of stipulated documents
and fulfilment of all the terms and conditions in the D/C.
In other words, a documentary credit is a conditional payment
instrument made by the issuing bank in favour of a designated
It is especially appropriate in the following circumstances:
When the importer is not well known, the exporter selling on credit
terms may wish to have the importer’s promise of payment backed by
On the other hand, the importer may not wish to pay the exporter
until it is reasonably certain that the merchandise has been shipped in
good condition and/or in accordance with his instructions.
A documentary credit, in this case, can satisfy both the exporter and
It should be noted that all the aforementioned are methods of
obtaining payment for goods shipped and not methods of obtaining
BENEFITS OF DOCUMENTARY CREDIT
Provides a specific transaction with an independent credit backing
and a clearcut promise of payment.
Satisfies the financing needs of the seller and the buyer by placing
the bank’s credit standing, distinguished from the bank’s fund, at the
disposal of both parties.
May allow the buyer to obtain lower purchase price for the goods as
well as longer payment terms than would open account terms, or a
d) Reduces or eliminates the commercial credit risk since payment
is assured by the bank which issues an irrevocable Documentary
e) Reduces certain exchange and political risks while not necessarily
f) May not require actual segregation of cash, since the buyer is
not always required to collateralize his Documentary Credit
obligation to the issuing bank.
g) Expands sources of supply for the buyers since certain sellers are
willing to sell only against cash in advance or Documentary Credit
h) Provides clearcut guarantee of payment
i) Provides the buyer with the assurance that required documents will
INCOTERMS/TERMS OF DELIVERY/SHIPPING TERMS
Incoterms, shipping terms or trade terms are one of the key elements of
international contract of sale of goods.
They identify the respective responsibilities of the trading parties in the
quotation for each contract of sale.
“Incoterms” is an abbreviation of “International Commercial Terms”.
It was published by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris
and has its latest version, “Incoterms 2010”, which became effective
on January 1, 2011.
Incoterms define at the minimum level, the division of cost between
buyers and sellers, the point at which delivery occurs, which party is
responsible for import and export clearance.
Incoterms also give some information regarding documentation.
Incoterms provide generally four pieces of Information;
Information on the transfer of risk It defines at which place the
risks of cargo loss and damage are transferred from the seller to
the buyer during transportation operations.
Information on the division of cost It defines how costs
resulting from the transport operations are shared between the
seller and the buyer.
iii. Information on the document It defines who will provide
the required documents.
iv. Information on port of shipment and port of delivery – It defines
where cargo or goods be loaded and place of discharge
In international trade, there are likely to be three separate contracts for the
transportation of goods;
From the seller’s or exporter’s premises in his/her country to a named
point or place in the importer’s country
From the transport operator’s premises in the exporter’s country to the
named point in the importer’s country
From the port of discharge in the importer’s country to the importer’s
Main Changes In The Incoterms 2010
Guidance Notes have been included before each rule
Facilitates usage of electronic records if agreed or where customary
Clearly allocates the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) in the relevant
For ‘String Sales’, Incoterms 2010 clarifies the obligation to ‘procure
goods shipped’ as an alternative to the obligation to ship goods
Allocates obligations to obtain or render assistance in obtaining
security related clearances
Insurance cover has been altered with a view to clarify the parties’
obligation relating to insurance.
Incoterms is now separated into two groups, those applicable to all
modes of transport and those only applicable to sea and inland
waterway transport. The two new additions are DAP and DAT and
four deletions, DAF, DDU, DEQ and DES
Incoterms 2010 Applicable For Sea and Inland Waterway Transport;
FAS: free alongside ship
FOB: free on board
CFR: cost and freight
CIF: cost, insurance and freight
Incoterms 2010 Applicable For All Modes of Transport;
EXW: ex works
FCA: free carrier
CPT: carriage paid to
CIP: carriage and insurance paid to
DAT: delivered at terminal
DAP: delivered at place
DDP: delivered duty paid
PURPOSE OF INCOTERMS
Main task of incoterms is;
to define the sharing of cost and transfer of risk or damage over the
goods, up to an agreed place
to avoid misunderstanding and disputes among the parties over the
sharing of costs and transfer of risk or damage of the goods
Incoterms are used directly by buyers and sellers, and indirectly by banks,
insurers and carriers/forwarding agents
Users of Incoterms
Most letters of credits will state an Intercom
This enables banks to check, to an extent, that:
The documents called for in the credit are consistent with the term
The documents presented are consistent with the term used
If there is loss or damage to cargo, insurers will be at pains to
establish exactly where it has occurred and therefore whether the
buyers or sellers were responsible
Incoterms determine whether it is the buyer or seller that is a risk
To determine which party will be responsible for payment of freight
charges and from which port of loading to port of discharge or any
To determine which party will be responsible for the various activities
FORMAT OF INCOTERMS
All incoterms consist of 3 alpha characters
Incoterms are followed with either a “DELIVERY PLACE/PORT
OF LOADING” or “PLACE OF DESTINATION/PORT OF
E and F terms are usually followed with a place of delivery/port of
C and D terms will usually be followed with a place of destination/
port of discharge
The named place stated after the incoterms, is the place up to
which the seller pays the freight costs. e.g., “EXW New York”
Delivery Point is the point at which the risk transfers from the
seller to buyer.
“Delivery”, in the incoterms sense, has nothing to do with
transfer of ownership. Title of the goods always lies with the
EXW – Ex Works (Aluworks, TemaGhana)
Exporter/Seller is responsible for producing the goods and:
Making them available at the factory premises for the importer
Providing the buyer with commercial invoice for goods
Buyer/Importer is responsible for:
Local transport and insurance to the port of loading
On and off loading charges
2. FAS Free Alongside Shipping (KINTAMPO, Tema Port)
Exporter/seller must arrange to:
Deliver the goods at the point and port of loading named in the contract
Pay for the production of goods, all charges up to delivery of goods
including local transport and insurance cost to the side of the named ship
Buyer/Importer is responsible for:
Choosing the carrier to transport the goods abroad and paying the cost of
freight from the port of loading including the cost of loading on board the
vessel to the port of discharge
Arranging and paying for any export permit or export taxes, excluding
value added tax
Free on board means that the buyer does not pay for transporting or
insuring the goods from the seller’s premises.
The Exporter/seller must:
Pay for the transportation to the named port of shipment
Provide and pay for the export license
The Buyer/Importer must:
Nominate the carrier to carry the goods
Give the seller/exporter the details of the ship/airline, sailing time, airline
3. FOB Free On Board of vessel named carrier/ship (GYATA,
4. CFR – Cost and Freight (named port of discharge, Tema Port)
The seller/exporter must:
Nominate the carrier and so make the contract of carriage
Pay for the transportation of the goods to the place of shipment
and local insurance
The buyer/importer must:
Pay for the marine insurance of goods from the time they are
taken on board to the port of discharge
Pay for the unloading cost at the destination
5. CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight (Named Port of discharge,
The seller has the same responsibility and obligation as that of C&F,
except an added responsibility of arranging and paying for
Buyer should arrange to pay for handling and offloading charges
Obtain the import license
Arrange to pay the import duties; and
Pay for local transport and insurance cost from the port of
discharge to the buyer’s premises
6. DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (Buyer’s Premises)
Means that the seller delivers the goods to the buyer, cleared for
import, and from any arriving means of transport at the named
place of destination.
The seller must pay all import duties including value added tax of
the importer’s country and also provide relevant import license.
The seller has an added responsibility for arranging and payment
of import license of import duties and value added tax
7. DAT – Delivered At Terminal (Shed One, Tema Port)
Means that seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the
arriving means of transport, and placed them at the disposal of the
buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination
delivers the goods on the terminal at the named port of destination
pays for unloading cost
accepts delivery of goods at named port of destination
is responsible for local transport, insurance and others
8. FCA – Free Carrier (Boankra Inland Port, Kumasi)
This term is used where inland port is used in the transportation of goods.
delivers goods to Boankra inland container depot
completes export and customs documentation including obtaining export
The importer makes all arrangements at his own cost and risk to cover
transport of goods to his own premises from Inland Container Depot
arranges for appropriate insurance and obtains policy or certificate
obtains the import license
pays for import duties
9. CPT – Carriage Paid To (Named place of destination)
Similar to CFR, except that exporter must arrange and pay for
transport to the named port of discharge, which could be an inland
completes export and customs requirements including obtaining any
pays export duties and taxes
The buyer/importer must:
obtain import license and pay all the import duties, including value
10. CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid (to named place of
pays for the freight cost
pays for the insurance charges during carriage
arrange for import license or permit
pay import duties and taxes including value added tax
DOCUMENTS USED IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
To know the documents used in the International Trade business
To explain the impact of modern transport on International Trade
To explain the type and features of documents used in
To discuss the types of bill of lading and other documents used in
Documentation in international trade transactions provides tangible
evidence that goods have been ordered, produced and dispatched in
accordance with the buyer’s requirement or presale contract between the
seller and buyer.
Documentation is also to satisfy government regulation in the country of
the exporter or buyer and has thus, become an increasingly important
factor in obtaining finance for International Trade.
Documents have become an important part of international business
because of the complex delivery terms of shipment, payment mechanism
and mode of settlements. Documents can be classified as commercial and
The Impact of Modern Transport on International Trade
The trend towards integrated (door to door) and multimodal transport
accelerated by the advent of the container has made certain traditional
“critical point” under FOB, CFR and CIF no longer important as a point
for the division of functions, costs and risks between the contracting
In addition, since a key function of the transport document is to make
evident the goods ordered and their condition, it should be issued at a
point where the carrier has reasonable means of conducting a check. In
modern transport operations, this point has shifted from the ship’s rail to
seaport or inland terminals. Consequently, there is a requirement for
documents that specify goods received for shipment.
Bill of Lading
There is always a need for a document to cover the movement of
goods from one point to another, either by sea, road or rail.
Sea transport covers about 70% of the world’s trade, so documents
covering goods by sea are very crucial and critical for the
sustenance of trade.
Bill of lading is a document issued by the shipping line covering
goods being transported on sea to the owner of the goods.
It indicates the port of loading, where the carrier will take the
goods and the port of discharge.
It also indicates the date, which goods departed from the port of
loading and the status of the freight.
The document also helps in the determination of the latest
shipment date inserted in the letters of credit.
The Functions of a Bill of Lading
It acts as a receipt for the goods from the shipping company to the
It is evidence of the contract of carriage between the exporter and
It acts as a document of title for goods being shipped overseas.
The goods are released from the overseas port only by producing
one of the original bills of lading.
A bill of lading is a quasinegotiable document. Any transferee for
value who takes possession of an endorsed bill of lading obtains
• Original bills of lading are usually issued in three original sets and
any of the original bills of lading enables the possessor to obtain
Transfer of Title to Goods
Title to the goods can be transferred by the sender, using a marine
bill of lading in one of three ways:
Issuing a bill of lading to order and endorsed in blank.
The title to the goods can be obtained by anyone presenting a
signed original copy of the bill of lading
ii. Issuing the bill of lading to the order of the named buyer or
iii. Issuing the bill of lading to the order of a named buyer, but
arranging for the bill of lading to be presented to the buyer through
the international banking system
The bill of lading will indicate the state in which goods were
received for shipment (clean, dirty or damaged)
Types of Bill of Lading
Liner Bill of Lading
This is a marine bill of exchange for carriage by a vessel on a
scheduled run rather than an “Adhoc” sailing, without a scheduled
route or timetable.
It has the same function as the ordinary Marine bill of exchange
It provides evidence of contract of carriage
It serves as receipt for the shipper/exporter.
It is a document of title the holder has “Constructive” control
over the shipped good.
b) Short Form Bill of Lading
This is a bill of lading which does not contain the shipping
company’s terms and conditions of carriage.
A short form bill of lading can therefore not be a contract of
carriage between the shipping company and the exporter or
overseas buyer, but it refers to the conditions of carriage which
can be found on the master document or on a copy of the carrier’s
c) Container Bill of Lading
Shipping companies issue a bill of lading which simply acts as a
receipt for a container with goods packed in it.
Container bills of lading can be issued to cover goods being
transported on traditional port to port.
Palletized cargoes, and cargoes contained on lash barges, which are
loaded on larger vessels qualify for issuance of container bills of
d) Combined or Through Bill of Lading
Combined transport bill of lading may show evidence that goods
have been collected from a named inland place and have been
dispatched to another seaport or inland container depot in the
The goods, although carried by two or more modes of transport,
are shipped under a single contract of carriage.
e) Charter Party Bill of Lading
A charter party bill of lading is issued by the hirer of a ship to the
exporter and the terms of the bill are subject to the contract of hire
between the ship’s owner and hirer.
The contract is therefore between the exporter and hirer of the vessel,
not the ship owner.
A bill of lading issued for the journey will state “Subject to charter
party” and the contract of carriage is subject to contract for the hire of
f) Transshipment Bill of Lading
These are used when the goods have been transferred from one
vessel to another vessel at a named transshipment port.
Once again the carrier has full responsibility for the whole journey.
2. Sea Way Bill
A sea way bill is a transport document which is issued by the
It is a document which gives details of a consignment of goods and
it acts as:
a contract between the shipping company and the exporter or
a receipt by the shipping company for the goods received and so,
provides evidence of shipment.
A sea waybill is nonnegotiable and is not a document of title.
It is used instead of a bill of lading.
3. Air Way Bill/Air Consignment Note
An air waybill is a waybill for goods transported by air.
It is a contract of carriage and receipt by the Airline for goods
received into custody.
Air way bill is not a document of title.
The airline will hand the goods to the consignee at the port of
discharge without the consignee having to present an original copy
of the waybill
An air waybill provides evidence of dispatch of goods with detailed
flight date, freight, port of loading and discharge, consignee and
signature of the airline.
4. Road Consignment Note/Truck Receipt
A road consignment note is a receipt issued by a carrier for goods
that are transported by road.
The note specifies the name and address of the supplier to the
consignee, place of delivery and the place where the goods are to
be taken by the carrier.
The note acts as both a receipt and a delivery order, and is neither
nonnegotiable nor a document of title.
5. Railway Consignment Note
This is a note issued by a railway corporation for goods dispatched
It is a contract of carriage between the supplier and the railway
The railway authorities will release the goods at their destination to
the consignee, who must apply for them and give proof of identity.
It is not a document of title.
6. Post Office Receipts
Post office receipts are issued by the relevant postal agencies for
goods dispatched by parcel post.
They, thus, provide details and confirmation of dispatch of goods.
The goods will be sent directly to the person or company to whom
the parcel is addressed.
1. Proforma Invoice
Proforma invoice is the price quotation by an exporter to a potential
The quotation indicates description of goods, unit price , total price,
delivery terms, and payment terms.
Proforma invoices are used for the following purposes:
The overseas buyer might need to present a proforma invoice to
government agencies or bank in his country in order to obtain an
import license and foreign exchange for payment of goods
Customers importing under documentary collection are supposed to
obtain prior approval from their respective banks before importing
goods into the country
iii. They serve as a price quotation and might include the terms of
iv. In certain cases, they can be used as a document of tender for
an export contract
2. Commercial Invoice
This is a demand note issued the supplier for goods or services sold or a
claim for payment in connection with goods already supplied to a buyer.
A commercial invoice is a claim for payment for goods under the terms of
the commercial contract.
The commercial invoice will include:
detailed description of goods, quality, unit price and total price
the terms of delivery or Incoterm
terms of payment – open account, documentary credit or advance
method of settlement – by swift, telegraphic transfers, mail transfers,
foreign banker’s draft
3. Certified Invoice
It is a commercial invoice, which also includes a statement by the
exporter about the condition of goods sent or their country of
Some form of statement might be provided at the request of the
buyer or for the benefit or customs authorities
4. Consular Invoice
It is a commercial invoice, which is prepared on a form, printed in the
exporter’s country by the consulate of the buyer’s country.
The Trade Attaché or Consular then stamps it.
The purpose of a Consular invoice is to help the government of the
importing country to control imports in the country.
Its other function is to provide information which forms the basis for
which import duties are paid on goods imported
5. Certificate of Origin
This is a declaration which states the country of origin of the goods
and is common place in countries wishing to identify the origin of
all imported goods.
A certificate of origin is a statement signed by an appropriate
authority certifying that goods were produced in the exporter’s
The forms should be completed by the supplier and may be
authenticated by the Local Chamber of Commerce or other
authorized body in the exporter’s country.
6. Weight Note
This is a document issued by the exporter or third party declaring the
weight of the goods in the consignment.
7. Packing List
This document gives the details of the goods which have been packed.
It is normally required by Customs Excise and Preventive Services
whenever goods are being cleared.
This is a certificate issued by an independent third party resident in the
exporter’s country, ensuring that goods being imported are of high
quality with reasonable price comparisons.
The mandate for companies operating in Ghana like SGS, Cotecna,
Bureau de Veritas/ Ghana Standards Board is to check on quality, as
well as price comparisons.
The mandate of the inspection companies operating in Ghana is
derived from the Import declaration form issued by the Ministry of
8. Inspection Certificate–PreShipment Inspection
9. Final Classification and Valuation Report –
This is a document issued to classify goods that have been imported
into the country.
The document also shows the value of goods and thus, enabling the
Customs Excise and Preventive Service to charge the relevant import
duties as well as sales tax or value added tax.
The importer is required to submit a copy of Importation Declaration
Form to the appointed inspection company in Ghana to enable them
conduct the inspection and the issue the Destination Inspection
Certificate which will classify the goods for CEPS valuation purposes.
It is an evidence that shipment is insured against loss or damage while
Unlike domestic carriers, ocean going steam ship companies assume no
responsibility for the merchandise they carry, unless the loss is caused by
Marine insurance on an international transaction may be arranged by
either the exporter or the importer, depending on the terms of sale.
The laws of a country require the importer to buy such insurance, thus
protecting the local industry and saving foreign exchange.
Basic named perils – sea, jettisons, explosions and hurricanes
Broad named perils – theft, pilferage, nondelivery, breakage and
leakage in addition to the basic perils.
Both policies contain a clause that determines the extent to which
losses caused by an insured peril will be paid.
All risks cover all physical loss or damage from any external cause
and is more expensive than the policies previously mentioned.
War risks are covered under a separate contract.
Three kinds of Marine Insurance Policies:
The premiums charged depend on a number of factors, among
which are the goods insured, the destination, the age of the ship,
whether the goods are stowed on deck or under deck, the volume
of business, how the goods are packed and the number of claims
the shipper has filed.
Because neither the policies nor the premiums are standard, it is
highly recommended that the exporter obtains various quotations.
A Cover Note/Letter of Insurance
This is issued by an insurance broker to provide notice that steps are
being taken to issue a certificate or policy
2. A Certificate of Insurance
It shows the value and details of the shipment and risks covered.
It is signed by the exporter/importer and the insurance company.
Only a certificate of insurance is required when the policy of the
exporter/importer provides “Open Cover” for the whole of its
export trade for one year.
Three Basic Insurance Documents are:
• When an exporter/importer takes out an open cover with any
reputable insurance company for his export or import trade, a
certificate of insurance for each individual shipment will be
provided by the Insurance Company.
3. Insurance Policy
This gives details of risks covered and is evidence of a contract of
Most insurance policies have an “All Risk Policy”, and the main risks
Perils at sea – accidental loss or damage caused by sinking, collision,
sea water, heavy weather and stranding
Jettison – loss caused by a decision of the master of the ship to
throw goods over board so as to lighten the vessel in an emergency
Fire, including smoke damage
Theft – forcible theft of goods rather than pilferage
Damage in loading, transshipment or discharge
Policy or certificate will not cover losses or damage from strikes,
riots, civil commotions, wars, coup d'état or capture and seizure of
vessel and other force majeure.
These risks must be insured separately by payment of an additional
In international trade, there are two financial documents which
provide for payment by the buyer. These are:
after a period of credit
establishing a clear legal undertaking by the buyer to make the
payment either by the Bill of Exchange or promissory note.
A bill of exchange is defined by the Bill of Exchange Act 55, 1961
an unconditional order in writing
addressed by one person to another
signed by the person drawing it
requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or
at a fixed or determinable future date, a certain sum in money, and
acting to the order of a specified person, or to bearer
1. A Bill of Exchange
Bills of exchange can be classified in two types:
a. Sight Bill
The bill requires payment on sight or on demand drift.
All that is required is for the drawee to authorize payment via the
b. Term Bill (Tenor or Usance)
Bills which are payable at a future date are called Term Bills.
With term bills, payment is due 90 days after sight.
Types of Bill of Exchange
When the bill of exchange is presented to the drawee, he should
accept it if he wishes the bill to be honoured.
The drawee would sign the bill of exchange on the front and insert
the date of acceptance.
He would be legally bound to pay 90 days after the date of
acceptance shown on the bill of exchange.
Subdivision of Bill of exchange
Trade bills – these are bills which are drawn on and are accepted
with the underlying transaction being for commerce or trade.
These bills drawn on trading entities are accepted by some.
Such bills from individual persons are risky by their very nature.
b) Bank bills – these are bills are drawn on accepted by the banks.
Such bills carry very little risk, especially if the bank accepting it is
a first class bank.
c) Accommodation bills – these are used by banks to provide
accommodation facilities for their clients
d) Documentary bills and clean bills
It provides a convenient method of collecting payment from
The exporter can seek immediate finance using term bills of
exchange instead of having to wait until the period of credit expires
On payment, the foreign buyer keeps the bill as evidence of
payment. It therefore serves as a receipt.
If a bill of exchange is dishonoured, it may be used by the drawer
to pursue payment at maturity.
Advantages of Using Bill of Exchange
A promissory note is defined in the Bill of Exchange Act of Ghana,
Act 55, 1961 as:
an unconditional promise in writing
made by one person to another
signed by the maker
engaging to pay
on demand or fixed or determinable future time
a sum of money
to the order of a specified person or to bearer
2. Promissory Note
To define Documentary Credit
To examine the general instruction for opening Documentary Credit
To explain the parties involved in the Documentary Credit
To describe the types and benefits of documentary credit
To help students to understand the specialized credit available
To explain the financing mechanisms under documentary credit facility
To discuss the practical handling of discrepant documents under
It is the only payment mechanism which usually satisfies the
seller’s desire for cash and importer’s desire for credit.
A Documentary Credit is a written undertaking issued by a bank,
on behalf of the buyer, to the seller, to pay for goods or services,
provided that the seller presents documents which comply fully
with the terms and conditions of the credit
TYPES OF DOCUMENTARY CREDIT
Irrevocable Credit – incapable of cancellation or modification
except with the consent of the Beneficiary
Revocable Credit – can be cancelled or modified by the importer
at anytime without the consent of the beneficiary.
The cancellation is subject to the customer remaining liable in
respect to any negotiation
PARTIES TO THE DOCUMENTARY CREDIT
Applicant/Buyer/Opener – The party on whose behalf it is issued
Issuing Bank – The bank that issues it and acts for the Applicant
Advising Bank – The Bank through which documentary credit is
conveyed to the beneficiary
Beneficiary – the party to whom the documentary credit is
addressed and who will receive payment.
5) Confirming Bank – the bank that adds its confirmation to a
credit upon the issuing bank’s authorization or request.
Sometimes, an advising bank is requested by the issuing bank to
add an additional commitment to pay the beneficiary.
If it agrees to the request, this advising bank will take a dual role.
BANK’S CONSIDERATION BEFORE ISSUING CREDIT
Status Report/Credit Standing on the Beneficiary
For the protection of both the issuing bank and the applicant,
consideration should be given to a status report on the integrity,
credit worthiness and track record of the beneficiary
Such reports could be obtained from the beneficiary’s bankers
through the importer’s correspondent bank network