Difference between pro forma invoice & commercial invoice

Written by cheryl frazier
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Difference between pro forma invoice & commercial invoice
International Trade (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Holger (PC-Problems))

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ranks the United States first on its list of import countries. The U.S. ranks as the third non-collective country for exports. Pro forma invoices and commercial invoices are used in negotiating and finalising these trade transactions.

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Pro Forma Invoice

The pro forma invoice is generally submitted as a quotation in the early stages of import and export trade negotiations. Export.gov cautions its readers to take time to understand a country's terms before submitting a pro forma invoice.

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is the finalised bill for exported merchandise. It is often used by a government to assess customs duties.

Importer

The importing buyer submits a request for a pro forma invoice quotation. The document is used to negotiate with the exporting seller, apply for licensing to import the merchandise and arrange financing. The importer receives a commercial invoice based on the agreed-upon terms.

Exporter

The exporter prepares the quotation and clearly identifies it as a pro forma invoice. A finalised pro forma invoice may also be sent with the merchandise to facilitate the importation process. The exporter prepares and issues the commercial invoice according to agreed-upon terms and government guidelines.

Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) safeguards the United States against high-risk cargo and unsafe imports. The agency's publication "Importing into the United States" provides pro forma invoice and commercial invoice preparation and process guidelines for those wishing to import goods into the United States.

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