The Importance of Export Documentation and Common Compliance Issues.

Whether you are in an exporting business or someone who uses exporting services, you know that there can be a lot of paperwork involved. Why? Why is there so much paperwork that can often seem endless and repetitive?


What can be exported? Most goods can be exported from the United States to many international destinations with the proper paperwork. However, certain goods or items may require special licensing, paperwork, and approvals before they can be exported to their destination.

  1. Goods and products leaving the United States to another country must go through an exporting process.
  2. Many goods cannot be shipped internationally. Check out this list provided by
  3. Many people handle your shipment from the time it arrives at the shipping facility to when it arrives at its international destination. They may not physically handle your package or shipment, but they might review or help process the necessary paperwork. It’s best to make sure your goods are secure, and your paperwork is in order.
  4. When shipping goods to an international destination, it’s essential to plan accordingly and know how long the goods will take to ship as well as clear customs. Wait times for goods sitting in customs in various countries can vary. Make sure you plan accordingly!

One thing you could say in frustration with export documentation is that it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone else. Well, there may be some truth to that. A person, or persons, may have performed some dishonest exporting activities at some point, which has led us to the regulations and requirements we now face. However, exporting does not have to be a negative, dreaded experience.

Export documentation is required for goods leaving one country for another to ensure a variety of things.

  1. Ensure proper taxation and dues are accounted for.
  2. Ensuring products don’t land in the hands of people banned from receiving goods.
  3. Ensure public and environmental safety.

Export documentation keeps those who export within the bounds of export compliance.

Common compliance issues are;

Consistent problems with errors or omissions on documentation (knowingly or unknowingly)

  • Not obtaining specific approvals or licenses for special items (guns/weapons, medications, animals, plants, etc.)
  • Shipping goods to restricted destinations (trade embargoed countries such as North Korea or Iran)
  • Shipping goods to a person or business already on the restricted parties or denied persons list

Requirements and regulations can vary by country. These can be set by the United States government or the destination country for a multitude of reasons. It’s up to the exporter to ensure that all requirements and regulations are followed prior to shipment to make sure all documentation is in order.

Common documents include a Commercial Invoice, Packing List, Certificate of Origin, and Shipper’s Letter of Instruction to the Freight Forwarder. There could also be product-specific or country-specific documents.

One of the features within TRABEX is the Requirements Guide. As a TRABEX partner, this is your bible to navigating through creating and managing export documents to ensure compliance between the United States and the destination country.


If you’re exporting, you need to know who you’re shipping to and make sure that they aren’t on a government list somewhere that says they aren’t allowed to receive goods for one reason or another.

Reasons can vary, but the ultimate result is to comply and not provide them with goods because of any restrictions they may be under.

Restricted Parties Screening is another excellent feature within TRABEX that offers batch screening, automatic screening resolution, continuous screening, and other great features to manage your shipping entities.

Ready to talk exporting compliance? Schedule a demo with us today.