Export/Import Terms Company Profile

International Chemical Business Terms

Below is a list of export and import related terms to help you navigate the international chemical business. All terms are listed alphabetically.


C/R (Crate, Crate Packaging Specifications)

A method of packing using a wooden frame that makes the goods visible from the outside and allows people to see the contents even after packing. Together with the case packing, it is used for heavy goods that cannot be packed using cartons. Because less materials are needed compared to the case packing, the packing cost can be reduced and the final weight can be lighten, however attention needs to be paid to the damages made through the transparent part and to waterproofing.

C/S (Case, Case Packaging Specifications)

The method of packing by putting the goods in wooden boxes and sealing them up. Same as the crate packing, it is used for packing heavy goods. Besides wooden materials, steel and tri-wall (reinforced cardboard) are also used. It has an anti-theft effect because of the sealing packing, and it can also protect the goods from damages caused by rain and dust.

CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor, YAS, Yen Application Surcharge)

In marine transportation, the extra fee demanded by the shipping company to the owner of the goods on top of the usual ocean freight, for the expenses resulted from fluctuations in currency exchange rates. It was introduced because the ocean freight is usually in US dollars, the yen-based incomes decrease due to an increase in the yen exchange rate. Increase of the usual fares triggers owners’ protest, however, strong yen can easily convince cargo owners as a factor other than shipping companies’ marketing efforts.

Cargo (Goods)

The articles subject to transportation.

Cargo Sublet

The act of renting space from another shipping company in order to fulfill the contract with the owner of the goods, in cases when a shipping company finds it difficult to secure necessary ship space.


An operator who receives the goods from the owner and carries it by ship or plane.

Carton (carton packing)

A method of packing using cardboard boxes, used usually for packing relatively light articles.

Catch-All Controls

The system introduced in April 2002 with the purpose of regulating the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Even when handling articles others than the specific goods and technologies that might be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and other conventional weapons (such articles are listen as regulated articles in the Control List), if these might be used for development, production, usage and storage of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, radioactive, biological and chemical weapons, missiles, unmanned planes, etc.) and for development, production and usage of conventional weapons, authorization of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry is necessary.
Therefore, when an exporter exports goods or provides technology, it is necessary to verify usage and users. Excluding a few exceptions such as foods, animals and plants, most things are within the scope of this regulation.
As a result of having confirmed the usage and users, in case the exporter finds that the articles might be used for development, production, usage or storage of weapons, and in case it is informed (inform notice) by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry that it should apply for an authorization, the permission of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry is necessary for export of the goods or for providing the technologies. Because it is complemented with a Control List, it is also called Complementary Export Regulation. Regarding export of goods and providing technology to the white-listed countries in the Schedule 3 of Japan’s Export Trade Control Order (27 countries listed as of 2013: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria - added in July 2012, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America). These countries are exempted from the regulations of Catch-All Controls. When doing exports of goods overseas or providing technologies, an exporter needs to confirm from the viewpoint of both the Control List and the Catch-All Controls.

Certificate of Origin

The document attesting the place of production and manufacturing of the goods. It is a document necessary in order to get approval of the application of customs duties lower than the normal statutory rates (preferential duties, EPA/FTA rate, etc.) when making an import declaration. In order to get the approval of application of preferential duties when importing to Japan, the document needs to be in a format called FORM A, issued by the Chamber of Commerce having the authority or by the customs authorities of the country of origin, and its validity is one year from the date of issuance. For purposes other than the duties reduction, it may be used according to necessity of import bans on specific domestic goods, such as the Middle East countries’ boycott of Israel.

Certificate of Origin under Economic Partnership Agreement

The Certificate of Origin issued based on the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement). It is a document necessary to receive the application of EPA rates, which are lower than usual customs rates, at the importing country’s customs, for goods exported from Japan. In case the goods to be exported meet the originating status established in the EPA, the issuance of the certificate can be done at the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is the issuing authority appointed by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The purpose of use differs from general Certificate of Origin (Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin) issued by the local Chambers of Commerce, and it is necessary to obtain a certificate each time, for each shipping.

CFS (Container Freight Station)

A facility in a container terminal, the place where a shipping company loads less-than-carload cargo (LCL cargo) in containers for different destinations, or unloads less-than-carload cargo (LCL cargo) from containers. The discharge rates practiced here are calculated according to the volume (M3) and weight (MT) of the cargo, and the shipping company charges the owner of the goods or the consignee (CFS charge). The CFS charge for exports is a part of FOB charge not included in the freight fare.

Clean B/L (Clean bill of lading, bill of lading without accident)

The bill of lading (B/L) issued when the goods are loaded without apparent damages and there is no excess or deficiency in quantity. In contrast, in case the goods are in bad condition a foul bill of lading (Foul B/L) is issued. When settled, the letter of credit (L/C), the negotiating bank accepts only a clean bill of lading for payment.

Clean Letter of Credit

The letter of credit that promises payment and acceptance of the bill, even without having the shipping documents, such as an invoice or bill of lading (B/L) attached. Because it is not accompanied by the guaranteeing shipping documents, it carries a certain risk, therefore it is rarely used in import/export trade and used more often in import/export trade, such as in fares, insurance premium payments and loan payments.

Clock Wise Stowage

A basic stowage method for transporting right-hand drive cars on a car carrier ship, through which the cars are stowed in a clock wise order around the slope where the cars are coming in and out. Because the cars are parked back in, it is possible to unload by simply driving the cars forward. The left-hand drive cars are placed counter clock wise. Nippon Yusen introduced this system in 1977.


In marine transportation, the consolidator (forwarder) collects the less-than-carload cargo (LCL cargo) that only partially fulfills a container from various owners and transports it to each destination in one container, however there are cases when not enough goods to be loaded together can be collected with good timing for one company. In such a situation, the goods are co-loaded in the container of a different operator who collects a large amount of goods with the same destination. In this case, the consolidator who co-loads in another operator’s container is called Co-loader. In cases a co-load is performed, the co-loader may charge the owner or the consignee with a co-load fee in addition to the usual fare.


One of the methods to negotiate when discrepancies are found between the content of the export documents and the letter of credit, in the transaction of the letter of credit (L/C). The negotiating bank first sends the shipping documents to the issuing bank, waits for the payment by the issuing bank and pays the price to the exporter. Situations of transactions without a letter of credit (L/C), such as D/P (Document against Payment) or D/A (Document against Acceptance) may also be handled as collection. If the exporter can financially afford, it can venture to choose the collection method, being able to use it to reduce the burden of the interest cost.

Collection (Cable Negotiation)

In the transaction of the letter of credit (L/C), a method of transaction for cases when discrepancies have been found between the export documents and the content of the letter of credit. The negotiating bank inquires that content through a Swift to the bank by issuing the letter of credit, and after obtaining confirmation for accepting the undertaking of those documents from the bank issuing the letter of credit, accepts the transaction of the documents from the exporter.

Confirmed L/C (Confirmed Letter of Credit)

The letter of credit (L/C) guarantees the payment by the issuing bank, however when there are uncertainties regarding the issuing bank itself, the confirmed letter of credit is a letter of credit through which the payment guarantee is confirmed again by a bank from the exporting country (usually, the exporter’s bank). The exporter pays the confirmation fee to the confirming bank (the bank who confirms in the letter of credit that payment is guaranteed) according to the price provided in the letter of credit and the risk rate of the issuing bank. If the credit standing of the issuing bank itself is good (including the country risk of the issuing bank’s country), a discount rate applies to the confirmation fee the exporter pays to the confirming bank.

Consignee (Recipient)

The recipient of the goods at the freight destination, mentioned on the bill of lading (B/L) in marine transportation, and on the Air Waybill in air transportation. Usually, the consignee is the importer in most of the cases, however sometimes it may vary, such as in the L/C (letter of credit) settlement the bank issuing the L/C becomes the consignee.


In marine transportation, the transportation service done when, in order to be able to reserve one container, goods with the same destination are collected and consolidated into one container. Also, the operator providing this service.

Constructive Total Loss (Total Constructive Loss, Presumed Total Loss, Financial Total Loss)

One of the concepts of total loss besides the actual total loss. The case when a total loss is authorized even though the insured cargo is not completely damaged, because the repair and transportation cost exceeds the value of the cargo and not doing restoration is considered advisable. This is also called presumed a total loss.


A case for transportation aimed to provide a standardized unit of cargo, made of iron or aluminum. The most common cargo container worldwide is the marine cargo container standardized by ISO (International Organization for Standardization), available in two types: 20 feet (about 6 meters) long and 40 feet (about 12 meters) long. The width is 8 feet (about 2.4 meters) and the height is 8.6 feet (about 2.6 meters), however there is also the high cube container, a 40-feet type container with a height of 9.6 feet (about 2.9 meters), one foot higher than usual. (All sizes are external diameters.) According to the Road Traffic Act, the maximum payload for land transportation in Japan varies according to the number of axles on the trailer chassis pulling the container (the same as the number of tires when looking from just beside at the chassis, which is the platform truck under the container), and when using a three-axle chassis heavier goods can be loaded than when using a two–axle chassis. If transportation is done using a three-axle chassis, on a 20-feet container the max payload is [container gross weight 24,000kg - the container’s weight about 2,300kg (Iron container example. The weight of the containers varies.) = about 21,700kg] and for a 40 feet container the maximum payload is [container gross weight 30,480kg - the container’s weight about 3,800kg (an example of iron container) = about 26,680kg].
The usual marine transportation container is called a dry container, and beside this there are also special containers, such as the reefer container for transporting refrigerated cargo, the tank container for transporting liquid cargo, and the open top container suitable for transporting lengthy and oversized cargo.

Container Seal

The seal attached to the locking part after finishing loading the cargo for export in the container (after finishing vanning) so that the container’s door cannot be opened. It is useful for the prevention of loss or theft of the goods inside the container and for avoiding the mixture of goods from a different cargo. The seal is numbered. The same number is always written in the manifest and the bill of lading.

Container Ship

The cargo ship transporting 20 feet (about 6 meters) long and 40 feet (about 12 meters) long marine cargo containers standardized by ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
Traveling mainly on international routes with a speed of about 40-50 km per hour (about 20-30 knots), it has a high service speed for a cargo ship. Because it doesn’t have a stevedoring equipment, it loads and unloads the cargo with the gantry crane at the wharf.

Container Terminal

A port facility that becomes the point of contact between the sea and the land, such as for loading on a ship the containers transported on land with a trailer, or loading on a trailer the container unloaded from a container ship. It consists of facilities such as the wharf where the container ship comes along the dock for loading and unloading the containers, the gantry crane that loads and unloads the containers, the container yard (CY) where the containers are gathered and the container freight station (CFS). Also called the container berth.

Container Yard

The place inside the container terminal designated by each shipping company for the delivery and reception of the container. Here the containers are gathered, stored, and also loaded and unloaded on the chassis.
When making the import, the containers unloaded from the container ship with a gantry crane are moved with straddle carriers or trailers in the container yard, which is a bonded area, and wait for the import authorization from the customs. When exporting, the containers with the goods are carried with trailers to the container terminal and loaded onto a container ship with a gantry crane.

Containers Load Plan

A document with a detailed description of the goods loaded in the container. In a FCL cargo (CY cargo) usually the marine cargo carrier (forwarder), who is the representative of the goods’ owner, prepares the document when the goods are loaded in the container and submits it when carrying the container loaded with the export goods to the shipping company’s container yard (CY). Besides the cargo details, the container number, container seal number, container type, ship name, port of loading, port of discharge, exporter’s name and importer’s name are also mentioned.

Conventional Rate of Duty

The customs tariff to impose customs duties at a less than a certain rate regarding particular articles based on the treaty with a foreign country. In Japan, only the WTO conventional rates of duties based on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Convention exist, and in principle these duty rates are applied between the WTO member countries. The same duty rates ought to be applied unconditionally to all the WTO member countries, and it is forbidden to set lower duty rates or to do preferential treatment only for certain countries, or conversely, to impose high duty rates. However, by signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between two or more countries, duty rates lower than the WTO conventional rates of duty can be set.

Conventional Vessel (Break Bulk Vessel, Cargo Ship, Bulk Carrier Ship, Conventional Ship)

A cargo ship that transports large goods or goods of a special shape that cannot be loaded on a container ship. Because it is equipped with a crane, it can do stevedoring in any port. It has the meaning of a conventional ship commonly used before the container ship was invented.


Originally, it meant communicating through written documents, however as a trading term, it refers to business documents for transactions in English with foreign countries. Correspondences used to be made via telex and fax, however presently the e-mail is mainly used. It is important to write correspondence text in a concise and easy-to-understand manner.

Correspondent Arrangement

A representation agreement for foreign exchange transactions made between domestic banks and major foreign banks, used for international settlements such as overseas money remittance, bill collection or acceptance of letters of credit. The bank who has signed a correspondent arrangement is called the correspondent bank.

Courier Cargo Service

The overseas delivery of small cargo such as urgent documents and samples by airmail, done by private enterprises. Excluding some exceptions, such as dangerous articles for certain areas, delivery can be made door to door to the destination. International courier service.

CuPES (Customs Procedure Entry System)

The system for electronic applications to the customs. In 2010 the operations were transferred to NACCS and the system was abolished.

Custom Business Act

The law that specifies the necessary matters regarding the customs brokers.

Customs Broker

The company acts as a professional agent and carries out the necessary procedures in order to receive the export/import authorization based on the request (a power of attorney must be submitted) of the person who intends to export or import a cargo.
It has been recognized to perform, on behalf of the client (as a representative), the export/import declarations to the customs, the payment of the import tariffs and consumption tax and the filing of objections. According to the Customs Business Act, in order to conduct the customs brokerage, the customs broker has to fulfill requirements such as employment of a registered customs specialist, and to receive the authorization of the head of customs office having jurisdiction over that place.

Customs Clearance

The person who wants to export or import a cargo, makes the necessary declarations to the customs and receives the export or import authorization from the customs.

Customs Duty

The tax imposed upon the cross-border transactions of products. Formerly, many export taxes and transit duties existed, however today it refers mainly to the import customs duties imposed by the government of the importing country when importing. There are two main purposes: to increase the national income and to protect domestic industries.

Customs Inspection

At customs, the act of verifying if the cargo intended for export or import corresponds to the content of the declaration, if the cargo meets the standards established by law, or if the item classification and the customs duty amount are correct. Depending on the place the inspection, customs inspection on the spot or customs inspection at an examination site is performed, and depending on the target of the inspection, sample inspection, sampling inspection or whole inspection is done. In the case of the whole inspection, costs will be expensive including the cost of carrying the goods to the examination site. In the past, the inspection was done by unpacking the cargo, however recently inspection using X-rays is mainly performed.

Customs Inspection in the Examination Site

When the customs examine the import or export cargo, the inspection is performed by carrying the cargos to the customs’ examination site.

Customs Inspection on the Spot

The inspection having a customs officer go to the storage place of the cargo when the customs examines the import or export cargo. In most cases the inspection is usually performed at the customs’ examination site, however in cases when carrying the goods is difficult, the inspection is performed with this method.

Customs Tariff Schedules

The table mentioning the tariff rates established for each item after classifying various goods by item according to a fixed procedure. Japan’s customs tariff schedules is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (H.S. Code).