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.


IATA (International Air Transport Association)

A trade association of the world’s airlines operating on international routes. Founded in April 1945 as the successor of the former International Air Traffic Association and headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with executive offices in Geneva, Switzerland. It aims at the development of the airline industry, promotion of a safe, reliable and economical air transportation, strengthening the partnership between airlines and offering environmental solutions. Airfares and transportation regulations are established upon discussion between the member airlines. It consists of about 230 airlines, including three Japanese companies, Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) as members. It usually reads “iata”, but it may also read “aiata”.

IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (Dangerous Goods Regulations manual)

Japanese translation of Dangerous Goods Regulations revised and published every year by IATA in order to provide handling procedures for safe transportation of dangerous goods by airmail.
Regulations regarding goods with restrictions on air transportation, classification of dangerous goods, packing regulations, labeling methods and necessary documents are mentioned. For transportation of dangerous goods via airmail, it is necessary to become familiar with the latest regulations.

IBC Code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk)

International regulations regarding the construction and equipment of ships used to transport dangerous chemicals.

IGC Code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk)

International regulation regarding the construction and equipment of ships used to transport liquefied gas.

IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code)

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) within the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to ensure safety transportation of international dangerous goods. It establishes definition, classification and list of dangerous goods, containers regulation, transportation procedure, regulations for examination of containers, transportation standards, etc.

IMO (International Maritime Organization)

A specialized agency of the United Nations that addresses various issues for implementation of international rules regarding shipping and the ocean, such as maintenance of marine safety, prevention of marine pollution and effective shipping. In 1958 the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization was founded, and in 1982 it changed its name to the current name. Headquartered in London.


The importer of the goods.


The international regulations regarding the standards for the interpretation of trade terms, established by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 1935 in order to prevent conflicts and misunderstandings that occur in transactions due to differences in trade practices between countries. The official name is “International Rules for the Interpretations of Trade Terms”. Being arbitrary rules they are not compulsory in themselves, however if the parties have an agreement based on Incoterms, it has the effect of a binding agreement for the parties involved. After repeated revisions, the 2010 version (Incoterms 2010) defining terms divided into four categories and 11 rules is presently the latest edition. However, the former editions did not become invalid, therefore it is preferable to mention which version applies when signing the contract.
The below table shows terms and conditions divided into two categories and 11 articles as stipulated in “Incoterms 2010”.

Incoterms 2010 Terms and Conditions
 AbbreviationTerms and Conditions 
(1) (Rules for Any Mode or Modes of Transport) EXWEx WorksEx-Factory, delivered at factory
FCAFree CarrierDelivered at a specified place, delivered by the seller to the carrier at a specified place of delivery
CPTCarriage Paid ToTransportation costs included (delivered to the carrier), specified place of destination
CIPCarriage and Insurance Paid ToTransportation and insurance costs included (delivered to the carrier)
DATDelivered at TerminalDelivered free of costs at the terminal
DAPDelivered at PlaceDelivered free of costs to a specified destination
DDPDelivered Duty PaidDelivered free of costs to a specified destination, customs duties supported by the seller (customs duties included)
(2) (Rules for Sea and Inland Waterway Transport) FASFree Alongside ShipDelivered alongside the vessel
FOBFree On BoardDelivered onboard the vessel
CFRCost and FreightCost of freight included (delivered onboard the vessel)
CIFCost Insurance and FreightCost of freight and insurance included (delivered onboard the vessel)

Inland Depot

The physical distribution base, a bonded area situated inland in areas other than the vicinity of ports or airports. Maintained by local governments with the goal of promoting trade and economic globalization of inland regions. Because it provides facilities for bonded warehousing and customs clearance, the imported container can be bonded transported and de-vanned here without de-vanning it beforehand.

Inspection of Storage in the Container

See Inspection of Storage of Dangerous Goods in Containers.

Inspection of Storage of Dangerous Goods in Containers

The inspection done by national registration agencies such as Japan Marine Surveyors and Sworn Measurers’ Association and Shin Nihon Kentei Kyokai before loading, when transporting specific dangerous goods (explosives, high-pressure gases, some inflammable liquids, organic peroxide, some toxic substances, radioactive substances and some corrosive substances) provided in the Regulations for the Carriage and Storage of Dangerous Goods (Dangerous Goods regulations) on a container ship. Aiming to enhance the safety of dangerous goods transportation by sea, the inspection of the storage method of dangerous goods in containers is carried out during vanning. For transportation with tank containers, an inspection is not required.

Insurance Policy (Insurance Certificate)

The certificate issued by the insurance company as proof of the provisions included in the insurance contract.

Insurance Premium

The amount of money the party that purchases a marine insurance (the insurance contractor) pays to the insurance company (insurer). The insurance premium is calculated by applying an insurance rate to the insurance price (usually 110% of the CIF price of the cargo), however the insurance rate is decided by the insurance company based on the past performance of the insurer, the nature of the cargo, the place of destination, etc.


One of the international transportation or distribution operator who performs integrated door-to-door transportation from collection of cargo to international transportation and delivery, using only the company’s managerial resources. Because it builds a wide-area transportation network, a large-scale capital investment in such as airplanes, collection and delivery cars and picking terminals is necessary. FedEx (U.S.), UPS (U.S.), DHL (Germany), TNT (the Netherlands) fit into this category.

Interbank Transaction (foreign exchange)

The foreign currency transactions between banks made in foreign exchange markets.
The exchange rate applied here is called the “interbank rate”.

International Multimodal Transport

Performing an integrated transportation from the point of collection of the cargo to the final destination using two or more means of transportation by the same carrier. Combining ship, railway, trucks, airplanes, etc.


A near port. For Japan, it refers to the ports within the Far East and Southeast Asian countries or their coastal waters.


The document that serves as both a detailed statement and a bill, mentioning the name, quantity, price, terms of contract and contract unit prices of the cargo. In trade transactions, it is the most important document together with the bill of lading (B/L). A document indispensable in the customs clearance procedure of the cargo. There are the following types of invoice:
Commercial Invoice
The document mentioning details of the cargo, issued by the seller (exporter) to the buyer (importer), serving as an advice of dispatch, statement of delivery, inventory of goods, price calculation statement and invoice.
Name of the articles in the cargo, quantity, unit price, amount, ship name, shipping date, shipping port, destination port, etc. are mentioned.
Proforma Invoice
In general business situations it refers to the document mentioning the price and other contract terms, issued by the seller (exporter) after the receipt of the written order and the notification of order from the buyer (importer). After confirming this document, the buyer arranges a bank remittance and opening of a L/C. Accordingly, interpretation in Japanese would be closer to a confirmation of order rather than a quote.
Customs Invoice
The invoice issued for the customs in order to make the declaration of export during the export customs clearance.
Consular Invoice
In order the prove the validity of the price of exported goods, the consulates of the importing country located within the exporting country issues a visa on the invoice or certificate of origin prepared by the exporter. It is used for a fair collection of customs duties in importing countries and for preparing statistic materials. Although there is tendency to abolish it recently, there still are countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America where this invoice is required for the customs clearance when importing. Because the consular visa is costly and time consuming, when there are modifications in the content of the documents, such as those caused by change of loading date, it becomes a troublesome problem.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization)

A private nonprofit organization founded in February 1947 for development of international standards in industrial fields (mining and manufacturing, agriculture, pharmaceuticals industries etc. excluding electronic equipment) and promotion of their utilization. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with over 150 member countries. The participation is limited to representatives of each country’s national standards organizations, and from Japan the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) is participating. The standards established by the International Organization for Standardization are ISO Standards, for example there are international standards for industrial products such as the ISO screw thread, but also international standards regarding mechanisms of quality control, such as ISO 9001. The ISO standards are the consumers’ criteria for product selection and recently, obtaining ISO standards sometimes becomes a condition of transaction.

ISO Container (Tank Container, Tanktainer, Isotainer)

A type of container for marine cargo, used mainly for transportation of liquid cargo. Manufactured according to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards, it is also called ISO container (ISO tank). The interior is usually made of stainless steel fixed in a metallic frame. Different from the dry container, the 40 feet-size type is not available, but only the 20 feet type. Transportation with a tank container is typically requested to a specialized operator.