Cross-border terminology

This glossary will help you to understand words and phrases that int'l shoppers use in int'l shipping. It includes carrier terms, which were created or adopted.

Import Duty A type of tax that a country's customs authority collects from the person bringing in goods from other countries. The amount of the tax is calculated based on how much money these goods are worth and country’s regulations and duty de minimis values.
Import Tax A tax is a fee that the country, state, or province charges people for importing things. The taxes are different depending on what country you are in.
Landed Cost The total price you have to pay for something that was bought from a different country. This is usually made up of things like taxes, duties and import fees. Sometimes these things are not taken into account when the total price of a purchase is made up.
Incoterm International Commercial Terms are trade terms for the delivery of goods. They provide certainty and clarity to businesses and traders in the industry. Incoterms and rules are standardized and published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). There are currently 11 incoterms for 2020. Seven of these incoterms are for any mode(s) of transportation, and four incoterms are for sea and inland waterway transport. Some incoterm examples include DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) and DPU (Delivery-At-Place Unloaded). See the next section for more details about specific Incoterms and click here for more information from the ICC about incoterms.
DAP (Delivery at Place) In DAP, the shipper is responsible for the costs and risk of damage or loss of moving goods to a specific location. Once the shipment arrives at the agreed-upon location and is ready for unloading, responsibility shifts to the buyer. They are also responsible for paying import duties and taxes (if applicable).
DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) Using an Incoterm for the shipper or exporter taking a risk of costs on the shipment. With small parcels or low-value shipments, DDP is a loosely used term indicating the business (shipper) is responsible for all the duties, taxes, and clearance fees without taking on same risk as true DDP. DDP is used interchangeably with following terms: DTP (Duties and Taxes Paid): a DHL-specific term for their billing service that allows for duties, taxes, and import fees to be billed to the shipper or other third-party. Free domicile: a term that is synonymous with DDP and DTP that indicates the duties, taxes, and fees to be billed to the shipper or other third-party. UPS typically uses this term whereas FedEx and DHL do not use it as often.
Commercial invoice A commercial clearance is not done by customs. It is done by an authorized broker. If there are any additional fees, they will be charged by the broker or clearing agent. The fee may be a COD fee, a disbursement fee, or a brokerage fee, etc.
Customs Customs is a government agency that collects taxes on imports. Sometimes, customs clears shipments on behalf of people who do not have a customs broker.
EEI (Electronic export information) The EEI only applies to US exports. You have to file it with the US Bureau of Foreign Trade Division for all goods over $2,500 in value that are exported from the US. You can get an EEI through
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