How to write Invoice and Packing List for the International Trade?
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About how to write Invoice and Packing List

Explained Invoice and Packing List by YouTube Video

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This is 6:36 video.

This time, let’s take a look at how to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST” in trading.

What is Invoice and Packing List?

What do “INVOICE” and “PACKING LIST” mean?

You may be aware that they are essential documents for exporting cargo and documents, which need to be submitted to a freight forwarder, or a customs broker for importing cargo.

Let’s check out their actual roles.

First, let’s take a look at the role of an “INVOICE”. As you may have seen, an invoice is a document which is provided with goods you purchased through an online shop.

In the trade to the oversea, there is an invoice with specific format.

Invoice and Packing List are used for the customs clearance

When trading, an “INVOICE” is used to check the contents of exporting and importing, and the amount of duty which needs to be paid by an importing country is calculated.

It might make more sense to call it a “list of purchased goods”, or a “delivery note”. Due to Customs law, this document will be required for export and import declaration without exception.

Secondly, let’s take a look at the role of a “PACKING LIST”.

When trading, a “PACKING LIST” is used to check the volume of importing and exporting of cargo, how the cargo is wrapped, and what case mark is on the cargo.

Information has to be correct

Therefore, don’t think it is just a list of purchased goods or a delivery note. It is important that the correct information is present and clear.

You should never put a lower product price in an attempt to pay less duty, or underestimate the volume to reduce shipping costs.

Even if a freight forwarder and a customs broker do not notice, it may be identified after customs post audit, and you will be required to pay a higher rate of tax.

Or, it may also become apparent when loading a vessel or an airplane, which could cause cancellation of export, leading to increased cost and time to collect the cargo, and to cancel the vessel.

To prevent this from happening, remember to complete these important documents correctly.

Invoice and Packing List Template

You may wonder where you could find the template to complete. There is no specific template for an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST”.

If you need to create one, you can use our company’s templates.

Please Download the Template here.

Let’s take a look at how to complete an “INVOICE”.

How to complete Invoice and Packing List

An “INVOICE” should contain information such as exporter and importer, product description, name of the product, quantity, total value, and vessel and flight number of the transport.

It is generally written in English. This “INVOICE” acts as an invoice, in addition to customs documents for export and import.

Therefore, it is important to create an “INVOICE” with the contents of the trading, which can be easily read and understood. Also, when completing, it is important to write clearly, correctly, and in detail.

In the same format, write an importer’s, (consignee’s) company name, address, telephone number and FAX number.There is no rule for the numbering of an invoice, so you can any format.

It will be useful to have a certain rule, such as numerical order, dates, sender’s country or company’s initials. From my experience, it is common to use dates.

You need to write the name of the arriving port or the airport and the country. The number of the flight or the vessel, and the departure date should also be written.

If you are using a broker and unsure about this information, please check with them. Trade terms needs to be written.

You shouldn’t have any issue if you use the trade term set by Incoterms.
For example, you can write CIF TOKYO and FOB SHANGHAI.

There are no rules for case marks, so you can choose your own. It is normally followed by a company name, destination, box number and country of production or an exporting country.


Now, let’s take a look at the most important part, detail of the cargo. Write the importing and exporting product name of the cargo, quantity, individual value and total value.

A customs broker will decide the tariff code by looking at the product name, so it is important to write the information clearly and in detail.

Please add the trade term. We often see T/T on the customer’s invoice. Finally, the signature of person in charge will be required. Some countries do not accept the invoice without the signature.

Detail/Description on Packing List

Next, let’s take a look at how to write a “PACKING LIST”. The content of a “PACKING LIST” is not very different from an “INVOICE”. The majority of companies use the same template. The difference is in the detail of the cargo.

Information should include the size and the weight of the cargo, the weight before packing and after packing. However, you do not need to add the unit and the total value.

If the number of cases and the total quantity of goods in each case are included in the “PACKING LIST”, it will ensure the process runs smoother in the case of cargo inspection.

You can combine Invoice and Packing List

In practice, unlike “INVOICE” which is required without exception, you do not require a “PACKING LIST” as long as other documents include the total quantity and the weight of the cargo.

Therefore, if there is less cargo to transport, you can combine the “INVOICE” and the “PACKING LIST” together.

Needless to say, a “PACKING LIST” is an important document to manage the cargo, and is useful when the cargo goes missing at the arriving destination.

I hope you are able to create a “PACKING LIST” clearly and correctly.


By now, you know how to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST”. These documents are not difficult to write once you get used to them.

Once you have decided on the template which you intend to use, you just need to complete the template with the required information.

I may be repeating myself, but it is very important to write an “INVOICE” and a “PACKING LIST” in detail, correctly, and clearly. If you remember these three key points, you can expect a smooth trade business.

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