Glossary of International Trade Terms

Click on the alphabet group
A-C   |  D-F  | G-L  | M-R  | S-Z

- D -

Deed of Assignment: A banking arrangement between the beneficiary of a letter of credit and a third party - usually the supplier of the goods - who requires an assurance of
payment.  The beneficiary of the credit is the assignor: part of the proceeds of the
credit are irrevocably assigned to the assignee.

Deed of protest: Document evidencing that a protest has been carried out.
In a collection, a bank may be asked to do this if a bill of exchange is not
paid, accepted or honored at maturity.

Deferred Payment Credit: A type of letter of credit which provides for payment some time after presentation of the shipping documents by the exporter (i.e. x days after sight).

Demurrage: Charges made for storing goods at the port of destination while awaiting
collection by the buyer.  These may be incurred unintentionally if the goods arrive before the buyer has received the document of title.

Devaluation: The official lowering of the value of one country's currency in terms of one or more foreign currencies.

Direct Financing Lease(Direct Lease):  A non-leveraged lease by a lessor (not a manufacturer or dealer) in which the lease meets any of the definitional criteria of a capital lease, plus certain additional criteria.

Discounting of bills: Where the payee of a term bill requires payment immediately, a bank may discount the bill, i.e. make immediate payment, deducting an amount for
interest over the term of the bill.

Dispatch: An amount paid by a vessel's operator to a charter if loading or unloading is completed in less time than stipulated in the charter party.

Distributor: A foreign agent who sells for a supplier directly and most often collects all payments from customers and maintains an inventory of the supplier's products.

Dock receipt:  A receipt issued by an ocean carrier to acknowledge receipt of a shipment at the carrier's dock or warehouse.

Dock Statement: A receipt issued by an ocean carrier to acknowledge the receipt of a shipment at the carrier's dock or warehouse facilities.

Document of title: A transport document (usually a bill of lading) which (when appropriately made out) entitles the bearer to claim the goods from the carrier.

Documentary collection: Procedure in which banks in the buyer's and seller's country act for the seller by presenting commercial documents to the buyer along with a payment
demand (usually a bill of exchange).

Documentary credit: sometimes used as another name for a letter of credit.

Draft: Another name for a bill of exchange.

Drawee: Party on whom a bill of exchange is drawn, i.e. who is required to make
payment.  In the context of collections, usually the buyer.  In letters of credit, the drawee is usually a bank.

Drawer: Party drawing up the bill of exchange. Usually also the payee, to whom the
money is due. Often used to designate the 'seller'.

Dumping: Exporting/importing merchandise into a country below the domestic price or the costs incurred in production and shipment.

Duty: A tax on imports imposed by the customs authority of a country.  Duties are generally based on the value of the product being imported (ad valorem), weight, or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duties).  Also known as a tariff.

- E -

Economic Life(Useful Life): The period of time during which an asset will have economic value and be usable.

Effective Lease Rate: The effective rate (to the lessee) of cash flows resulting from a lease transaction. To compare this rate with a loan interest rate, a company must include in the cash flows any effect the transactions have on federal tax liabilities.

Endorsement: Signing on the back of a document so as to assign a right or benefit to
another party.  Endorsement by the seller may be necessary for transport documents,      insurance documents, bills of exchange or many other documents.

Engagement: The assumption of payment responsibility in respect of a letter of credit, e.g.
when an Advising bank agrees to add its confirmation to a credit.

Equity Participant: The owner participant, trustor owner, or grantor owner.

Equipment Schedule: A document that describes in detail the equipment being leased or purchased. For a lease, it may also state the lease term, commencement date, repayment schedule and location of the equipment.

Euro Dollars: US funds deposited in banks outside the United States.  This usually means banks in Europe or the European Union.

Euro: The single currency of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) introduced in January 1999.  EMU members are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.

Exchange permit:  A government permit sometimes required by the importer's government to enable the import firm to convert its own country's currency into foreigh currency .

Exchange rate:  The price of one currency in terms of another.

Ex-works (EXW): Buyer bears all costs and assumes all risks for the consignment once it has left the seller's premises.

Expiry date: The date when a letter of credit is no longer valid - i.e. the date beyond which it cannot be used.

EX-IM: The US Export/Import bank. 

Export Broker: An individual or firm that brings buyers and sellers together for a fee, but does not rake part in the actual sales transaction.

Export Management Company (EMC): A private firm that transacts export business on behalf of its client companies in return for a commission, salary, or retainer.

Export License: A general export license covers the exportation of goods not restricted under the terms of a validated export license.  No formal application or written authorization is needed to ship exports under a general export license.

Export Subsidies:  Any form of government payment that helps an exporter or manufacturing concern to lower its export costs.

- F -

Fair Market Purchase Option:  An option to purchase leased property at the end of the lease term at its then fair market value. The lessor does not have the ability to retain title to the equipment if the lessee chooses to exercise the purchase option.

Fast Track Negotiating:  Authority provided by the U.S. Congress to the Executive Branch to negotiate amendment-proof trade agreements.

FEU:A Forty-Foot Equivalent Unite, or 40-foot dry cargo container.

Finance Lease (See Single Investor Lease):  Typically, a finance lease is a full-payout, noncancellable agreement, in which the lessee is responsible for maintenance, taxes, and insurance.

Financial document:  a document relating to payment.  The bill of exchange is the financial document most commonly used in collections and letters of credit.  Promissory notes are also sometimes used in collections.

Fixed forward contract: Currency is bought or sold at a given future date.

Foreign Direct Investment:  Foreign investment in plant and equipment.

Force majeure: The title of a standard clause in a marine contract exempting the parties for nonfulfillment of their obligations as a result of conditions beyond their control - such as floods, war, etc.

Foreign exchange:  The currency of a foreign country.

Foreign Equity Requirements:  Investment rules that limit foreign ownership to a minority holding is a company.

Foreign Trade Zone: Also known as Free Trade Zones, or FTZs, they are ports designated by the government of a country for the duty-free entry of non-prohibited goods.  Merchandise may be stored, displayed, assembled, packaged, or used for manufacture within the zone and re-exported without duties being levied.

Forward contract:  A contract for the sale or purchase of a given amount of foreign currency at a future time at a rate of exchange that is fixed when the contract is made.

Forward option contract: Currency must be bought or sold within a given period of time.

Foul Bill of Lading: A receipt for goods issued by a carrier with the indication that the goods were damaged when received from the shipper.

Free Alongside Ship(FAS): This is an incoterm whereby the exporter and importer have the following relationship:

  • delivers goods alongside ship
  • provides alongside receipt
  • pays freight charges and insurance
  • pays for export licence and taxes
Free Carrier (FCA): this is also an Incoterm that may be used for any mode of transport. It is very common for containerized shipments.  Under this term, exporter and importer have the following rights:


  • delivers to a named place
  • provides export licence
  • pays export duties
  •  pays all costs from named place (insurance, import duties, taxes)

Free On board (FOB):  An Incoterm whereby the seller pays for loading the items to be purchased onto the vessel, but not for the cost of carriage or insurance.

Free Port: An area such as a port city into which merchandise may legally be moved without payment of duties.

Free-trade zone: A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry on any non-prohibited good.  Merchandise may be stored, used or manufactured in the zone and reexported without duties being paid.

Freight Forwarders' Receipt: Transport document issued by Freight Forwarder. Not a document of title.

Full Payout Lease: A lease in which the lessor recovers, through the lease payments, all costs incurred in the lease plus an acceptable rate of return, without any reliance upon the leased equipment's future residual value.


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