2022 Main Incoterms Guide in International Trade


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As the saying goes, “China is one of the biggest exporting countries for all the entrepreneurs in the world entirely,” which demonstrates precisely how often does an international buyer or company imports from China nowadays.
By illustrating the frequency, you might have heard of a multitude of co-workers or international traders around you mentioning and talking about importing from China.
Since there are various potent and qualified manufacturers and factories settle down on the Chinese mainland. We have been devoutly supporting and providing numerous services and markets for you to choose from. This allows you to purchase premium quality goods at affordable prices.
However, it’s frequently asked by the foreign importers about the complete processes and methods of “Shipping” and the shipping cost from China to the USA.
There are several shipping methods available through which you can have your goods delivered from China to the USA efficiently.
Before being stuck with the intricate context of arranging shipment. We have prepared this thorough Incoterms guide to assist you in fully understanding the difference between Incoterms mainly used from China to the USA
By the end of this article, you will be equipped with the knowledge of different terms and modes of shipping. If there is no further we do, let’s get started!

Incoterms Guide


Refer to the rules that aid traders in differentiating the obligations and concerned accountabilities of the buyers and sellers.
If you are off to get the importing business started, you are exceedingly recommended to be familiar with these terms.


Considered ideally by both the buyer and seller, FOB( Free on Board) is among the most used shipment terms.
Based on the FOB term, the supplier remains responsible and liable for the products only until they are received by the carrier at a shipping place.
Once the products arrive at the designated place, the complete responsibility and liability of goods will be transferred to the buyer.
FOB is further divided into two types i.e. FOB shipping point and FOB destination point. As per the former, the supplier’s responsibilities and liabilities are transferred to the buyer once the shipment leaves the Chinese port.
According to the FOB destination point, the responsibility changes hands as soon as the products reach the port of destination (the USA in our case).
It should be noted that FOB can only be used while shipping goods from China to the USA via sea freight.


A CIF or Cost, Insurance, Freight agreement requires the supplier to take complete responsibility of goods. This includes shipping costs and insurance.
The responsibility shall last until the buyer receives their products (at the point of destination or any other mutually agreed on address).
The buyer should make the payment once the goods reach the designated point of destination.
Since the suppliers have to put in extra effort in such kind of agreement, they add additional charges. These extra charges are in short compensation for their services.


Based on EXW or Ex Works, all shipping arrangements should be made by the buyer. This gives them complete control over almost every process involved in shipping.
This rarely used agreement only requires the seller to obtain a Certificate of Origin and export license. As this type of agreement strongly favors the supplier, it is often used in compliance with other terms to assure a fair distribution of responsibilities.

Ex Works


Delivered at Places is surely not a favorite among suppliers. Except for the import customs fee, every other requirement has to be fulfilled by the seller to assure smooth shipping.
Furthermore, the seller remains responsible and liable for the products even after the shipment arrives at the port of destination. The buyer often decides the point from which the goods shall be picked up.
Once it’s time to start unloading products, the buyer should assume complete responsibility for their package(s).


A Delivered Duty Paid agreement puts the entire responsibility of arranging shipment on the shoulders of the supplier.
This includes the import customs fees as well. The buyer is only asked to unload the products and pay for import clearance.
Every additional expense is added by the supplier and quoted to the buyer beforehand in the form of a landing cost.
Upon the finalization of details, the seller is required to select a convenient carrier for reducing the shipment cost as well as time.
DDP can be quite complicated for the seller. A preferred practice is for the buyer to agree on paying the import clearance.
In case the customs clearance task doesn’t get through successfully, the seller is responsible for finding an alternative carrier. The change in carrier or delivery method can impact the shipping time and cost.


BOL (Bill of Lading): An essential document between the carrier and shipper that serves to acknowledge the receipt of cargo for shipment.
A BOL including the cargo’s details such as quantity, quality, nature, etc. is demanded by International laws such as Hamburg Rules, Hague Rules as well as Hague-Visby Rules.
As stated above, a BOL serves as a definite receipt that acknowledges the successful loading of cargo. It includes the terms of the contract in addition to being a document of title to the products.

Bill of Lading


LCL (less than Container Load): A shipment that does not take up all of a container’s space. The remaining space can then be used by freight transport provider’s other customers.
This option is pretty cost-effective since the total cost is divided between all customers.  In case your cargo weighs less than 150 kg, then you should definitely opt for this mode of shipment.
However, it should be noted that the additional costs can make things inconvenient in the long run.


FCL (Full Container Load): As per this term, you have the entire container space reserved for your goods alone! This approach is quite convenient and boasts several parks.
For start-ups, the risk of loss and breakage is pretty low. Moreover, the overall cost associated with FCL is lower than that of LCL. Also, the China-USA shipping time is reduced considerably.

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