Commonly Used Terms


The ASEAN Customs Declaration Document is a uniform form used by ASEAN nations for making declarations to national customs organisations for cargo clearance.


The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement is a trade bloc agreement by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations supporting local manufacturing in all ASEAN countries


ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature. Product nomenclature refers to the classification of goods using some criteria of description e.g., usage, function, or measurement. It becomes Tariff Nomenclature (or tariff lines) when tariff rates are attached to the classification of goods. In international trade, harmonisation and refinement of tariff nomenclature is necessary to ease the process of making products comparable. This is especially true in the ASEAN Free Trade Area where CEPT concessions are only accorded to goods on a reciprocal basis.


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is a forum designed to promote economic growth, cooperation, and integration among member nations. APEC has also worked to reduce tariffs and other trade barriers across the Asia-Pacific region. Its vision is based on the "Bogor Goals" adopted in the 1994 meeting in Bogor, Indonesia. There are 21 member economies including: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a political and economic organisation of ten Southeast Asian countries. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.


ASEAN Single Window is a regional initiative that connects and integrates National Single Windows (NSWs) of ASEAN member states, aiming to expedite cargo clearance within the context of increased economic integration in ASEAN.


UNCTAD’s most recent version of its Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA)


Free trade initiatives in ASEAN are spearheaded by the implementation of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement and Agreement on Customs. These agreements are supported by work done by several sectoral bodies to plan and execute free trade measures, guided by the provisions and the requirements of ATIGA and the Agreement on Customs


As a member state of ASEAN, Vietnam is committed to the development of a National Trade Repository (NTR) which will be integrated with the future ASEAN Trade Repository (ATR).


Bank for International Settlements - An international organization, which promotes international monetary and financial cooperation among nations by fostering the cooperation of world central banks


Bilateral Investment Treaty - A treaty between two countries to ensure that investments between the two countries receive the same treatment as domestic or other international investments


Bill of Lading - A document that establishes the terms and conditions of a contract between a shipper and a shipping company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge


Cash Against Documents - Payment for goods where a commission house or other intermediary transfers title documents to the buyer upon payment in cash


Cash in Advance - Payment for goods in which the price is paid in full before the shipment is made. This type of payment is usually only made for very small shipments or when goods are made to order.


Cash With Order - Payment for goods in which the price is paid at the time the order is placed

CE (Mark)

CE Mark - A manufacturer places a CE Mark on their product establishing that they take sole responsibility for the product and that it meets the essential requirements and that the conformity assessments of their product has been fulfilled


Central European Free Trade Agreement - A trade agreement between non-EU countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe.


European Committee for Standardization - An organization composed of the national standards organizations of 33 European countries. The European Committee for Standardization, or CEN, seeks to promote the European economy in the global market by providing an efficient and standardized infrastructure for trade.


Unlike the EU, AFTA does not apply a common external tariff on imported goods. Each ASEAN member may impose tariffs on goods entering from outside ASEAN based on its national schedules. However, for goods originating within ASEAN, ASEAN members are to apply a tariff rate of 0-5 %(the more recent members of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, also known as CMLV countries, were given additional time to implement the reduced tariff rates). This is known as the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) scheme.


Cost and Freight - A pricing term that indicates that the cost of the goods and freight charges are included in the quoted price.


Cost, Insurance, Freight - Commonly used commercial practice especially for import to third world countries, the cost of cargo includes the cost of transportation and insurance to the delivery port.


Clearing House Interbank Payments System - Financial network through which banks in the United States conduct their financial transactions.


Consumer Price Indexes - A program that produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.


Contracts for the International Sale of Goods - Contracts for the International Sale of Goods establish rules for international sales contracts and also establish legal rights and obligations for both the buyer and seller.


Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species - An international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.


Certificate of Origin - Documents that may be asked for by the authorities of the importing country, as evidence of the country of manufacture of the goods.


Corruption Perception Index - A ranking of countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including experts living and working in the countries/territories evaluated.


Corporate Social Responsibility - The responsibilities that corporations (including MNCs) have to workers and their families, to consumers, to investors, and to the natural environment.


Delivered Duty Paid - The seller has the obligation to pay for all transportation costs of shipping goods as well as duties.


Dispute Settlement Body - Dispute Settlement Body is a part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that settles trade disputes between governments.


Dispute Settlement Panel - The World Trade Organizations Dispute Tenement Body forms different Dispute Settlement Panels to resolve conflicting issues among its members.


Dispute Settlement Understanding - The Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was one of the key outcomes of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations.


European Article Number - A standard international numbering code system that is used primarily in retail applications. It is also compatible with the U.S. UPC (Universal Product Code).


European Community - Organization formed in 1967 with the merger of the European Economic Community, European Coal and Steel Community, and European Atomic Energy Community. The merger created a single Commission of the European Community and a single Council of Ministers. In 1993 the EC became the basis of the European Union, and the European Economic Community was renamed the European Community.


European Currency Unit - A trade-weighted basket of currencies in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) of the European Union.


European Free Trade Association - The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an international organization established in 1960. It is composed by Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland promoting free trade and economic integration. There are 3 main branches of the EFTA: the EFTA Secretariat, Surveillance Authority and EFTA Court. Its function is to create a free trade area among its Member States.


Ex Works - The buyer is responsible for all the costs and risks in shipping goods


Export Trading Company - A company that facilitates the export of goods and services. An ETC can either act as the export department for producers or take title to the product and export for its own account.


Free Alongside Ship - The seller is obligated to place goods alongside the ship at a specific port.


Full Container Load – The maximum permissible weight for the value of the cargo carried in a container


Free On Board - A trade term requiring the seller to deliver goods via a method of transportation designated by the buyer. The seller fulfills its obligations to deliver when the goods have passed through the seller's ownership and prepared for delivery to the buyer.


Free Trade Agreements are treaties between two or more countries to establish a free trade area where commerce in goods and service can be conducted across their common borders.


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles - A common set of accounting concepts, standards, and procedures by which financial statements are prepared.


The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was a multilateral agreement regulating international trade. Its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis."


Generalised System of Preferences are the standard arrangement which offers generous tariff reductions to developing countries.Practically,this means partial or entire removal of tariffs on two thirds of all product categories.


Harmonized System is a multipurpose international product nomenclature developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO). It comprises of commodity groups, each identified by a six-or eight-digit level arranged in a logical structure.


Harmonized Tariff Schedule - A method of classification used by many countries to determine tariffs on imports.


International Chamber of Commerce - International non-governmental body concerned with promotion of trade and harmonization of trading practice. Responsible for drafting and publishing.


International Organization for Standardization - ISO is a worldwide federation of national standardization bodies of more than 159 countries. Established as a non-government organization in 1947, it develops international standards and publishes them. All branches other than electrical engineering standards are within the scope of ISO.

ISO 9000 

International Organization Standardization (ISO) guidelines for quality in manufacturing and service industries


Least Developed Country - A country, according to United Nations, characterized as having low gross national income per capita, a weakness in human resources, and economic vulnerability. Note: Many sources prefer LLDC to denote Least Developed Countries and LDC for Less Developed Countries.


Letter of Credit - A letter issued by an importer’s bank guaranteeing payment upon presentation of specified trade documents (invoice, bill of lading, inspection and insurance certificates, etc.).


In international economic relations and international politics, "most favoured nation" (MFN) is a status or level of treatment accorded by one state to another in international trade. The term means the country which is the recipient of this treatment must, nominally, receive equal trade advantages as the "most favoured nation" by the country granting such treatment.


National Single Window is a integrated system realized with the collaboration of Customs and relevant ministries involving in management of import - export. Through NSW,  traders can declare and fulfil specialized inspection requirements of other ministries with regard to their exported - imported goods at a one-stop window. NSW is the national step towards ASW.


New-to-export - The name of the circumstances of a company that either engages in export activities for the first time, engages in exportation for first time in twenty-four months, or has only exported to because of prior unsolicited orders. Export assistance is available to companies with this classification.


New-to-market - The name of the circumstances under which a company exports to a foreign market in which it has either never exported to, has not exported to for the past twenty-four months, or has only exported to because of prior unsolicited orders. Assistance is available to companies with this classification.


Quantitive Restrictions - Restrictions on trade, generally in the form of quotas, that limit the quantity o a good or service that can be imported or exported. Another form of quantity restriction is a VER, or Voluntary Export Restraint


Regional Value Content - A rule that requires a product to be made up of a certain percentage of originating content.


Standard Industrial Classification - A standard numerical code system used by the U.S. government to classify products and services.


Sanitary and Phytosanitary are applied to protect human, animal and plant life or health from risks arising from the introduction and spread of pests and diseases, including to protect them from risks arising from imported goods.


Trade Barriers to Trade deals with procedures for testing and certifying conformity to technical regulations (compulsory) and standards (voluntary) governing international trade.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues.


Vietnam Customs Intelligence Information System is the information system to serve for the operation monitoring  and risk management of Vietnam Customs Authorities


Voluntary Export Restraint - A quota on trade imposed from the exporting country's side, instead of the importer's; usually imposed at the request of the importing country's government.


Vietnam Automated Cargo Clearance and Port Consolidated System has been put into operation since 2014, enbling online customs declaration and clearance and facilitating import – export transactions.


The World Customs Organisation is an intergovernmental organization that acts as forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between national Customs delegates.


The World Trade Organisation is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade.


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