Key terms you may encounter in working with China

Bill of Lading
A document issued to an exporter by a common carrier transporting merchandise. Think of it as a receipt that travels with the order.

CIF - Cost, Insurance and Freight
A quote that includes all costs delivered to the import port. Duties, fees, customs clearance, and local delivery are the responsibility of the buyer.

EXW - Ex Works
A quote given that is basically only the raw, packed order; ready to be picked up at the factory. No transport, no insurance, etc... 

FOB - Free on Board
A quote that includes the goods delivered to the port and boat, with all domestic fees paid. International shipping, fees, and import duties are the responsibility of the buyer.

FCL - Full Container Load
Indicates the quantity that is needed for a product to fill a container. This could be a 20 foot or a 40 foot container. It is the most economical way to ship product.

HTS - Harmonized Tariff Schedule
A tax table for goods imported into the US and their subsequent duty rates. If you don't know your products HTS code (every product has one), you can search the website to find the best match. Having the correct duty rate on your order is extremely important. No one likes surprises.

A quote encompassing all the costs associated, including shipping, packaging, commissions, inspection fees, duties, exchange rates, etc... Make sure you pay attention to where the product is being quoted to 'land' as you may have to still factor in local shipping.

LCL: Less than Container Load
A quantity that is not enough for a full container. If shipped by sea, these orders can be expensive (if you need them fast) or delayed (by trying to place it together with other orders going to a similar location, while waiting to fill a container).  

MOQ - Minimum Order Quantity
The minimum number of pieces that a supplier is requesting in order to start production.

OEM - Original Equipment Manufacturer
This is a company that makes a part that is used in another company's end product. They may be the ones who invented the product or just might be the ones who were selected to produce it for the first time. They may or may not have a patent on that product. OG for life.

PO - Purchase Order
The official order that is placed at the factory.

PSS - Product Specification Sheet
A worksheet that outlines all the technical standards and specifications of a product. Created together by the factory with the buyer. Standards, necessary certifications, and all critical specifications should be finely detailed in the PSS. Materials, finishes, accessories, add ons, and packaging should also be included. 

QC - Quality Control
By far one of the most important aspects of sourcing to have on lock, quality control procedures vary widely depending on the product that you are buying/sourcing. Quality Control documents are made intending to ensure that a manufactured product adheres to defined criteria and meets your requirements. 

TT - Telegraphic Transfer
Also known as a wire transfer or a bank transfer, the TT is the fastest and most direct way to wire money from one account to another. Money wires can be sent to domestic or international recipients.