Delivery Terms in Transport Process of Export Trade and their Effect on the Risk of Discrepancy in Documentary Letters of Credit; Evidence from Estonia

Hamed Alavi


Documentary letters of credit (DLCs) are method of payment developed to facilitate the process of international trade by replacing the payment risk of importer with irrevocable payment guarantee of a bank to exporter. Instead, the exporter is supposed to present fully compliant set of documents required by the credit. Documentary nature of DLCs make them vulnerable to the risk of discrepancy. This risk is will affect exporter’s business as he is the one who should absorb it. Therefore, it will be recommended to exporters to negotiate the minimum number of required documents while closing the underlying contract of sales with importer. Since different delivery terms (INCOTERMS) require presentation of different documents, this paper studies the correlation between using different terms of delivery with existence of discrepancy in export DLCs in Estonia. For this purpose, author takes empirical approach to answer following research questions: what is the relation between documentary discrepancy and choice of delivery terms and third party documents? and what is the correlation between above mentioned factors and documentary discrepancy in process of DLC operation in Estonian export landscape? The paper is divided into four parts: after the introductory section, the literature review will briefly analyses process of international DLC operation and latest version of INCOTERMS plus their role as delivery terms in international trade. Next section will discuss methodology and results of empirical study done on choice of delivery terms and third party produced documents on discrepancy rate in DLC operation in Estonian export trade. Last but not the least, final section will provide conclusions of the study.

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