Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Imports of goods into Pakistan generally require a Letter of Credit (L/C) unless a special exemption is obtained in advance. Revolving, transferable, and packing letters of credit are not permissible.  In general, letters of credit should provide for the negotiation of documents within a period not exceeding 30 days from the date of shipment. 

Since 2022, during the economic downturn in Pakistan, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been allowing the import of goods as a temporary arrangement for outward payment in order to provide support to the balance of payment.

  • Imports on deferred of beyond 365 days from the date of shipment, preferably from parents/sister concerns of the importers.
  • Imports funded by foreign exchange available with the importers raised through equity or project loan/import loan from abroad, in accordance with applicable Foreign Exchange Regulations.

Payment to the beneficiary (stipulated in the L/C) may be made either in the country of origin or in the country of shipment of goods.  Other payment terms are subject to approval by the SBP. Remittances may be made soon after goods have been cleared by Customs.Pakistan Customs authorities require a commercial invoice and a bill of lading (or airway bill). Exporters should forward documents separately if the shipment is by sea but should include them with air shipments. Until recently, “Certificates of Origin” were not legally required but recently there have been cases where the Customs authorities have asked for it.  Also, a statement of country of origin should appear on the invoice.  Consular invoices are not required.

The exporter should also be sure to ascertain from the importer the precise number of copies of each document that will be required.  Importers, depending on the specific circumstances as insurance certificates and packing lists, also may request other documents.  Customs authorities require special certificates for imports of plants and plant products and used clothing (e.g., a U.S. Food and Drug Administration certificate for foods and pharmaceuticals). In order to expedite the process and avoid potential delays and penalties, exporters should request detailed instructions from the Pakistani importer before shipping.

For information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

To access Pakistan’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.