Pakistan - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing

It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.

Last published date: 2022-11-11

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

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 State Bank of Pakistan (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 to avoid potential delays and penalties, exporters should request detailed instructions from the Pakistani importer prior to 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.