Drop ship from contract manufacturer to UAE- commercial invoice


We have customers in the UAE who are asking for certain details of commercial invoice documents.
We use contract manufacturers in Asia to produce products of our design. We currently drop ship from these contract manufacturers to our customers in the UAE as the well as the rest of the world.
Our company is the seller of the goods; drop shipped direct from our contract manufacturer. Our customer in the UAE is requiring us to provide a commercial invoice on the letter head of our contract manufacturer, as if they are the seller. This does not seem correct, and it puts us in an odd situation of providing documents that are inaccurate related to the seller.
Also in order to generate this commercial invoice on the letter head of our contract manufacturer, we must provide our "selling" price to our manufacturer. Obviously this creates some issues with our manufacturer who now knows our selling price vs our buying price from the manufacturer.
Can you help us understand if this requirement is valid?
Can we provide a commercial invoice on our letter head which includes the name and address of the contract manufacturer?
We have now had multiple shipments with issues being held in UAE customs, (according to our customer) due to documentation improperly on our letter head, instead of the contract manufacturer’s letter head.
Your assistance in clarifying the true needs for customs clearance is requested.

Thank you,
Wesley Watson- Global Logistics Manager


Hi Wesley

Open to Export is a platform designed to help UK based companies interact and ultimately export their products globally, therefore you may not find the assistance you were hoping for here.

That being said I would strongly advise you not to release commercially sensitive information to your importer or your contracted manufacturer. I would also advise you not to raise / have a document raised that you know will be incorrect.

Does the drop shipper/manufacturer label the products with your company labels / ship the goods with your companies invoice? If not then I can understand the confusion of UAE customs and the frustration felt by your customer.

I “export” products manufactured in another country on a regular basis and have these shipped directly from the country of manufacture to my customer. I email the manufacturer a label to use and a delivery note to accompany the goods. I then email the customer & freight forwarder a copy of the sales invoice, bill of lading/shipping documents, packing list, certificate of origin etc before couriering the originals to the customer. All documents and shipping labels consistently show my company as the exporter/consignor and not the manufacturer (who have supplied but not sold the goods)– Do you do this also?

You may wish to contact the international trade arm of the Californian Chamber of Commerce, who will be able to handhold you through the process and help you to overcome these issues:


I hope this helps.

Kind regards

[email protected]


Hello Gemma,

We provide labels to our manufacturer and they ship in cartons with our name on it.

We provide documentation to the freight forwarder directly using our commercial invoice & SLI. However, the manufacturer provides a packing list on their letterhead with the shipment. This should be consistent with the bill of lading, as the exporter (Asia manufacturer) is truely the exporter on the BOL.

We have offered to provide the CI, PL and SLI on our letter head directly to the freight forwarder, however our customer (the importer of record) has resisted and maintains their request that it must be on the manufacturers letter head. Claiming requirement by UAE customs.

Appreciate your response.



Hi Wesley

To clarify, the manufacturer is being shown on the bill of lading as the exporter/consignor/shipper with no mention of your company? All other documents are from your company to the importer?

For most countries, including UAE, all export documentation must be consistent with the BL to enable customs clearance unless using a 3PL.

I can therefore understand why you are having clearance issues as your company is the exporter. The manufacturer has not sold the goods to your customer, even if they have arranged the freight.

You may wish to speak with your manufacturer and establish which freight forwarder they are using and try to get the Bills of Lading amended to show your company as the exporter?

Alternatively you may wish to purchase the goods from your manufacturer EXW and arrange the logistics of these sales yourself – this is how I export in this way and retain control of the whole process.

As Open to Export is intended for UK exporters, and we are using American terminology such as SLI, perhaps it is best we discuss this over email – [email protected]

Kind regards


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