Countries Requiring The Most Paperwork To Export Goods

Nepalese carpet factory owners filling out forms to register their goods.

Port delays and congestion have a direct effect on international trade and the availability of goods in the market. The United States' agricultural exports, for instance, have suffered significantly due to port and export delays, losing millions of dollars annually. Export delays have also caused a lot of congestion in the port making the movement of export and import goods very slow. These delays and congestion at port are mainly caused by long port processes involving a lot of paperwork. In some countries, such as Afghanistan, it takes up to 86 days to export products into the world market due to tedious paperwork among other factors. Some of the countries requiring the most paperwork to export their goods into the global marketplace include those listed below.

Republic of the Congo

The Republic of the Congo is the 8th largest export economy in the world, and one of the most complex economies according to the World Bank Economy Complex Index. The Republic of the Congo mainly exports petroleum and copper to China, Italy, US and Australia among other countries. A lot of paperwork involved in exporting goods out of the country further complicates the already unstable economy. According to World Bank doing business project report, an exporter will be required to have eleven documents before they can ship out their goods. The documents needed by the customs department include a packing list, bill of lading, export declaration form, commercial invoice, certificate of origin, and phyto-sanitary certificate provided by the health officials.


Cameroon faces several challenges when it comes to conducting business, especially international trade. Inefficient bureaucracy, corruption, and traditional business methods continue to affect the business sector. The export sector is yet to adopt information and computer technology (ICT) services in its operations with most of the export activities done manually. Cameroon is one of the countries with the highest export delays in the world due to poor infrastructure and huge paperwork. The exporter is required to have eleven documents when exporting products out of Cameroon these documents include, among others, a sealing certificate or certificate d’empotage, an export declaration form, a certificate of origin, and a bill of lading. These certificates must be filled in triplicate further delaying the export process.


Nepal is one of the countries with the highest numbers of required export paperwork documents in the world. There are more than 25 documents to be filled depending on the goods exported. On average, an exporter in Nepal is required to have eleven documents when shipping a product. Some of the common export documents required by the Nepalese authorities include a packing list, bill of lading, customs declaration form, letter of authority clearing the goods, visa authorization certificate, value certification, and value added tax (VAT) registration form. There is also special clearance form for bones, handicraft, statues and wood carvings, certificate of origin, a phyto-sanitary certificate (mainly for agricultural products), Passbook, and Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) certificate, among other documents. The many documents required have made the process of exporting goods out of Nepal long and tedious therefore discouraging international trade.

So Many Documents, So Little Time

Malawi, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Angola, Iraq, and Afghanistan each require exporters to have at least ten documents filled out before they can export goods out of their countries. Some of the documents common to these countries include a bill of lading, commercial invoice, certificate of origin, commercial invoice, and export declaration form. Without any of these documents, it is not possible to export anything out of these countries.

Countries Requiring The Most Paperwork To Export Goods

RankCountryDocuments Required To Export Goods
1Republic of the Congo11

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