Few traders and brokers realize that the Letter of Intent is not a standard document in International Trade. When "LOI" is used, it actually refers to the Letter of Indemnity. This is standard usage of the term and has been for decades. The Letter of Intent (hereafter referred to as LOI) is often used in specific domestic trades, such as in real estate or corporate mergers, but it has no standard usage in International Trade itself.
The LOI as it is now used is a misunderstood application of poorly informed brokers and traders. A more proper application based on established custom and practice in International trade, going back even to the old medieval "Law Merchant" (Lex Mercantilis) is: Buyer requests a quotation _ in modern usage this is an RFQ/Request For Quotation _ NOT an LOI. Seller may then reply with a Quote. Buyer confirms receipt of quoted prices, and requests an Offer.