Even taken at their word, it doesn't change the fact that they are using documentary procedures that are unusual, and abnormal. Contact any business college, or speak to established traders or people working for large multinational corporations. Talk directly to international bankers on this.
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.