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September 28, 2009 

Update on Revisions to Incoterms 2000

Frank Reynolds, the U.S. Delegate to the International Chamber of Commerce's (ICC) Incoterms drafting committee, has provided the editor of International Trade Law News with an update on the status of the revisions currently underway to Incoterms 2000, the standardized trade terms commonly used in international sales contracts.

After receiving a large number of comments from the ICC National Committees, the Incoterms Drafting Committee recently completed a second draft of the revised version of Incoterms. After comments on the second draft are submitted by the National Committees, the Drafting Committee will hold a series of meetings to complete a final draft.

Once the final draft is ready it will be circulated for review and approval (likely in in mid-2010), the final version will be subject to the approval of the ICC, with a goal of a January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) effective date (that date is the ICC's current goal and is subject to change).

Mr. Reynolds indicated that because the drafting process is ongoing, there is "little specific information" presently available. However, he added there are a "few reasonably safe predictions," including the following:

  • There are likely to be fewer than the current 13 Incoterms 2000.
  • Contrary to some predictions, Incoterm FAS will likely remain in the revised version since that Incoterm is important in bulk and break-bulk trade.
  • A number of National Committees objected to the proposed Incoterms 3000 title, so the likely replacement will be "Incoterms 2011." This title will reflect the effective year and removes the expectation of a ten-year revision cycle.
  • Incoterms 2011 will be more user friendly for both international and domestic business.
In order to prepare for 2011 implementation of the revised Incoterms, the United States Council for International Business will provide a number of Incoterms 2011 training programs starting in the fall of 2010.

The ICC introduced the first version of Incoterms, short for "International Commercial Terms," in 1936. There are currently 13 Incoterms. Incoterms have been revised six times in order to reflect international trade developments.

Frank Reynolds is the author of Incoterms for Americans, a very useful publication for U.S. exporters and importers.




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