By 2010, the two major segments of Incoterms were updated and organized by the modes of transport. Since incoterms are used in international as well as in domestic contracts for the first time, the new groups aimed to simplify the procedure of drafting contracts and more clearly stipulate the obligations of buyers and sellers:
Group 1. Incoterms that apply to any mode of transport are:
Group 2. Incoterms that apply to sea and inland waterway transport only:
Mostly all B2B eCommerce agreements use EXW, CPT, or CIF; and on the other hand, business-to- consumer (B2C) transactions will use CPT or CIF (and sometimes DDP). Except for DDP in which the Incoterms are mentioned above require the buyer to pay all tariffs and taxes upon arrival of the commodity. To mainstream the meaning of all these terms, the client should take the time to understand their usage.
When the exported goods arrive at the destination, the importing country requires all applicable tariffs (import taxes levied by the destination country) and local taxes, including value-added tax (VAT), be paid by the importer. There are many companies require the buyer to pay these tariffs and taxes.
Buyers typically just want to figure out the final price of the product after including shipping and taxes. The final price is put after including taxes (known as the “landed cost”) before they agree to buy, but you might not be able to provide it—tariffs and taxes vary widely throughout the world, so determining those rates before the product is shipped can be difficult. Therefore, the client needs to stay clear about their policy on tariffs—specifically, who pays and when payment will be due.
The shipping companies you select often act as freight forwarders, helping you complete shipping documents, helping you estimate duties and taxes, pre-paying them for you, and then invoicing you. If you use the U.S. Postal Service for lighter weight shipments, its local partner in the buyer’s country will collect duties and taxes.
Incoterms 2010 is the updated version of Incoterms. Incoterms 2010 have been developed because of an extensive review of current shipping practices and trends to keep up with the rapid expansion of world trade. The key drivers for this update include a need for improved cargo security, changes to the Uniform Commercial Code in 2004 that resulted in a deletion of U.S. shipment and delivery terms, and new trends in global transportation.
According to the International Chamber of Commerce, all contracts made under Incoterms 2000 remain valid even after 2011. Also, although the ICC recommends using Incoterms 2010 from January 2011 onward, parties to a sales contract can agree to use any version of Incoterms after 2011. It is important, however, to specify the chosen version of Incoterms being used (i.e. Incoterms 2010, Incoterms 2000, or any earlier version).
Incoterms are standardized terms used in international trade to clearly define the seller’s and buyer’s obligations as part of a contract mainly to avoid dispute in the long run. Although there are many forms of Incoterms exist, anyhow sellers and buyers often underestimate the value of Incoterms and their impact upon international trade. Following are some of the primary ways Incoterms are fundamental to international shipping and trade and how it cures the procedure.
In a contract, it is understood and should be sufficient to ensure all parties maintain their obligations in international trade. However, there must have been some language barriers and connotations of terms in one location may not be reflective or understood in another.
The use of Incoterms is best defined as its capacity to eliminate inconsistencies in language by giving all parties the same definition of specific terms within a trade agreement. As it will result in the risk of problems during shipment is reduced as more or less all parties have clearly understood their responsibilities in performing trade under the given contract.
Parties in international shipping need to understand how Incoterms vary. Failure to understand the correct definition of each Incoterm used will eventually lead to major problems and disruption throughout the subsequent supply chain. Furthermore, misusing incoterms may also impact the payment of goods, delivery schedules, increased costs, poor inventory control, and as well as negative customer interactions. From distribution centres to shipping recipients, improper or missing Incoterms will also disrupt the flow of goods and damages a given company’s reputation.
However, it should be noted that Incoterms do not govern the ownership of merchandise; they mainly focus on shipping practices only. Therefore, the ownership of goods cannot be defined with the help of Incoterms, and shippers should be aware of illegitimate business practices, as he/she may use Incoterms in a similar capacity.
Incoterms will also ensure that the involved parties can maintain a competitive advantage in the international supply chain. As if a given shipper’s governing authority were to make adjustments to local terminology, this could directly impact the competitive advantage of companies. Although one company may benefit from the local terminology introduced from a secular point of view the other company endures limitations on capacity and shipping regulations in the affected country. Then it will result in the incidence of bribery and unfair business practices have been reduced every time Incoterms are used in international trade. Incoterms are considered very essential to avoid potential penalties and fines in the practice of global trading.
Incoterms have to be updated every 10 years to make sure that they reflect changes in the global supply chain to avoid further mishap. Typically, the responsibility of defining Incoterms is applied to the buyer. However, unlike the first part, the responsibility of using Incoterms will shift from buyer to seller and it would depend upon the exact nature and type of transport employed. The rules are in placed forth by International Business Training and should be consistently, frequently reviewed to ensure clarity and accuracy in all international transactions. As a result, sellers and shippers can maintain compliance with changing laws in international trade.
Incoterms also play a vital and the strongest role in ensuring all international trades are in place and followed by a standardized, thorough manner. Without Incoterms, buyers and sellers may have to suffer from constant changes in language and difficulties in shipping practices. Fortunately, Incoterms also streamline obligations and help shippers maintain standard practices throughout the process.
It is vital for the Seller / Exporter to not misunderstand the true application and usage of Incoterms 2010. The incoterms 2010 refers to the sales contract and not to the transport contract, although to make a sale of goods, the client may notice some form in correlations with aspects and contracts that will be finalized later, such as transport, insurance, financing, etc.
Furthermore, it is important to understand that Incoterms shall not be considered “laws” as the legal effect lies in the will of both parties to opt for them in their commercial transactions by making explicit mention in the written form:
In short, Incoterms 2010:
ICC, i.e. the International Chamber of Commerce, grouped the obligations of the Seller and the Buyer in 10 points, marked by the “A”, for the Seller, and by the letter “B”, for the Buyer, so that each point (title) related with the Seller, under the letter “A”matches with the position of the Buyer, under the letter “B”.
|Seller’s obligations||Buyer’s obligations|
|Supply of the goods in conformity with the contract||Payment of the price.|
|License, authorization and formalities||License, authorization and formalities|
|Transport contract and insurance||Transport contract and insurance|
|Risk transfer||Risk transfer|
|Breakdown of fees||Breakdown of fees|
|Notice to the buyer||Notice to the buyer|
|Proof of delivery, transport document or any equivalent electronic message||Proof of delivery, transport document or any equivalent electronic message|
|Checking, Packing, marking||Inspection of the goods|
Incoterms 2010 do not belong to “international contracts”. Instead, they only refer to the sales contract signed the Seller and the Buyer.