The Incoterms® rules are an internationally recognised standard and are used worldwide in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods.
The rules have been developed and maintained by experts and practitioners brought together by ICC. They have become the standard in international business rules setting. Launched in mid-September 2010, Incoterms® 2010 came into effect on 1 January 2011. The trade terms help traders avoid costly misunderstandings by clarifying the tasks, costs and risks involved in the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers. Incoterms® rules are recognised by UNCITRAL as the global standard for the interpretation of the most common terms in foreign trade.
Please note that all contracts made under INCOTERMS® 2000 before 2011 remain valid. Moreover, although we recommend using Incoterms® 2010, parties to a contract for the sale of goods can agree to choose any version of the Incoterms rules after 2011. However, it is important to clearly specify the chosen version.
The Incoterms® rules have become an essential part of the daily language of trade. They have been incorporated in contracts for the sale of goods worldwide and provide rules and guidance to importers, exporters, lawyers, transporters, insurers and students of international trade.
We can thank a group of industrialists, financiers and traders whose determination to bring economic prosperity to a post-World War I era eventually led to the founding of the ICC. With no global system of rules to govern trade, it was these businessmen who saw the opportunity to create an industry standard that would become known as the Incoterms® rules.
While ICC encourages the use by third parties of the Incoterms® rules in sales contracts, it is vigilant about protecting its trademark and copyright ownership to help ensure the integrity and correct use of the rules.