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The Incoterms® (abbreviation of International commercial terms) rules were developed by the International Chamber of Commerce to facilitate international trade and for the interpretation of the trade terms that the parties to a contract of sale could agree to apply..
Incoterms® were first introduced in 1936 and were revised in 1957, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 to accommodate changes as global trade developed and evolved..
Currently, in its 8th version, the Incoterms® rules have become an internationally recognized and accepted standard and are used worldwide in international and domestic contracts for the sale of goods and have become an essential part of the day-to-day international trade and domestic trade..
The history of the Incoterms® is quite interesting and highlights the importance of the Incoterms®..
For the past 80 years, Incoterms® has been the cornerstone of global commercial trade, creating the basis for robust trade negotiations directly or indirectly involving sellers, buyers, shipping lines, truckers, forwarders, clearing agents, chambers of commerce, legal firms, courts, etc etc.. The rules have been developed and maintained by experts and practitioners brought together by the ICC..
Launched in mid-September 2010, Incoterms® 2010 came into effect on 1 January 2011 and is the latest version till it will be replaced by Incoterms 2020 in 2019..
Naturally and as with any legitimate business or undertaking there are always scrupulous elements trying to take advantage in the market..
In this case, although the ICC is preparing to launch Incoterms 2020 later on in 2019, information or training sessions claiming to explain Incoterms® 2020 has already begun to emerge on a number of websites from non- ICC affiliated providers..
Misuse of the Incoterms® rules can lead to costly mistakes, making it essential to learn about the renowned terms –such as Delivered at Place (DAP), Free Carrier (FCA) and Free on Board (FOB) – from a trusted and credible source like the ICC..
In order to assist the trade in avoiding inaccurate or misleading information on Incoterms® 2020, the ICC has issued a notification containing 3 ways to spot fake Incoterms® rules information..
1. Does it mention ICC?
The Incoterms® 2020 Drafting Group, which was formed by ICC in 2016, combines the knowledge of eight experts from across the world to finalise the latest update to the Incoterms® rules.
The Drafting Group has met several times over the past three years to propose, discuss and analyse more than 3,000 substantial comments proposed by ICC regional bodies known as national committees.
One of the easiest ways to spot a misleading Incoterms® 2020 rules website is to check and see if ICC mentioned at all. As the originator and official publisher of the Incoterms® rules, it is important for business to consult resources directly sourced by ICC.
ICC is the official owner, producer and publisher of the rules, and “Incoterms” is a trademark of ICC. References to the Incoterms® rules should contain the registered trademark symbol (®) and a trademark notice indicating that “Incoterms” is a trademark of ICC.
Often, websites promoting deceptive Incoterms® rules, information and training sessions will omit this registered trademark symbol and reference to ICC ownership. If you are browsing a website that does not mention these, then this is possibly a fake Incoterms® rules website.
2. Words matter
Similarly, take notice of the website’s writing style.
In most cases, websites will make bold predictions about the Incoterms®2020 rules. Speculative sentences, such as “rumours point to changes,” or “it would be very important to change,” are commonplace on these deceptive websites and do not reflect the official position of ICC.
False information concerning Incoterms® rules can be detrimental to business and lead to costly errors. Businesses assuming that speculative predictions are factually correct could result in widespread disruption.
Therefore, when it comes to the release of the Incoterms® 2020 rules, it is essential for business to trust ICC as their ‘go to’ source for all information.
3. Are they offering training sessions now?
The Incoterms® 2020 rules have not been officially released, so how can anyone but ICC be in a position to prepare relevant training?
This is another red flag for business and should be avoided at all costs. Since the launch of Incoterms® 2010 rules a decade ago, websites have been advertising deceptive training sessions on the Incoterms® rules.
In the 10 years, several unofficial websites have been created to inform the general public of updates to the Incoterms® rules.
Top search engine results for the Incoterms® rules include websites that make reference to publications that do not exist such as Incoterms 2011, Incoterms 2012, Incoterms 2013, Incoterms 2014, Incoterms 2015, Incoterms 2016, Incoterms 2017, Incoterms 2018, and Incoterms 2019.
Incoterms® 2010 rules is the most current version of the Incoterms® rules, still available for purchase and use today.
ICC has urged everyone using or studying or interested in studying Incoterms® rules to consult only ICC-supported websites for information pertaining to the Incoterms® rules and to ensure application of the right procedure..
Registering for non-ICC affiliated training sessions and businesses exposes users to the risk of spending money to receive false information..