Incoterms® 2020

ICC’s Incoterms® rules are the world’s essential terms of trade for the sale of goods. Whether you are filing a purchase order, packaging and labelling a shipment for freight transport, or preparing a certificate of origin at a port, the Incoterms® rules are there to guide you. The Incoterms® rules provide specific guidance to individuals participating in the import and export of global trade on a daily basis. Incoterms® is a registered trademark of ICC to protect the intellectual property rights contained in this resource. The Incoterms® rules (International Commercial Terms) are a set of international rules defining specific trade terms in foreign commerce. They state the responsibilities of buyers and sellers, especially for cross-border transactions, and provide the parties with an internationally consistent interpretation of their obligations, thus helping to avoid misunderstandings and litigation.


Who publishes the Incoterms® rules?


Since its founding in 1919, ICC has been committed to the facilitation of international trade. Different practices and legal interpretations between traders around the world necessitated a common set of rules and guidelines. As a response, ICC published the first Incoterms® rules in 1936. ICC has been maintaining and developing them ever since. As ICC celebrated its Centenary in 2019, the world business organization announced the preparation and publication of Incoterms® 2020, the newest edition of the Incoterms® rules.


Why use Incoterms® rules in international trade?


Although other clauses for global trade exist around the world, such as the Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States, Incoterms® rules are global in their reach. Similarly, Incoterms® rules do not include trade terms codified for national purposes, such as the “less than truckload shipping” (LTL) rule of the United States. Unlike national trade policies, Incoterms® rules are universal, providing clarity and predictability to business.