The Incoterms issued by the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) are set to be revised. The revised version will enter into force on 1/1/2020.

The Incoterms are of major importance in foreign trade. They only apply when included in contracts and, according to the ICC, are used in 90% of all international sales contracts. In terms of contents, they govern the transfer of risk and liability, but also, for example, the costs of transport, packaging, and insurance. The unequivocal definition of the individual clauses enables the parties to a sales contract to carry out their international and national commercial business in a standardized manner.

The new version is to be published as "Incoterms 2020" in September 2019. The ICC has not yet made any statements on the changes in content. Rumor has it, for example, that the frequently used "EXW" clause may be eliminated. In view of the ambiguity of the contents of the amendments, Incoterms users are advised to refer explicitly to "Incoterms 2010" (the current version) in contracts and not only to "Incoterms" until the new version is published.

Once the amendments have been published, it will be necessary to assess and decide whether the clauses used to date should continue to be used (and if so, whether this is permissible) or whether other clauses offer a more appropriate distribution of risk and costs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.