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  While the terms of sale in international business often sound similar to those commonly used in domestic contracts, they often have different meanings. Confusion over these terms can result in a lost sale or a financial loss on a sale. Thus, it is essential that you understand what terms you are agreeing to before you finalize a contract.


  Incoterms 2000

  By the 1920s, commercial traders developed a set of trade terms to describe their rights and liabilities with regard to the sale and transport of goods. These trade terms consisted of short abbreviations for lengthy contract provisions. Unfortunately, there was no uniform interpretation of them in all countries, and therefore misunderstandings often arose in cross-border transactions.

  To improve this aspect of international trade, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris developed INCOTERMS (International Commercial TERMS), a set of uniform rules or the interpretation of international commercial terms defining the costs, risks, and obligations of buyers and sellers in international transactions. First published in 1936, these rules have been periodically revised to account for changing modes of transport and document delivery. The current version is Incoterms 2000.




  Use of Incoterms

  Incoterms are not implied into contracts for the sale of goods. If you desire to use Incoterms, you must specifically include them in your contract. Further, your contract should expressly refer to the rules of interpretation as defined in the latest revision of Incoterms, for example, Incoterms 2000, and you should ensure the proper application of the terms by additional contract provisions. Also, Incoterms are not “laws”. In case of a dispute, courts and arbitrators will look at: 1) the sales contract, 2) who has possession of the goods, and 3) what payment, if any, has been made. See International Contracts, also by World Trade Press.



  Illustrated Guide to Incoterms

  This guide was designed to give a graphic representation of the buyer‘s and seller’s risks and costs under each Incoterm. The material on each facing page gives a summary of seller and buyer responsibilities.




  Organization of Incoterms

  Incoterms are grouped into four categories:

  1. The “E” term (EXW) – The only term where the seller/exporter makes the goods available at his or her own premises to the buyer/importer.

  2. The “F” terms (FCA, FAS, and FOB) – Terms where the seller/ exporter is responsible to deliver the goods to a carrier named by the buyer.

  3. The “C” terms (CFR, CIF, CPT and CIP) – Terms where the seller/exporter/manufacturer is responsible for contracting and paying for carriage of the goods, but not responsible for additional costs or risk of loss or damages to the goods once they have been shipped. C terms evidence “shipment” (as opposed to “arrival”) contracts.

  4. The “D” terms (DAF, DES, DEQ, DDU and DDP) – Terms whrer the seller/exporter/manufacturer is responsible for all costs and risks associated with bringing the goods to the place of destination. D terms evidence “arrival” contracts.



  1. E组术语(EXW)— 唯一的卖方/出口商在其场所将货物交付买方/进口商的术语。

  2. F组术语(FCA、FAS、和 FOB)—卖方/出口商负责将货物交付买方指定承运人的术语。

  3. C组术语(CFR、CIF、CPT和 CIP)—卖方/出口商/制造商负责订立运输合同并支付运费,但不负责装船后的额外费用、损失风险和货物损坏。C组术语用于表明“装运”(而不是“到达”)合同。

  4. D组术语(DAF、DES、DEQ、DDU、和DDP)—卖方/出口商/制造商负责将货物运抵目的地的所有费用和风险。C组术语用于表明“到达”合同。

  Mode of transport

  Not all Incoterms are appropriate for all modes of transport. Some terms were designed with sea vessels in mind while others were designed to be applicable to all modes. The following table set out which terms appropriate for each mode of transport.



  Helpful Definitions

  Pre-carriage – The initial transport of goods from the seller‘s premises to the mail port of shipment. Usually by truck, rail or on inland waterways.

  前程运输 — 从卖方地点到主装运港的最初运输。通常通过卡车、铁路或内河水路进行运输。

  Main carriage – The primary transport of goods, generally for the longest part of the journey and generally from on country to another. Usually by sea vessel or by airplane, but can be by truck or rail as well.

  主运输 — 主要的货物运输,通常航程最长,而且通常是从一个国家到另一个国家。一般通过海轮或飞机进行运输,也可以通过卡车或铁路进行运输。

  On-carriage – Transport from the port of arrival in the country of destination to the buyer‘s premises. Usually by truck, rail or inland waterways.

  转运输 — 从目的国的到达港到卖方地点的运输。通常通过卡车、铁路或内河水路进行运输。

  Notes on Incoterms


  1. Underlying Contract – Incoterms were designed to be used within the context of a written contract for the sale of goods. Incoterms, therefore, refer to the contract of sale, rather than the contract of carriage of the goods. Buyers and sellers should specify that their contract be governed by Incoterms 2000.

  1. 管辖合同 — 国际贸易术语解释通则在设计上是用于书面的货物销售合同的。所以,国际贸易术语解释通则援引销售合同而非货物运输合同。买卖双方应该明确他们的合同受《国际贸易术语解释通则2000》管辖。

  2. EXW and FCA – If you buy Ex Works or Free Carrier you will need to arrange for the contract of carriage. Also, since the shipper will not receive a bill of lading, using a letter of credit requiring a bill of lading will not be possible.

  2. EXW和FCA — 如果你以EXW或FCA购买商品,你需要商定运输合同。而且,由于托运人不接受提单,使用要求提供提单的信用证是不可能的。

  3. EDI: Electric Data Interchange – It is increasingly common for seller to prepare and transmit documents electronically. Incoterms provides for EDI so long as buyers and sellers agree on their use in the sales contract.

  3. 电子数据交换 — 卖方采用电子方式填写和传递文件已经变得越来越普遍。国际贸易术语解释通则对电子数据交换已经作出了规定,只要买卖双方在销售合同中同意采用即可。

  4. Insurable Interest – Note that in many cases either the buyer or the seller is not obligated to provide insurance. In a number of cases neither party is obligated to provide insurance. However, both the seller and buyer should be aware that they may have insurable interest in the goods and prudence dictates purchase of insurance coverage.

  4. 可保利益 — 注意,在多数情况下,不是买方就是卖方没有办理保险的义务。在许多情况下,任何一方都没有办理保险的义务。然而买卖双方应该明白,他们在货物上有可保利益存在,基于谨慎原则要购买保险。

  5. Customs of the Port or Trade – Incoterms are an attempt to standardize trade terms for all nations and all trades. However, different ports and different trades have their own customs and practices. It is best if specific customs and practices are specified in the sale contract.

  5. 港口或行业习惯 — 国际贸易术语解释通则试图对所有国家和所有行业的贸易术语实行标准化。然而不同的港口和不同的行业都有它们自己的习惯和做法。最好在销售合同中明确这些具体的习惯和做法

  6. Precise Point of Delivery – In some cases it may not be possible for the buyer to name the precise point of delivery at contract. However, if the buyer does not do so in a timely manner, it may give the seller the option to make delivery within a range of places that is within the terms of the contract. For example, the original terms of sale may state CFR Port of Rotterdam. The Port of Rotterdam is huge an the buyer may find that a particular point within the port is best and should so state in the sales contract and in the trade term. Also, since the buyer becomes liable for the goods once they arrive, he or she may be responsible for unloading, storage and other charges once the goods have been made available at the place named.

  6. 准确的交货地点 — 在某些情况下,要求买方在合同中指定准确的交货地点是不可能的。但是,如果买方不及时指定准确交货地点,卖方就有权在合同条款规定范围内的多个地点交货。例如,原销售条款可能规定CFR鹿特丹港。鹿特丹港很大,而且买方可能会发现,该港口某特定地点是最佳的,那么就应该在销售合同和贸易条件中加以说明。而且,由于一旦货物到达,买方就应对货物负责。一旦货物在指定地点交付以后,他或她可能要负责卸货、仓储和其他费用。

  7. Export and Import Customs Clearance – It is usually desirable that export customs formalities be handled by the seller and import customs formalities be handled by the buyer. However, some trade terms require that the buyer handle export formalities and others require that the seller handle import formalities. In each case the buyer and seller will have to assume risk from export and import restrictions and prohibitions. In some cases foreign exporters may not be able to obtain import licenses in the country of import. This should be researched before accepting final terms.

  7. 出口和进口清关 — 出口海关手续有卖方办理,进口海关手续由买方办理是最理想的。然而,某些贸易术语要求买方办理出口手续,另外一些术语要求卖方办理进口手续。在每种情况下,买方和卖方将不得不承担来自进出口限制和禁令的风险。在某些情况下,外国出口商可能无法从进口国取得进口许可证。在接受最终的条件之前,应该对这一点进行研究。

  8. Added Wording – It is possible, and in many cases desirable, that the seller and buyer agree to additional wording to an Incoterm. For example, if the seller agrees to DDP terms, agreeing to pay for customs formalities and import duties, but not for VAT (value Added Taxes) the term “DDP VAT Unpaid” may be used.

  8. 附加措辞 — 买卖双方有可能同意在国际贸易术语上附加一些措辞,这在许多情况下是比较理想的。例如,如果卖方同意采用DDP条件,同意支付海关手续费和进口关税,但不支付增值税,就可以使用“DDP增值税未付”条件。

  9. Packing – It is the responsibility of the seller to provide packaging unless the goods shipped are customarily shipped in bulk (usually commodities such as oil or grain). In most situations it is best if the buyer and seller agree in the sales contract on the type and extent of packing required. However, it may not be possible to know beforehand the type or duration of transport. As a result, it is the responsibility of the seller to provide for safe and appropriate packaging, but only to the extent that the buyer has made the circumstances of the transport known to the seller beforehand.

  If the seller is responsible for packing goods in an ocean or air freight container it is also his responsibility to pack the container properly to withstand shipment.

  10. Inspection – These are several issues related to inspections: a) the seller is responsible for costs of inspection to make certain the quantity and quality of the shipment is in conformity with the sales contract, b) pre-shipment inspections as required by the export authority are the responsibility of the party responsible for export formalities, c) import inspections as required by the import authority are the responsibility of the party responsible for import formalities, and d) third-party inspections for independent verification of quality and quantity (if required) are generally the responsibility of the buyer. The buyer may require such and inspection and inspection document as a condition of payment.

  10. 检验 — 下面是与检验有关的几个问题:(a)卖方负责确定发送货物与销售合同规定的质量和数量一致的检验费用;(b)出口国当局规定的装船前检验由办理出口手续的一方当事人负责;(c)进口国当局规定的进口检验由办理进口手续的一方当事人负责;(d)为独立地确定质量和数量的第三方检验(如果需要的话)通常由买方负责。买方可能要求把此类检验和检验证书作为付款的条件。

  11. Passing of Risks and Costs – The general rule is that risks and costs pass from the seller to the buyer once the seller has delivered the goods to the point and place named in the trade term.

  11. 风险和费用的转移 — 通常的规则是,风险和费用自卖方将货物交付到贸易条件指定地点是从卖方转移给买方。


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