The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has responded to the European Commission’s latest Green Paper on European contract law policy for consumers and businesses, and urged that the proposed Common Frame of Reference (CFR) be kept as an optional instrument.
The European Commission (EC) had recently invited ICC to present business views as a stakeholder expert in ongoing European Union (EU) discussions on European contract law. The Green Paper*, released in July 2010, is part of a project that began in 2001 to promote the EU internal market by simplifying cross-border trade through the CFR.
ICC, in its response to the Green Paper, called for the CFR to be available as an optional instrument that keeps business-to-business contracts separate from business-to-consumer ones. It insists that although harmonized rules can simplify trade, making the implementation of the CFR mandatory may complicate current practices, as many businesses already use other standard term contracts, such as the ICC Incoterms® rules or the UN Convention on the International Sale of Goods.
The ICC Commission on Commercial Law and Practice, through its Task Force on European Contract Law, has been following developments in the EU Commission project to harmonize European contract law for many years. The CFR is intended to contain common principles, terminology and model rules to be used by EU legislators to reduce inconsistencies in the different contract law of member states.
The EU Commission had, in the past, mainly received input from academic experts, but ICC commission members said it was important to contribute business perspectives, as the project touches the interests of both businesses and consumers. ICC is honoured that it has since been invited by the EC to submit its views on European contract law and will continue to provide expertise as the world business organization.
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