Trade & investment

ICC issues Guide to the eUCP

  • 21 November 2002

ICC announced today the publication of a new Guide to the electronic supplement to UCP 500, its universally used rules on documentary credits.

The Guide to the eUCP explains how the supplement, known as eUCP, should be used in day-to-day practice.

The eUCP came into force at midnight GMT on 31 March of this year. It was a response by the ICC to the growing number of electronic documents being used in international trade. The product of more than two years of work, the eUCP is expected to revolutionize the way letters of credit are commonly used.

As with all ICC rules, the eUCP provides a framework of general principles. But principle s require explanation, particularly in the present case where users of documentary credits have long been accustomed only to dealing with paper-based documents.

The Guide, written by Professor James E. Byrne and Dan Taylor, members of the task force that drafted the eUCP, deals with basic issues that users of electronic documents will have to come to grip with. For example:

What constitutes “authentication” of an electronic presentation?
What are the elements of a “notice of completeness” that signals when the electronic presentation is complete?
How does one decide whether an electronic record has been “corrupted” and is therefore unusable?
But the Guide does more than offer a cogent explanation of the new rules. It contains useful added features:

An Introduction, which explains the relationship of the eUCP to local law
A system of cross references that provides links to other provisions in the eUCP, as well as to other ICC rules – the UCP, International Standby Practices (ISP98), and the Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG)
Appendices with excerpts of relevant international conventions.
Electronic documents represent the way of the future. The Guide to the eUCP provides a road map to new concepts that will have a major impact on the way trade is conducted.