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ICC’s world renowned Incoterms® rules facilitate trillions of dollars in global trade each year. 

What are Incoterms® rules?

The 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.

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. We have been maintaining and developing them ever since.

As ICC celebrates its Centenary in 2019, the world business organization is pleased to announce the publication of Incoterms® 2020. The newest edition of the Incoterms® rules will help prepare business for the next century of global trade.

Where can I buy Incoterms®2020 and related products?

Incoterms® 2020 is available on ICC’s new e-commerce platform ICC Knowledge 2 Go in both print and digital formats.

The 2020 edition is available in no fewer than 29 languages — from Estonian and German to Pashto and Spanish. Check with the ICC local representative in your country for further information.

More than 250 launch events and training seminars are also being organised worldwide by ICC national committees. What’s more, there is even an online course and certificate programme available from our educational arm, the ICC Academy.

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.

What does “Incoterms®” stand for?

“Incoterms®” is an acronym standing for international commercial terms. “Incoterms®” is a trademark of International Chamber of Commerce, registered in several countries.

The Incoterms® rules feature abbreviations for terms, like FOB (“Free on Board”), DAP (“Delivered at Place”) EXW (“Ex Works”), CIP (“Carriage and Insurance Paid To”), which all have very precise meanings for the sale of goods around the world.

These terms hold universal meaning for buyers and sellers around the world. If you are a financial analyst in the City of London, then you might associate the acronym “FCA” with the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority. However, for importers and exporters around the world, FCA are the initials used for “Free Carrier,” or the seller’s obligation to deliver the goods to the carrier nominated by the buyer at the seller’s premises or another named place.

When were ICC’s Incoterms® rules last updated?

ICC last updated the Incoterms® rules in 2019. While Incoterms® 2020 is the most current version of the trade terms, Incoterms® 2010 is still in effect today and can be accessed under our resources for business.

What happened to Incoterms 2015, Incoterms 2016, Incoterms, 2017, Incoterms 2018, and Incoterms 2019…?

Don’t worry, you didn’t miss them. They don’t exist! The latest edition of the Incoterms® rules is Incoterms® 2020. However, Incoterms® 2010 remains in effect for those using them.

To learn more about the evolution of Incoterms® rules, please visit Incoterms® rules history.


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The International Chamber of Commerce has launched Incoterms® 2020, an update of the renowned regulations that define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers operating in the international trade system.

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