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Understanding Incoterms 2010

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Whether you are buying or selling, negotiating favourable commercial terms of sale is the most effective way to cut costs and reduce transit times.

The word “Incoterms” is an abbreviation of International Commercial Terms.  Incoterms are the key element of international contracts of sale as they indicate whether the seller or buyer is responsible for:

  • Arranging for carriage of the goods from seller to buyer
  • Paying of the freight charges
  • Transferring risks from the seller to buyer, and
  • Performing export and import customs clearance

The wrong term is used almost 30% of the time, resulting in misunderstandings that almost inevitably lead to additional costs, most often for unwanted services.

For more information on Incoterms visit the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) website at

Quick Tip #34
Issue instructions in writing

Always put your requirements in writing to avoid misunderstandings. What is completely obvious to you may be seen much differently by another person.

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