On 20th November, US law firm Benesch which says in the current international trading environment the use and understanding of the Incoterms trading terms, and the 3-letter abbreviations and what they mean, is more important than ever. Published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), they offer a “shorthand” for communicating key shipping terms. The firm says it is aware of cases where Chinese suppliers have attempted to have customers accept changed Incoterms for shipments – but cautions that by doing so the customer might unknowingly face greatly increased costs from the changed terms of delivery. It says that drafting in plain language, especially on complex issues such as responsibility for duties, is sometimes preferred if Incoterms convey different or conflicting meanings. Some domestic importers, it says, take this a step further by expressly stating that Inconterms are for convenience only and do not change the parties intentions. The article goes on to explain the 11 current Incoterms – CIF, CIP, DDP etc.