On 9th July, Womble Bond Dickinson published an article saying that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) will release Incoterms® 2020 in early September 2019, with the new rules coming into effect on 1st January 2020 (i.e. after the planned date for the EU to finally depart the EU). It will be possible to continue to use the current 2010 version of Incoterms® in commercial contracts after the new version comes into effect, but only if clearly specified. The firm advises that, given the enhanced role of Incoterms® in post-Brexit trade, businesses involving import or export should use the time between September 2019 and the Brexit deadline to review and update their standard contract documentation, including terms used for trade between the UK and the EU27. This is both to ensure consistency with the new rules, and to ensure that the selected Incoterms® and other contract provisions appropriately allocate risk and responsibility between the parties. The firm warns that Brexit significantly increases the commercial risks that might flow from inadvertently basing a supply arrangement on Incoterms® that do not meet the parties’ requirements, or of continuing to use Incoterms® that have a significantly different risk profile once Brexit has occurred – and this is particularly true of Incoterms® that allocate responsibility for customs and other border clearance issues, such as import or export licences.
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