September has seen the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) launch Incoterms 2010, which paradoxically will come into force in January 2011. Incoterms, simply put, are the rules under which goods are moved from one country to another, detailing where the responsibilities of the exporter ends, and the importer begin. This is of course of huge significance for businesses, engaged on a daily basis with the collection of debts from customers overseas. Without Incoterms the scope for disputes over who is responsible for what, and liable for the attendant charge, would be horrendous. Incoterms provide an unambiguous and internationally understood matrix for the avoidance of such disputes, and accordingly, the smooth flow of goods, documentation, and ultimately payment.
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