Can old Incoterms be used today in international trade?

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Using Old Incoterms
Photo by Rob Long

Overview

Can we still use the old Incoterms, like Incoterms 2000 (or older), in international trade today; instead of using the current Incoterms 2010 (or the coming Incoterms 2020)?

Listen to the equivalent audio blog here.

Ask An Expert

Discussion with renowned global trade expert Murdo Beaton and Abdul Mann, creator of the cloud-based export solution EdgeCTP.

Geoff:

OK, so previously I’ve asked you to tell me, what is the difference between Incoterms 2000 and Incoterms 2010 but what I’d like to know today is, can we still use the old Incoterms in international trade today?

Murdo:

Yes, that’s a rather unusual question but the answer I suppose is, yes, of course, you can! There is no impediment that would suggest that you can’t.

Abdul:

So one of the four that you were talking about that were dropped or amalgamated in 2010, there’s nothing to stop me saying “Oh I quite like that old one, I want to use that one.” then there’s nothing stopping me using it as long as both parties agree?

Murdo:

There is nothing stopping you from using the old terms. As we all know legal systems change, as they do from time to time so it would be prudent, if we were using Incoterms 2000, that nothing had changed in the legal domain that would suggest that any clauses that may be incorporated in Incoterms 2000 are now on the wrong side of changes in any legal requirement. Other than that there is absolutely nothing stopping someone from using Incoterms 2000. I certainly wouldn’t consider an Incoterm version prior to that.

Abdul:

What are the pitfalls? Why wouldn’t we want to do that? In case of a dispute, where someone didn’t stump up to their side of the Incoterm?

Murdo:

No, not at all. I mean, if you used Incoterms 2000 and both parties to the contract agreed to the revised additions that they were going to use, then there’s nothing to stop them. The only thing that they would have to be careful about is that they weren’t making applicable to their contract by virtue of adopting Incoterms 2000, any clauses therein that might not be favourably disposed towards any changes that have taken place in the meantime with regard to the prevailing law that would preside over their contract.

Abdul:

So, it’s advisable to go with the latest and greatest 2010 as opposed to 2000, but there’s nothing stopping you from going back to 2000.

Murdo:

Indeed, indeed.

Geoff:

I hope you enjoyed this. If you’d like more information on international trade, go to www.edgectp.com

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