Incoterms® 2020—introduction

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Incoterms® 2020—introduction
  • Foreword
  • Introduction to Incoterms® 2020
  • I. What the Incoterms® rules do
  • II. What the Incoterms® rules do not do
  • III. How best to incorporate the Incoterms® rules
  • IV. Delivery, risk and costs in the Incoterms® 2020 rules
  • V. Incoterms® 2020 rules and the carrier
  • VI. Rules for the contract of sale and their relationship to other contracts
  • VII. The eleven Incoterms® 2020 rules ‘sea and inland waterway’ and ‘any mode(s) of transport’: getting it right
  • More...

Incoterms® 2020—introduction

This Practice Note comprises the introduction to the Incoterms® 2020 rules produced here with the permission of ICC Publishing SA. Incoterms® 2020 rules and other ICC publications are available from ICC Publishing SA, 33-43 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France and from ICC United Kingdom, 1st Floor, 1-3 Staple Inn London, WC1V 7QH, United Kingdom, and

Incoterms® 2020 rules came into force on 1 January 2020, and updated the Incoterms® 2010 rules to reflect changes to the market over the last decade. For an introduction to the Incoterms® 2010 rules, see Practice Note: Incoterms® 2010—introduction.


By John W.H. Denton, AO, ICC Secretary General

The growth of the global economy has given most businesses greater access than ever before to markets all over the world. Goods are sold today in more countries, in larger quantities, in greater variety, and at a faster pace as a result. But as both the volume and complexity of global trade increase, so do possibilities for misunderstandings and costly disputes when sale contracts are not adequately drafted.

The ICC Incoterms® rules on the use of domestic and international trade terms address this risk by facilitating the conduct of global trade. Reference to an Incoterms® 2020 rule in a contract for the sale of goods clearly defines the parties’ respective obligations regarding topics such as risk, cost and arrangement of transport and

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