Harmonization of international trade rules and conditions

In international trade, a lot of work is being done to unify the rules and conditions of international trade turnover. Thanks to the international unification of law, the differences in the regulation of relations on international trade in the national systems of States are erased, as a result of which a uniform law in the international field is created.

The process of unification of rules and conditions for the international sale of goods has been the most significant for international trade, and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is currently making the most significant contribution to this process. The Commission has developed several important instruments in the field of international trade law:

Convention on the Uniform Law for the Formation of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (1964). United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (1980). United Nations Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale of Goods (1974). United Nations Convention on the Law Applicable to Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (1985).

Conventions in the field of international commercial arbitration, which has become the predominant way of resolving disputes arising in international trade, are also of great importance for international trade. The Republic of Belarus is a party to two international conventions in the field of arbitration:

New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) of the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration (1961).

The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods is an international document that contains unified rules that unite the international practice of trade in goods. Adopted in 1980 in Vienna at the UN Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. There are currently 56 countries parties to the Vienna Convention. The Convention regulates the procedure for concluding and the main terms of the contract for the international sale of goods, defines the main obligations of the seller and the buyer under the contract, establishes a list of objects of the contract of sale to which it does not apply, and eliminates significant discrepancies in national legislation. Regulation is based on the principle of balancing the interests of the parties to the contract (seller and buyer), taking into account the customs and practices established in international trade. This avoids discriminatory terms of the relationship between the parties to the contract, helps to eliminate the possibility of imposing unilateral favorable conditions, helps counterparties to the transaction to unambiguously understand their rights and obligations. The full text of the Convention is presented in Annex 1.

In 1994, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit) developed the Principles of International Commercial Contracts (Unidroit Principles), which cover aspects not regulated in the Vienna Convention (validity of the contract, transfer of ownership of goods, issues of fines and penalties, etc.).

In international trade, much work is also being done to harmonize and harmonize trade customs. The main role in this process is played by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), established in 1919. It is headquartered in Paris. Under her leadership, a number of instruments were developed to inform the customs and practices of international trade.

Trade custom is a generally recognized rule that has developed in the field of international trade on the basis of a constant and uniform repetition of the actual relations between counterparties.

Trade usage is a established procedure or a rule actually established in trade relations, which serves to determine the will of the parties that is not expressly expressed in the contract.

One of the first and most frequently used acts of the ICC is the International Rules for the Interpretation of Trade Terms – INCOTERMS (editions 1936, 1953, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1990, 2000). Currently valid editorial board
INCOTERMS 2000. These rules define the obligations of the seller and the buyer to deliver the goods and establish the moment when the risk of accidental destruction or damage to the goods passes from the seller to the buyer.

Of great importance in the practice of international trade turnover in settlements between counterparties are the uniform rules and customs relating to documentary credits (ICC Publication No. 500 of 1993). The Uniform Rules concerning Contractual Guarantees (Banking, etc.), adopted in 1977, as amended in 1990, also play an important role.

In international trade practice, in addition to trade customs, model contracts (contracts on a model form without these counterparties), general terms and conditions of transactions (may be an integral part of the contract) and manuals for the conclusion of contracts (containing advice, variants of the text of the contract and recommendations for the conclusion of the contract) are quite common.

Typically, model contracts are developed by large participants in international trade turnover, professional associations of international trade entities (Chambers of Commerce, industry associations or international organizations).

At present, the model contracts and general terms and conditions of transaction developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe are of great importance. Under her leadership, more than 30 variants of model contracts and general conditions of supply for certain types of goods were developed:

General Conditions of Export Supplies of Machinery; Standard contracts for grain trade – 16 options; General conditions of export of capital goods; Guidance on the conclusion of a contract for the transfer of know-how in the field of engineering products, etc.