Commerce department international trade

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Liquidated Damages

If the Seller fails to supply any of the Goods within the time period specified in the Contract, the Buyer shall notify the Seller that a breach of contract has occurred and shall deduct from the Contract Price per week of delay, as liquidated damages, a sum equivalent to one half percent of the delivered price of the delayed Goods until actual delivery up to a maximum deduction of 10% of the delivered price of the delayed Goods.

To decide if this provision is a penalty or a liquidated damages clause, the common-law judge first studies the wording. The heading is "Liquidated Damages" and "liquidated damages" is mentioned in the text, but this is not decisive. The judge then asks some questions: Was the figure—0.5% per week up to a maximum of 10%—agreed as a fair and reasonable estimate of the loss the buyer might suffer? How was the figure calculated? Did the two sides discuss or debate it? If the figure is fair, the judge enforces the clause; if it is unfairly high, the judge will decide that its real purpose is to "terrorize" the exporter and refuse to enforce the clause.



Read this Coming Into Force provision; then answer the question.

This contract shall come into force after approval by the governments of the Seller and the Buyer, however at the latest by 31st December 2007.

Does this provision mean:

A. That the contract will come into force on 31st December 2007 even if the two governments have not approved it? Or

B. That the contract will become null/ nil/ nought and void if it has not come into force by 31st December 2007?

A B
The answer is B. A contract cannot come into force without government approval if such approval is required by public law.

A Fine Contract

Study the conract clause below, and then answer the questions.

Fine Payable

If the Seller fails to deliver the Goods at the fixed date, a fine shall be imposed upon him for the period of delay, until delivery is completed. The fine shall be as follows:

2% for the first week, or any part of it.

4% for the second week, or any part of it.

6% for the third week, or any part of it.

8% per week for the fourth week, or part of it, and for all succeeding weeks.
The fine shall be calculated'on the total contract value.

1. The clause uses the word "fine." Does that tell you for certain what kind of clause you are looking at? (Penalty clause or liquidated damages clause?) YES NO

2. After how long a delay does the exporter lose 100% of the contract price?


3. Do you think this clause is a penalty clause or a liquidated damages clause?

PENALTY liquidated damages

4. If an English judge applying English law looks at this clause, will it be enforceable? YES NO

  1. The word “fine” suggests, but does not prove, that the clause seeks to impose a penalty.

  2. 14 weeks.

  3. Penalty clause. The sum bears no relation to any anticipated loss.

  4. No. English judges do not- in principle- enforce penalty clauses. (But some caution is needed: the judge will decide according to all the merits of the cause.)


Force Majeure

Verbena Jute makes sacks, sackcloth, and other jute products. Its standard contract includes this definition of an event:

If either party is prevented from, or delayed in, performing any duty under this Contract by an event beyond his reasonable control, then this event shall be deemed force majeure...

The word “control” needs some thought. An event is beyond the control of the exporter (a) if he could not have foreseen it; (b) if he could not have influenced it, and (c) if he could not have taken reasonable steps to avoid the problems that were likely to arise.

  1. A volcanic eruption buries the factory in ash. (Yes)

  2. The annual flooding of the River Vero ruins some of the jute intended for use in making sacks. (No)

  3. A ban is issued on the export of jute products by a newly elected government. (Yes)

  4. A ban is issued on the export of jute products by a government that has been preparing legislation on this subject for five years. (Questionable)

  5. The workforce at the factory go on strike. (Questionable)

  6. The dock workers in Port Verbena go on strike. (Yes)

  7. A lockout (Background: The workers have been striking for one day or a week. The management locks the workers out of the factory until they agree to end the strikes. (Probably no)

  8. Shortage of supplies (Background: The exporter cannot get the raw jute he needs from the supplier because of a shipping delay.) (No)

  9. Shortage of supplies (Background: The exporter cannot get the raw jute he needs from the supplier because the Central Bank will not give him foreign exchange to pay the supplier. (Yes)

  10. A fire burns down the factory. (Yes)

3. Place of Delivery


In normal speech, the word "delivery" means the arrival of goods at their destination, but this is not the accepted meaning in contract language. Considerable confusion can arise if the parties fail to clarify what they mean by the place of delivery.


The place of delivery is the point at which the exporter passes responsibility for the goods to the buyer. This is usually in the country of the exporter; if sea transport is used, delivery normally takes place at the docks; in the case of land or container transport, delivery normally takes place when the goods are handed over to the carrier. Delivery also takes place in the country of the exporter in the case of CIF and CIP contracts,19 even though the exporter must bear the costs of freight and insurance through to the named destination.


We saw in the introduction to this chapter that delivery can take place at a number of places between the manufacturer's factory and the buyer's warehouse. If the buyer sends a truck to collect the goods from the factory, delivery takes place at the factory. If the manufacturer puts the goods on his own truck and drives them to the buyer's warehouse, deliv­ery takes place at the warehouse. Both of these arrangements are, however, rare in international trade. Normally delivery takes place at some intermediate place along the line of transportation. It is useful, in this context, to ask what the law says if the parties agree nothing between themselves. Under most national laws, a contract for the sale of goods abroad—assuming transportation by ship—is normally considered as an FOB (Free on Board) contract: delivery takes place when the goods cross the rail of the ship nominated by the buyer. This is perfectly reasonable: from the buyer's point of view it is often cheaper to arrange sea transportation with a carrier and an insurer in his own country; from the exporter's viewpoint, he has no control over the goods once they are on board the ship chosen by the buyer, so he should have no responsibility. It is also fair that the exporter, who has money tied up in the goods, should be paid when the goods leave his country. But the matter is disposive: the parties can make any arrangement they wish. If an FOB contract is agreed, then the contract contains wording such as:

The terms FOB, CIF and so on—the thirteen Incoterms—are the subject of Section 6 below.

Delivery of the Goods shall be made FOB (Mombasa).

The term FOB is always followed, as in this example, by the name of the port where delivery will take place. (The name of the port is sometimes generalized into, for example, "Kenyan port" or "English east-coat port.")

One common arrangement causes considerable confusion internation­ally—the so-called CIF contract. CIF stands for Cost, Insurance and Freight. In a CIF contract, the exporter must pay the full costs plus the freight charges plus insurance up to the named place of destination, usually a port. For example:

Delivery of the Goods shall be made CIF (Durban).

The exporter pays all the costs up to the port of arrival, Durban. But where does delivery take place? Delivery takes place when the goods cross the ship's rail in the port of shipment, exactly as in an FOB contract. The point is forcefully made in the ICC handbook dealing with Incoterms:

Since the point for the division of costs refers to the country of destination, the "C"-lerms are frequently mistakenly believed to be arrival contracts, whereby the seller is not relieved from any risks or costs until the goods have actually arrived at the agreed point. However, it must be stressed over and over again dial the 'C'-terms are of the same nature as the "F"-terms in that the seller fulfills the contract in the country of shipment or dispatch. Thus, the contracts of sale under the "C"-tcrms, like the contracts under the "F"-terms, fall under the category of shipment contracts -:1

The issue is crucial—on delivery, risk (as well as ownership in main cases) passes and payment usually falls due. The point is so often misun­derstood, that many contracts include additional wording on the place of delivery. For example, the Model Contract suggested in this book uses the following wording for CIF contracts:

Delivery of the Goods shall be made [INCOTERM]. The scheduled date of delivery shall be [DATE OF DELIVERY]. Risk and title to the Goods shall pass from the seller to the buyer on delivery.

The place of delivery under this Contract is [PORT OF SHIPMENT].

One final consideration on the subject of place. What happens if the ship named by the buyer is late? The goods are ready, but the exporter, through no fault of his own, cannot deliver. The careful exporter makes a special provision to cover this problem.21 For example:


20 Incoterms 1990. p. 1 1. There is a full discussion of the Incoterms in .Section 6 below,

21 If payment in such a case is made by Letter of Credit, il is very important for die exporter thai ihe let the Letter of Credit allow subslitution of the warehouse receipt for the bill of lading
If the vessel named by the Buyer fails to arrive on or before the agreed delivery date, then the Seller may at his discretion deliver the goods to a bonded warehouse in the port of Mombasa, and shall be deemed to have fulfilled his delivery obligations under this contract.

Dead on Time

In preliminary talks, Bangladesh Steel Exporting agrees with All Africa Metal to deliver goods to Lagos on or before 13th August 1995. When the contract is drafted, it mentions the date as agreed—13th August 1995. Because the Nigerian company has no shipping agent in Bangladesh, it asks for a CIF contract under Incoterms 1990. The delivery terms are accordingly agreed in the contract as follows:

Delivery CIF (Lagos) on or before 13th August 1995.

Trouble is now almost certain. Why?

Trouble is likely because under this contract delivery will take place on or before August 13th in Bangladesh – not, as the buyer evidently intended, in Lagos. The expression CIF (Lagos) means that, in addition to making delivery in Bangladesh, the exporter must pay the cost of insurance and freight on to Lagos.
What You Should Know

1. The place (and time) of delivery must be unambiguously agreed because many contract events (including payment and transfer of risk and title) are tied to delivery.

2. The place of delivery should not be confused with the destination of the goods.

3. Delivery of goods under most export contracts takes place in the coun­try of the exporter, at the docks in the case of sea transport, and when the goods are handed over to the carrier in most other cases.

4. CIF and CIP contracts are especially confusing since they name the point of destination, e.g., CIF (Lagos). Lagos, in this example, is the point up to which the exporter is responsible for costs, not the place of delivery.

  1. TRANSPORTATION: Vận chuyển

MC: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all may I say thank you for coming.

Our group takes great pleasure to talk about transportation, especially about the transportation in foreign trade.

First, Mr Thang and Miss Thoa will discuss the problem in transportation. Next Mr Hao and Miss Tam will explain some solutions to the problem. And finally, Miss Mai and Mr Hoang will discuss some case studies involved.

Now, to begin, Mr Thang and Miss Thoa please.


For the exporter, transportation has two aspects: the physical safety of goods – which means appropriate packaging and correct marking – and correct documentation.

Unless the shipping documents are in perfect order, prompt payment under a letter of credit is difficult or impossible. What are the dangers?

Vấn đề

Nhà xuất khẩu trước vấn đề vận chuyển cần chú ý đến hai khía cạnh: an toàn hàng hóa – cụ thể là đóng gói và ghi ký mã hiệu – cũng như bảo đảm bộ chứng từ phải khớp với nhau. Nếu các chứng từ vận chuyển không trùng khớp và xếp theo thứ tự thì việc thanh toán sẽ kéo dài và có khi không thể thực hiện. Vì vậy rủi ro sẽ là gì?


The parties should state in their contract what packaging should bear.

The exporter must follow the agreement scrupulously or payment may be delayed.

The exporter should ensure that the shipping documents correspond exactly with the conditions of the letter of credit and that the bill of lading is “clean,” otherwise, again, payment can be seriously delayed.

Once the mode of transport (road, rail, air or ship) has been negotiated, three aspects of transportation feature in the contract: packaging, shipping marks, and shipping documents.
First, packaging. One primary duty of the exporter is to ship the goods in suitable packaging.

Most national laws don't say clear rules for this.

Rather than rely on the law, the exporter and the buyer usually specify the contract what packaging they consider adequate. A typical clause:


Các bên cần ghi rõ trong hợp đồng trên bao bì phải ghi những gì.

Nếu nhà xuất khẩu không thực hiện đúng theo hợp đồng, thanh toán có thể bị trì hoãn.

Nhà xuất khẩu phải đảm bảo rằng các chứng từ vận chuyển phải khớp với thư tín dụng và vận đơn phải "sạch", nếu không, ngân hàng sẽ có cớ trì hoãn thanh toán.

Một khi đàm phán xong phương thức vận tải (đường bộ, đường sắt, đường hàng không, tàu biển), chúng ta cần phải chú trọng đến ba nội dung liên quan đến vận chuyển ghi trong hợp đồng: bao bì, ký mã hiệu, và các chứng từ vận chuyển.

Đầu tiên, đóng gói. Một trong những nhiệm vụ chính của người xuất khẩu là vận chuyển hàng được đóng gói phù hợp.

Nhiều quốc gia không có luật lệ rõ ràng về quy cách đóng gói.

Thay vì dựa vào pháp luật, nhà xuất khẩu và nhập khẩu thường cụ thể hóa đóng gói trong hợp đồng. Điều khoản tiêu biểu sẽ như sau đây:

"Goods are to be packed in new, strong, wooden cases suitable for long-distance ocean transport and are to be well protected against dampness, shock, rust, or rough handling. The SELLER shall be liable for any damage to or loss of the Goods attributable to improper or defective packaging."

Hàng hóa phải được đóng gói trong thùng gỗ mới, chắc chắn và phù hợp cho vận chuyển hàng hải đường dài và phải có bọc, lót chống ẩm. sốc, hoen rỉ hay bốc dỡ không cẩn thận. Người bán phải chịu trách nhiệm trước mọi tổn thất hàng hóa do đóng gói không phù hợp hay thiếu sót.

This wording makes the requirements clear, and it puts the blame firmly on the shoulders of the exporter if packaging is inadequate.

Three packaging problems are worth mentioning here even though they are matters of public law and outside the direct scope of the contract:

♦ Packaging of dangerous goods is subject to special regulations in all countries.

The exporter should ask for instructions from the buyer if dangerous goods are in question.

♦ Some national laws require fumigation of all containers entering the country.

♦ Agriculture-based, developed economies (such as that of Australia) tend to place severe restrictions on packaging materials. Hay, straw and rice husks are often forbidden; wooden packaging must often be fumigated.

If in doubt, the exporter should consult the buyer or the consulate of the importing country.
Shipping Marks

Shipping marks, like the address on an envelope, must be tightly controlled. The two sides should discuss exactly what is required. A typical list of marks in all export contract looks like this:

Ngôn ngữ phải nêu thật rõ yêu cầu, và nếu bao bì không đúng quy cách, nhà xuất khẩu chính là người phải gánh hết trách nhiệm.

Ba vấn đề liên quan đến đóng gói cần được đề cập ở đây mặc dù đó là những vấn đề liên quan đến công pháp và không thuộc lĩnh vực hợp đồng:

♦ Bao bì của hàng nguy hiểm phải tuân thủ các quy định của nhà nước ở tất cả các quốc gia.

Nhà xuất khẩu nên nhờ người nhập khẩu chỉ dẫn cụ thể nếu mình chưa biết rõ hàng hóa đó quy định chặc chẻ về bao bì hay không.

♦ Một số luật quốc gia yêu cầu xông khói khử trùng của tất cả các container nhập cảnh.

♦ Các nền kinh tế phát triển dựa trên nông nghiệp (như Australia) có những hạn chế rất nghiêm ngặt về vật liệu đóng gói.

Cỏ khô, rơm rạ và trấu thường bị cấm; vật liệu đóng gói bằng gỗ phải được xông khói khử trùng.

Nếu nghi ngờ, xuất khẩu nên tham khảo ý kiến ​​của người mua hoặc lãnh sự quán của nước nhập khẩu. Vận chuyển Marks nhãn hiệu vận chuyển, giống như địa chỉ trên phong bì, phải được kiểm soát chặt chẽ. Hai bên cần thảo luận về chính xác những gì là cần thiết. Một danh sách điển hình của các nhãn hiệu trong hợp đồng xuất khẩu ail trông như thế này:

On the surface of each package delivered under this Contract shall be marked: the package number, the measurements of the package, gross weight, net weight, the lifting position, the letter of credit number, the words THE RIGHT SIDE UP, HANDLE WITH CARE, KEEP DRY, and the marks DNP/ 36/Q.

Trên mỗi kiện hàng được giao theo hợp đồng này phải ghi ký mã hiệu bao gồm số thứ tự, kích thước, trọng lượng thô, trọng lượng tịnh, vị trí nâng của kiện hàng, số L/C, thêm những từ phổ biến khác như XIN ĐỂ ĐÚNG CHIỀU, CẨn THẬN KHI BỐC Dỡ, CẦN ĐỂ NƠI KHÔ RÁO, và những mã số như DNP/ 36/Q.

Some of these marks are concerned with identifying the goods, some with handling (e.g , weight and "Right Side l'p"). and some with government regulations (e.g., Indonesian practice requires that goods sold under a letter of credit must bear the number of the credit on the packaging; payment under the letter of credit may be difficult if this is not done.) Once agreement has been reached, the exporter should be scrupulously careful about printing all the necessary marks: otherwise, as we shall see in the next section, the bank may refuse to pay under the letter of credit.

Một số các nhãn hiệu có liên quan với xác định các hàng hoá, xử lý (ví dụ, trọng lượng và "Right Side l'p"). và một số quy định của chính phủ (ví dụ như Indonesia thực hành yêu cầu hàng hoá bán ra theo thư tín dụng phải có số lượng tín dụng trên bao bì, thanh toán theo thư tín dụng có thể khó khăn nếu điều này không được thực hiện.) Sau khi thỏa thuận đã được đạt, xuất khẩu phải được nghiêm ngặt cẩn thận về việc in tất cả các dấu hiệu cần thiết: nếu không, chúng ta sẽ thấy trong phần tiếp theo, ngân hàng có thể từ chối trả tiền theo thư tín dụng.

Shipping Documents

We must now glance ahead and discuss briefly payment by letter of credit. The exporter has fulfilled his major duties under most export contracts when he passes to the carrier correct contract goods. At this point, he is entitled to payment. The problem is, of course, that goods are usually passed to a carrier in the exporter's own country weeks, or months, before the importer has the chance to examine them. To allow payment at this early stage, international commerce has developed the letter of credit. How does the letter of credit work?24 In brief, the buyer arranges with a bank in the exporter's country to pay a certain sum of money (usually the total invoice price) as soon as the goods are shipped. Obviously the exporter must prove to the bank that shipment has taken place as agreed with the buyer. As proof the bank accepts the shipping documents. The text of the letter of credit contains a list of shipping documents, sometimes a very detailed list. After the bank is satisfied that the shipping documents tendered by the exporter are exactly in order, it pays the agreed sum. What, then, are these shipping documents?

Vận chuyển tài liệu Chúng tôi bây giờ phải lướt qua trước và thảo luận về một thời gian ngắn thanh toán bằng thư tín dụng. Nhà xuất khẩu đã hoàn thành nghĩa vụ theo hầu hết các hợp đồng xuất khẩu lớn của ông khi ông chuyển hàng hoá vận chuyển hợp đồng chính xác. Tại thời điểm này, ông có quyền để thanh toán. Vấn đề là, tất nhiên, hàng hoá thường được thông qua cho hãng trong tuần đất nước của bên xuất khẩu, hoặc vài tháng, trước khi nhập khẩu có cơ hội để xem xét. Để cho phép thanh toán ở giai đoạn này đầu, thương mại quốc tế đã phát triển của tín dụng thư. Thư tín dụng làm việc như thế nào? 24 Tóm lại, người mua thu xếp với một ngân hàng ở nước xuất khẩu phải trả một số tiền nhất định (thường là giá tổng hoá đơn) ngay sau khi hàng hoá được vận chuyển. Rõ ràng là nhà xuất khẩu phải chứng minh cho ngân hàng rằng lô hàng đã được thực hiện theo thoả thuận với người mua. Một bằng chứng, ngân hàng chấp nhận các tài liệu vận chuyển. Các văn bản của tín dụng thư có chứa một danh sách chứng từ vận chuyển, đôi khi một danh sách rất chi tiết. Sau khi ngân hàng được hài lòng rằng các tài liệu vận chuyển đấu thầu của nhà xuất khẩu là chính xác theo thứ tự, nó trả tiền số tiền đã thỏa thuận. , Sau đó, các tài liệu này vận chuyển?


24 Chapter 2, Section 4 deals with the letter of credit in detail
The most important shipping document is issued by the carrier when the exporter hands over the goods ior transportation—it goes under many names, but in general we can call it the waybill. Waybills fall into two groups with slightly different rules attached to them. The first type is the traditional marine bill of lading which is used for transport by ship. The second type includes shipping documents issued by airlines (the air waybill), by railways (the rail consignment note), and by road hauliers (the road consignment note). Since many goods today are containerized, and since containers move by road, rail, ship and air, a combined transport bill of lading is used to cover multi-mode transport. On the next pages you will see a blank example of each type of document mentioned above.
A Marine Bill of Lading (p. 45)

Most marine bills of lading today use the dual purpose form (marine/combined transport) shown below rather than the traditional form reserved purely for ships. (For a completed marine bill of lading, see the Concept Review: Barnacle Bill below.)

An Air Waybill (p.46)

The air waybill is issued by an airline when it takes over the goods from the exporter.

A Rail Consignment Note (p. 47)

If goods are shipped by rail, the railroad company issues a rail consignment note. Although there is a standard international form (the so-called CIM form), most rail consignment notes in developing countries look more like the example shown.

A Road Consignment Note (p. 48)

A trucking company issues a road consignment note on taking over the goods. Of all the shipping documents, the road consignment note is the least standardized. The example below shows the typical entries.

A Combined Transport Bill of Lading (p. 49)

"Combined transport" is the most common term for shipment in a container since trucks, trains, ships and planes can all handle containers.

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