Let us take a look at one ....
Where "Seller", "Buyer" and "Date of Contract" is typed that should be self-explanatory. Below these you will see "1 : Particulars" and the first thing which will catch your eye is the large, blank space. This is the space where Buyer and Seller can insert any specific details or particulars to which they have both agreed.
For example [and this is a hypothetical instance but well illustrates the point] should the Buyer of a container of hides wish to receive only black and white hides and the Seller has agreed to supply only black and white hides, then, this additional specification can be inserted into the rather large space you see on the blank contract form. It then becomes binding on the Seller to supply only black and white hides.
If the delivery is subsequently found to include other colours such as brown or grey then the goods are deemed to be an incorrect tender and should be rejected. This point is exaggerated, of course, in order to highlight what can be included if both parties to the contract have specifically agreed a detail from the outset.
At the back of the International Contract form there are various Annexes as they apply to Raw Hides and Skins [Annexe A]; Pickled Material [Annexe B]; Wetblue Material [Annexe C]] and Chrome, Vegetable Tanned and Other Unfinished Leather in Dry or Crust Condition [Annexe D].
Returning to "1. Particulars", whichever Annexe[s] applies to the material contracted for the purchase or sale, then you must insert the appropriate Annexe letter after "We the above-mentioned seller, and we, the above mentioned buyer, have today contracted a sale/purchase on the terms and conditions of this contract and of Annexe ........"
On the question of Arbitration and Appeal the relevant particulars are provided at the bottom of this same page after the large space.
Now the advantages of the International Contract can start to become apparent. The Contract is asking the questions which should have been mutually agreed between the two contracting parties during their negotiation of the business in hand. In short, it is covering the parties for all foreseeable eventualities. To use an ordinary commercial letter-headed paper on which is written what is believed to be an adequate note of the details of the business which has been concluded, rarely includes reference to place of inspection, place of arbitration, place of appeal and the arbitration authority according to whose rules and regulations arbitration and appeal should be carried out.
"Place of Inspection" ... Why leave it blank? Why not cover yourself? You could say: "At Buyer抯 works" which would not constitute a problem since it is likely to be the least problematical venue for all concerned.
"Place of arbitration" ... Again why leave it blank? It is normal practice within the trade to have arbitration at one of the established arbitration centres. Without any particular bias towards any individual arbitration centre, we shall say "FRANCE" for the purposes of this illustration. Then we would add "according to the Rules of the Syndicat General des Cuirs et Peaux". This makes it quite precise - otherwise it could be inferred that it is a matter for a French Court.
"Place of Appeal" ... Following on from the above example we would then say "France" and then continue with the words "according to the Rules of the Syndicat General des Cuirs et Peaux.
"State Arbitration Authority" ... Here again ... do not leave it blank! As a follow on from "France" you should state the authority. In this case it is "Syndicat General des Cuirs et Peaux". Be precise and leave no doubt as to what you mean.
We are therefore trying to highlight that, in using the International Contract Form, the spaces which are left for you to complete remind you of the particular information required to provide maximum protection in the event of problems at a later date.
Turning back to Page 1 of the International Contract Form you can see down the left hand side a quantity of small print. Ignore this at your peril! It is there to help you and not to confuse you! Here again the International Contract is seeking to remind you of the necessary details you need to insert when making out the contract.
It says, "State here: Quantity, Mark/Description, Quality/Selection/Chemical Analysis, Weight/Area/Substance, Price, Weight and Measurement Terms ...." and so on ... all vital information! It concludes, "Incoterms 1990 to apply - any other particulars.".
We can continue through the document. Ah! but you say, "So much fine print ... we’ll never understand all that!". But the International Contract is one of the main ‘tools’ of our trade. We are therefore urging you to study it - if only a bit at a time. You will be amazed by what there is to learn from it. As we said before, it really should be regarded as a "Trade Manual" or "Guide to Trading".