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Uniform Customs and Practice

Guidance on how to be compliant with the rules
and regulations around international trade

Regulating international trade: the Uniform Customs and Practice.

Rules and regulations govern international trade, and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the main regulatory body. The Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (also known as UCP) is a set of rules issued by the ICC. The current version is the 2007 revision, and published by the ICC in their publication number 600.

The UCP clearly defines the parties to the letter of credit, and details their roles and responsibilities:

  • Applicant (usually the importer)
  • Beneficiary (usually the exporter)
  • Issuing Bank (issued at the request of the Applicant)
  • Advising Bank (advises the letter of credit at the request of the Issuing Bank)

The ICC has issued a similar set of rules and regulations that applies to Documentary Collections - Uniform Rules for Collections (URC). The current version is the 1995 revision, and published by the ICC in their publication number 522.

You should take the time to get acquainted with the UCP and URC, indeed, the work of the ICC as a whole. There is a considerable amount of legal terminology to understand, and it will help you if you clearly understand your rights in case of arbitration and dispute resolution. Make sure you know what's expected of you - and what you should expect of other parties - as the rules are binding on all parties unless they have been expressly modified or excluded by the wording of the issued letter of credit.

For more information you can call your Relationship Manager, drop into your local Ulster Bank Business Centre / Branch, or contact our Global Trade Finance team.

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