Breaking: The ICC Banking Commission withdraws ICC Opinion 470/TA.842rev.
Yesterday the ICC Banking Commission circulated the following message:
“In response to a number of comments received in respect of 470/TA.842rev, it has been agreed that this Opinion will be withdrawn for the time being and re-submitted later in the year for further discussion at the Rome meeting in November.”
In fact it was a surprise to many that TA.842rev was included into the bundle of Final ICC Opinions circulated following the Annual Meeting in Johannesburg (April 2016).
Let’s recap the query:
It deals with an LC including the following requirements:
MANUALLY SIGNED AND DULY DATED BENEFICIARY‟S COMMERCIAL INVOICE ADDRESSED TO APPLICANT, MARKED L/C NUMBER, EVIDENCING DELIVERY AND PAYMENT TERMS – IN 1 ORIGINAL AND 1 COPY
+ ALL DOCUMENTS TO BE MANUALLY SIGNED
The presentation was refused citing the following discrepancy:
"Commercial invoice presented copy is not manually signed as per L/C terms”
The question was if this is a valid discrepancy. The answer from the ICC was that based on the LC condition, all presented documents including copies must be manually signed. I.e. the discrepancy is valid! (or was … till yesterday).
This query initiated quite some discussion at the Johannesburg meeting. What was interesting, was that – based on the comments given prior to the meeting – there was a majority in favour of the ICC answer. However, at the meeting – almost all comments were against the ICC answer.
On that basis it was agreed that this particular query would be re-circulated to the National Committees for a new round of comments. The re-circulation would include the comments made at the Johannesburg meeting for and against the Draft Opinion.
For that reason it was a surprise to see TA.842rev included into the bundle of Final ICC Opinions – and it is a surprise to see that it is simply re-submitted for further discussion at the Rome meeting in November. One would have expected more; i.e. a recap of the pro and cons comments made at the meeting.
Actually, there are two other issues that are surprising:
The first is that, this is actually the second time in a row following an Annual ICC Banking Commission Meeting that Final ICC Opinions had to be withdrawn, based on subsequent comments from National Committees. This simply is not good!
The second is that the ICC Banking Commission have just released a document that deals with “strict compliance,” and have shown in a number a previous ICC Opinions that they discourage minor and insignificant discrepancies. If I ever saw a minor and insignificant discrepant, then it is this one! Refusing that the copy invoice is not manually signed simply is not correct. On the meeting Professor Jim Byrnes raised a similar example where “photo copy of a signed bill of lading” was part of the presentation. The result of this Opinion (now withdrawn) is that it need be manually signed – again. On top of the copied signature ….
So – at least the good thing amongst all the surprises is that there is a possibility that this one will be changed! I hope so.
Take care of each other and the LC.
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