Introduce international trade and business law

It is the branch of law that proposes to study standards and international commercial regulations. Globally, there is a huge amount of trade across different geographical areas, often with different practices. It is a question of seeing if there is harmonisation and how this harmonisation takes place. International trade law is essentially based on contract law. In other words, and much more precisely, international trade and business law can be defined as that which studies international contracts.

International trade standards are developed or codified by specialised institutions, among which we can mention a few in particular: UNCITRAL (the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on International Trade and Development), and the International Chamber of Commerce.

International trade standards emanate from various sources, including international conventions drawn up by states within the framework of the appropriate international bodies; international custom; domestic laws; and international case law.

The international commercial contract would certainly be one that brings into play the interests of international trade through the movement of goods across borders. It is a question here of seeing, in terms of contractual negotiation, which mentions should necessarily appear in the contract of international trade to ensure its legal certainty.

The essential clauses must appear in an international contract. In this matter, given the significant risks, it is essential that the parties provide provisions allowing them, in the event of litigation, to properly settle their disputes. It is a matter of legal certainty. These preventive provisions also make it possible to facilitate the execution of the contract and certainly safeguard good relations between partners.

Among these clauses, we can retain a few: the clause concerning applicable law, the clause concerning the settlement of disputes, the clause concerning the modification or revision of the contract, the currency clause, the clause concerning the language of the contract, etc. Below, we explain one of them.

Applicable Law

The international contract is always necessarily attached to a state, and the law that applies to this contract is commonly called the lex contractus. This law of the contract could have been chosen by the parties to the contract; in the absence of such a choice, it will be necessary to refer to the system of conflicts of laws. It is true that there are some international conventions, in particular the UNIDROIT conventions, that propose some rules of conflict. From this point of view, a distinction is often made between the law applicable in substance, the lex contractus, and the laws applicable in terms of limitation, for example.

In any event, it is this system of conflicts of laws that may allow the judge to designate the applicable law.

The Uses of International Trade

International trade constitutes the main source of international trade law because the autonomy of the will is preferred and because practitioners are very attached to their professional practices, so in the absence of mandatory standards, these practices are essential. These commercial uses are quite numerous; in each activity, there are some.


Mainly, when it comes to international sales, there are the INCOTERMS or International Commercial Terms. Incoterms only concern international sales of goods. An international sale is the sale of goods from one country to another. This means that in international sales, there is always a group of contracts.

The main objectives of incoterms are to establish a series of optional relationships. It aims to clarify the interpretation of the main terms used in sales contracts abroad. providing operators with a technical instrument. This instrument makes it possible to eliminate the main causes of conflict and determine the obligations and responsibilities of each party. These obligations and responsibilities relate to the shipment of the goods and the execution of the sales contract.

In another article, we will develop each important point of international trade and business law.

Notably, the last point is about incoterms, which are nowadays always used but are still evolving. For more information, please contact us.