A reference to certain data being required to appear on "all shipping documents" will exclude drafts, teletransmission reports and courier receipts, postal receipts or certificates of posting evidencing the sending of documents.
Stale documents are acceptable
The term 'stale documents acceptable' has been used and referred to for many years even though there has been no mention of it within any UCP revision. Use of this term will allow for documents to be presented up to the date of expiry.
It can be the case that a documentary credit will contain reference to "stale documents acceptable" and, at the same time, incorporate a maximum period for the presentation of documents. Clearly, this is a conflict. Rather than require an advising, confirming or nominated bank to revert to the issuing bank for clarification, ISBP 745 paragraph A19 (b) states that the reference to a maximum period will be disregarded.
Third party documents acceptable / not acceptable
For many years, issuing banks have made reference to third party documents either being allowed or not allowed, without there being any formal interpretation of what actually is or could be intended by a reference to "third party". For example, is it the shipper, is it the issuer, is it the signing party, or a combination of this data?
In order to bring some clarity to the use of such terms, third party documents acceptable is understood to mean that any document, except a draft, for which the documentary credit or the rules does not indicate an issuer (for a documentary credit it is very often the case that issuer's are not named for every document), may be issued by a named person or entity other than the beneficiary.
It is for an applicant and issuing bank to ensure that its documentary credit clearly indicates the names of issuers and the signing requirements for each document, where the rules do not provide such information.
In the context of a credit stating that third party documents are not allowed, ISBP 745, paragraph A19 (d) declares that the condition has no meaning and is to be disregarded.
In the context of a documentary credit, when its terms and conditions may provide multiple possibilities as to the ‘exporting country', ISBP 745, paragraph A19 (e) offers a definition whereby any one of the following will be acceptable:
the country from which shipment or dispatch is effected.
Nowhere in UCP 600 is there any reference to ‘shipping company', yet in a large number of documentary credits you will regularly see a documentary requirement such as "Shipping company certificate stating .......".
As the rules only refer to a carrier, master, owner, charterer or any of their respective agents, who would be the intended issuer or signing entity for such a document? Paragraph A19 (f) provides the answer.
It is advisable for an applicant, and in particular an issuing bank, to ensure that the appropriate entity is properly identified. This is particularly so for an issuing bank as, in most cases, the reference to a document issued by a 'shipping company' originates from a pre-printed requirement of its own documentary credit application form.
Documents acceptable as presented
A condition "documents acceptable as presented" or similar, should only be used with full recognition of its potential consequences.
On a literal reading, the wording would allow for any form of discrepancy and it can be argued that it could also include credit expired, credit overdrawn and the absence of any number of documents.
However, ISBP 745, paragraph A19 (g) provides a degree of limitation on the extent of its scope by defining the condition to allow a presentation consisting of only one or more of the stipulated documents, provided they are presented within the expiry date of the documentary credit and the drawing amount is within that which is available under the documentary credit.
A more detailed analysis of this ISBP 745 paragraph, together with specific examples, can be found at www.tradefinance.training