A brief explanation on "Terms of Sale" for goods and services. Terms of sale define the obligations, risks, and costs of both the buyer and seller involving the delivery of goods that make up the export transaction. This information is part of the U.S. Commercial Service's "A Basic Guide to Exporting".
Last Published: 10/20/2016

In any sales agreement, it is important to have a common understanding of the delivery terms because confusion over their meaning may result in a lost sale or a loss on a sale. Terms of sale define the obligations, risks, and costs of both the buyer and seller involving the delivery of goods that make up the export transaction. The terms in international business transactions often sound similar to those used in domestic business, but they frequently have very different meanings. For this reason, the exporter must know and understand the terms before preparing a quotation or a pro forma invoice.

The most commonly applied terms of sale in the global marketplace are the international commercial terms, or Incoterms. A complete list of these important terms and their definitions is provided in Incoterms 2010, a booklet issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). To purchase the booklet, visit store.internationaltradebooks.org.




Terms of Sale