UCP 600 is the latest version of the rules that govern letters of credit transactions worldwide. UCP 600 is prepared by International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Commission on Banking Technique and Practice. Its full name is 2007 Revision of Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, UCP 600, and (ICC Publication No. 600). The ICC Commission on Banking Technique and Practice approved UCP 600 on 25 October 2006. The rules have been effective since 1 July 2007.
UCP 500 was the rules that had been in implementation before UCP 600. There are several significant differences exist between UCP 600 and UCP 500. Some of these differences are as follows;
The number of articles reduced from 49 to 39 in UCP 600;
In order to reach a standard meaning of terms used in the rules and prevent unnecessary repetitions two new articles have been added to the UCP 600. These newly added articles are Article 2 “Definitions” and Article 3 “Interpretations”. These articles bring more clarity and precision in the rules;
A definitive description of negotiation as “purchase” of drafts of documents;
New provisions, which allow for the discounting of deferred payment credits;
The replacement of the phrase “reasonable time” for acceptance or refusal of documents by a maximum period of five banking days.
History of UCP
First uniform rules published by ICC in 1933. Revised versions were issued in 1951, 1962, 1974, 1983 and 1993.
1933 – Uniform Customs and Practice for Commercial Documentary Credits
1951 Revision - Uniform Customs and Practice for Commercial Documentary Credits
1962 Revision - Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits
1974 Revision – Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits
1983 Revision – Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits
1993 Revision – Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits
Currently majority of letters of credit issued everyday is subject to latest version of the UCP. This widely acceptance is the key sign that shows the importance of the UCP, which are the most successful private rules for trade ever developed.
Almost all of the presentations are being made in paper or traditional format still in today's letters of credit environment. However, as telecommunication technology is expanding its borders, it is highly expected that in the very near future traditional processes will be substituted with the electronic paperless transactions. In order to establish set of rules that governs electronic presentations the ICC Banking Commission established a Working Group consisting of experts in the UCP, electronic trade, legal issues and related industries, such as transport, to prepare the appropriate rules for electronic and mixed presentations. Supplement to the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits for Electronic Presentation or "eUCP" is the result of the efforts of this committee.
The eUCP is not a revision of the UCP. The UCP will continue to provide the industry with rules for paper letters of credit for many years. The eUCP is a supplement to the UCP that, when used in conjunction with the UCP, will provide the necessary rules for the presentation of the electronic equivalents of paper documents under letters of credit.