The Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) is a set of rules on the issuance and use of letters of credit. The UCP is utilized by bankers and commercial parties in more than 175 countries in trade finance. Some 11-15% of international trade utilizes letters of credit, totaling over a trillion dollars (US) each year.
Historically, the commercial parties, particularly banks, have developed the techniques and methods for handling letters of credit in international trade finance. This practice has been standardized by the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) by publishing the UCP in 1933 and subsequently updating it throughout the years. The ICC has developed and moulded the UCP by regular revisions, the current version being the UCP600. The result is the most successful international attempt at unifying rules ever, as the UCP has substantially universal effect. The latest revision was approved by the Banking Commission of the ICC at its meeting in Paris on 25 October 2006. This latest version, called the UCP600, formally commenced on 1 July 2007.
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