• Force majeure


    Partial performance, non-performance or delayed performance of a contract can be justified only as a result of unforeseeable and insurmountable occurrences, but only if these arise after the conclusion of the contract and before the expiry of the performance period allowed by the contract. And furthermore only if the seller informs the buyer as soon as the impediment arises, provides evidence and keeps the buyer fully informed of developments. In other words, make sure your buyer knows what you know yourself. Under ECF contracts a successful plea of force majeure can extend the performance time limit by up to a maximum of 45 calendar days, after which the contract lapses. Disputes have to be settled by arbitration.

    GCA follows the same principle but does not specify any extension. It also states that in no case shall the seller be excused by any such causes intervening before arrival of the affected portion of the coffee at the point of embarkation of the original shipment. Thus, delays within producing countries do not constitute force majeure. Disputes dealing with force majeure will by nature be technical and as such are subject to a one-year filing time limit (See 07.12.01).

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