- Russian Federation
- Arbitrazh Court of Trans-Baikal Territory
LONG-TERM CONTRACTS - SUPPLY CONTRACT - BETWEEN A RUSSIAN COMPANY AND A CHINESE COMPANY - UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES APPLIED AS MEANS FOR INTERPRETING DOMESTIC LAW (RUSSIAN LAW)
UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES APPLIED TOGETHER WITH ARTICLE 58(1) OF THE CISG
FREEDOM OF CONTRACT - REFERENCE TO ARTICLE 1.1. OF THE UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES
Claimant, a Russian company, had entered into contracts with a Chinese company for the supply of pumpkin seeds for industrial processing. When Respondent, a Russian Customs Authority, performed an inspection of Claimant's customs clearance documents, it held, among other things, that the terms of the supply contracts and invoices provided were incomplete because they did not determine the payment schedule and form for goods delivered. Thus, Respondent refused to accept the customs value declared by Claimant. Respondent then recalculated the customs value of the goods, claiming that Claimant understated it and consequently imposed on Claimant additional customs fees, which it had paid.
Claimant filed suit, requesting the Court to state that, notwistanding the discrepancies in the documentation provided, Respondent's assessment of the customs value of the goods was invalid.
The Court decided in favor of Claimant. Though acknowledging a certain discrepancy between the terms of the contract and the documents presented to the Customs Authority, it found the discrepancy irrelevant and in this respect referred, among others, to Article 1.1 of the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, on the freedom of contract, which states that the parties are free to enter into a contract and to determine its content, and to Article 58 (1) of the CISG, which states that if the buyer is not bound to pay the price at any other specific time, he must pay it when the seller places either the goods or documents controlling their disposition at the buyer's disposal in accordance with the contract and this Convention. The seller may make such payment a condition for handing over the goods or documents.
Considering the fact that the parties have developed a long-term ongoing business relationship, the Court found that it was not necessary to write out the payment schedule and form for each shipment of goods.
Original in Russian available at the bank of decisions of the Commercial Courts of the Russian Federation: http://ras.arbitr.ru/}}