Committee for International Co-operation Between Cotton Associations

Why Should the Sanctity of Contracts be Important?

For most, the spot purchase of raw cotton is not an option and forward trading is the only way of conducting business. Whilst forward trading has advantages it also carries risks. These risks can be calculated and contained by sound commercial judgements. However, if circumstances change after a contract has been agreed and those who feel that they can do better elsewhere are permitted, simply, to change their minds and ignore their legal obligations then the entire international trading system will fail. Everyone would suffer and forward trading as we know it could not exist.

The international cotton associations seek to minimise the risk inherent in forward trading.

The trading rules and international forms of contract issued by CICCA Member Associations lay down unambiguous frameworks which enable fair and equitable trading. The arbitration procedures provide for the settlement of disputes.

It is a cardinal principle that if a contract cannot, for any reason whatsoever, be fulfilled then it should not be cancelled by the unilateral decision of either party. All concerned must reach an amicable settlement or else seek arbitration.

Contracts and the Law

Contracts are legally binding agreements freely entered into by two or more parties. Without initial common consent there can be no contract.

Each CICCA Member Association has a different form of contract together with a unique set of underlying rules. Both must comply with the law of the country in which that particular association is located. Each association also has its own established arbitration procedures which must, likewise, conform with its national law. Generally, but not necessarily, both the trading rules and the arbitration procedure of a single association will apply to any specific agreement for the purchase and sale of cotton.

All parties to a contract have rights and obligations. It makes sense to understand what these are before a deal is agreed. Rights and obligations will vary depending on the law of the country and the rules of the association under which the contract is made. The law upon which the association's bylaws and rules are based will apply in the event of a dispute, not the law of the country in which the contract is signed or the law of the country in which the contracting parties are based.