The emergency caused by the COVID-19 epidemic is having a clear impact on the execution of ongoing domestic and international contracts.
Companies have been and are still under an urgent need to understand, for example, whether and to what extent any breach or delay in fulfilling their contractual obligations could be considered justified by the circumstances and by possible Government restrictions imposed on them as a result of the pandemic; by way of contrast, they need to know whether the "force majeure" possibly invoked by their counterparts could justify a suspension of performance or the unilateral imposition of new deadlines or cancellation of purchase orders by them.
We have published in our last newsletter a first article on coronavirus, mentioning the ICC force majeure clause.
In the meantime, the ICC Force Majeure and Hardship Clause (version of March 2020) has been published. You will find in this newsletter a further explanatory article on such clause, wrote by Fabio Bortolotti, who chaired the ICC Working Group which has drafted the clause.
Also, the further articles of this newsletter will be focused on coronavirus topics.
In addition, in order to better support all companies and lawyers involved in international distribution, IDI is currently drafting a Q&A Paper, dealing with the most frequently asked questions concerning the impact of COVID-19 on distribution/supply, franchising and agency contracts. The Q&A Paper will include the answers provided by all IDI Country Experts and therefore will cover about 60 countries and will be circulated on April 30, 2020.
Last but not least, we would like to remind you how the contents provided by the IDI website can be useful for the daily practice of those of you involved in creating and managing distribution and franchise networks around the world. In order to see an example of use of the website, you can look at our new explanatory video on the IDI youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWkDJceQ4nsAN7xCqz9o0kg
Silvia Bortolotti, Co-founder and Secretary General of IDI