CCPIT issued the country's first force majeure certificate of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP) to an auto parts manufacturer in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province on February 2. The certificate can help enterprises minimize liability for contracts that can't be fulfilled due to the epidemic and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests.
It is reported that the company is a supplier of steering gear housings for the African factory of Peugeot, a French company. The manufacturer was unable to deliver products to its overseas clients on time due to the outbreak. If legal certificates of the reasons of failing to fulfill the contract is not provided in time, the enterprise would not only bear direct losses of RMB 2.4 million for breaching the contract, but also may recover the loss of around RMB 30 million for causing two weeks of production line shutdown of the other party, and suffer reputation damage as well.
The enterprise applied for the force majeure certificate on CCPIT online certification platform and provided relevant materials on February 1. They received the document on February 2 after going through online submission and audit. Force majeure certificate is a fact proof act in the field of commercial proof, which means that CCPIT and its authorized sub-councils shall, at the application of the applicant, prove the force majeure facts. The documents can partially or completely absolve parties of liability for non-performance, defective performance and late performance of contracts.
Yan Yun, Deputy Director-General of CCPIT Commercial Certification Center said that force majeure certificates have been recognized by governments, customs, chambers of commerce and enterprises in more than 200 countries and regions around the world, and it is widely accepted overseas. In order to help enterprises respond more effectively to the consequences brought by the epidemic and provide more convenient services, CCPIT has updated the certification platform (http://www.rzccpit.com/) since January 26, adding the online application of force majeure certificates function. In addition, nearly a thousand enterprises have consulted CCPIT online about force majeure certificates.
According to international trade practices and CCPIT Constitution, CCPIT can offer force majeure certificates. Enterprises affected by the 2019-nCoV outbreak that are unable to fulfill on time or unable to fulfill international trade contracts can apply for force majeure certificates so as to minimize their losses.