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Four things every international trade company needs to know

Article co-written & researched by Tyler Anthony

The legal side of international trade may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be. Chances are local law and regulations will be different than international ones so it’s important that you understand both if you want to confidently enter new markets and limit your risk of legal action. Here are four key factors of international law you should understand before you expand.

How international contracts work

International contracts expose you to more potential complications and setbacks than local ones. In addition to navigating language barriers, verbiage and laws can mean different things depending on the culture and environment. It is critical for contracts to be specific and inclusive of all regulations and clauses so that you can avoid unnecessary disputes or misunderstandings. Should a dispute arise within your business relationships, it is important that you have legal counsel in each market to ensure they properly handle dispute resolution.

When creating international contracts, always establish which law (local or international) applies to the contract to avoid confusion. If you are uncertain about any contract drafts, seek help from a legal professional to clarify things and explain the law of the market you are entering.

Defining terms for the sale of goods and services

When expanding into new markets, it is important that you ensure you have a competitive product or service to offer. As a company, you should have a contract that covers the sale of your goods or services to ensure that the buyer and seller agree on the terms of any transaction that takes place. These contracts should include information about the delivery, payment, conditions and procedures for the goods or services customers are receiving. It is beneficial to seek legal advice in advance to ensure contracts meet the necessary requirements of the market you’re selling to.

Managing international negotiations

Many business cultures are actually reversed from what we know in Western society. However, a near-constant in business relationships across the world is an interest in creating mutually beneficial arrangements and building networks. Many cultures consider relationships a critical part of any negotiation and you must be aware of the cultural expectations in order to make a good impression.

Understanding international standards

As an exporting business, you must meet and comply with all necessary standards to limit your risk of disrupting your operations. Consider using the Standards Council of Canada as a resource when you need information about industry-specific standards in a specific market.

Protecting your intellectual property

Just because your intellectual property (IP), such as trademarks, patents, copyrights, and industrial designs are properly registered in your current market, that doesn’t mean they will be valid in new ones.  To best protect your intellectual property, always make sure you’re aware of IP requirements in each market. To learn more about IP laws, contact an IP office in the destination of the market you plan to enter.

When in doubt, it’s always best to seek legal advice to protect yourself and your business. Get in touch with the Du Plooy Law legal team today to have all your questions answered. Our wide-reaching network of law firms around the world can benefit your international business.


Phone: 403.718.9877


Written by:

Claudius is an experienced commercial lawyer who specializes in acquisitions, financing, and securities law in relation to corporate commercial law.


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