Many businesses engage in export activity although they may not necessarily think of themselves as being exporters.
The location of your customers can raise specific legal issues. Our experienced commercial team is able to help guide businesses through the issues that can arise and provide the reassurance that businesses need in order to maximise their opportunities in overseas markets.
Businesses will need to identify a route to market. One of the easiest ways to access overseas markets is through a distributor or reseller. The distributor will have the local knowledge necessary to market and sell the products. By selling to an intermediary, you shift the risk of trading with the end-customer onto a third party. You can also allocate much of the risk of selling the products or services overseas to the third party intermediary. You can also use the distributor to provide after-sales service to purchases of your products or services. The drawback of this approach is that you are prevented by law from exercising too great a degree of control over the reseller (for example you cannot set a fixed or minimum price for the distributor to sell at.
If you wish to exercise more control over sales of your products you may wish to employ an agent. An agent will market the products on your behalf and will possibly even negotiate agreements with customers on your behalf. You will contract with the customer and will pay the agent a commission out of the revenue you receive from the customer.
When exporting, it is common to seek to apply English law to the contract. We would also seek to ensure that English courts will hear any litigation arising out of the contract. However you will remain subject to some mandatory laws of the state into which you are selling (for example import restrictions, consumer protection, competition law, rules on taxation). In order to fully understand your legal obligations you may wish to instruct a lawyer qualified in the country where your customer resides. We can manage this process for you using our network of contacts at overseas law firms, ensuring that you get the advice you need with the minimum of hassle.