International Trade

Our specialist teams advise on export credit guarantees, finance and licensing, international IP rights, contracts and procurement, tax and insurance considerations, cross border litigation and dispute resolution.

Trading overseas can involve a myriad of legal intricacies and regulations. We help ambitious organisations forge a path free of issues and focus on what they are good at.

Export licences
Many products fall into the definition of a ‘dual-use’ item, where the product may not appear to have a military application, but can be adapted to build weapons or is otherwise subject to export controls. Items as diverse as software, ball bearings, chemicals and metals are included on the export control lists. It is a criminal offence to trade in such goods without a licence. We can advise whether a licence is required and whether the destination country is subject to any embargoes or sanctions, as part of your standard export procedure.

Bribery and Corruption
The UK Bribery Act is one of the most stringent pieces of legislation across the world concerning the eradication of corruption. British businesses can be held liable for acts committed outside of the EU, including acts which have not actually been committed by its own employees (‘connected persons’ such as agents can incur liability if a business has not proactively implemented policies and procedures to prevent occurrences of bribery and/or corruption). In addition to the Bribery Act, the USA also has in place legislation which provides for the prosecution of non-US citizens for acts committed whilst in the jurisdiction, or businesses with formal ties to the USA. We can ensure that you have the necessary procedures in place, to avoid the risk of incurring liability under the Bribery Act when trading overseas.

How can we help you?

Intellectual Property Rights
If your intellectual property rights are registered only within the UK, you may only enforce your rights within the UK. If you plan to enter into new markets, due consideration should be given to the protection and enforcement of your rights within each particular country. The government may actively promote countries such as Brazil, India, China and Russia as emerging and high growth markets, however enforcement of your intellectual property rights within the ‘BRIC’ countries can be a difficult task and may require the adoption of an alternative strategy in comparison to the UK market. We can ensure that you are properly protected.

Local procurement laws
Within the EU, member states are required to implement two EU Directives which set out the legal framework for public procurement. In the event that a governmental body has a requirement to purchase certain goods or services above the stipulated threshold, that body must follow the procedure set out in the legislation (e.g. to advertise on OJEU and to follow the rules governing publication of the award of contract etc). Given the amount of defence and security items purchased by governmental bodies worldwide, businesses in this sector need to investigate whether any local procurement laws apply in the destination country. A failure to follow any specific procurement legislation may result in the procurement being withdrawn and/or damages being awarded to an aggrieved party. We can ensure that your process is compliant.

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