International Trade Terms and Conditions

International Trade Terms and Conditions


Many businesses decide to expand by providing their goods or services in foreign countries. In other cases, products may be designed in order to be targeted to certain overseas demographics. Tapping into the international market can be a lucrative exercise but also comes with various challenges, such as applying a relevant jurisdiction for your terms and conditions and ensuring that an effective agreement is reached which satisfies buyer, seller and anyone in between.

Communication is key

It’s even more crucial to have a properly written set of terms and conditions when it comes to doing business overseas. There is more potential for miscommunication due to language barriers so getting everything drawn up and written down at the beginning can ensure that both parties are fully aware of their obligations right from the start and means that disputes can be avoided or more easily resolved should they arise further down the line. If you need to have a legal document translated, ensure this is undertaken by a well qualified expert and preferably checked by a notary.

Agency agreements and jurisdiction

If you decide to work with an international partner, such as a sales or distribution agent in the country to which you are exporting your products, it’s important that you have agreed to terms which protect your business interests. You should also ensure, where possible, that any terms are governed by a specific legal jurisdiction. For example, if you’re based in England or Wales, it may be best to have any disputes resolved by courts in England and Wales rather than in a foreign jurisdiction where legal rules are different and could cause you even more complications.

What are Incoterms rules?

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which has hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 180 countries, is responsible for setting voluntary rules of international business. It publishes updated International Commercial Terms (Incoterms rules), a series of pre-defined commercial terms that are widely used in international commercial transactions or procurement processes. They are primarily designed to clearly communicate the tasks, costs, and risks associated with the transportation and delivery of goods.

If you’re doing business abroad, make sure you have a set of Terms and Conditions of Export. These can be downloaded from our Business Documents Folder. Click below to find out more about how these Ts and Cs can help the legal relationship between buyer and seller. You may also want to take a look at our folder on Agency, Distribution and Franchise Agreements.
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