International Trade: Terms, Transport and Payment
You might decide to tap into an overseas market as a result of expansion or a purposeful attempt to market your product to a certain international demographic but it comes with various challenges.
Before reaching a deal with a customer (or agent or distributor) in any particular overseas location, you should do some research to find out if there are any barriers to your trading with that customer, agent or distributor. For help with exporting, see the UK Government's website on exporting here and the interactive tools on the Dept for International Trade's website here.
You should decide whether to sell in a particular territory directly to any overseas customers or instead appoint an agent or distributor to find and deal with customers for you in that territory. Sometimes it might be better to test the water first by appointing an agent or distributor rather than trying to market and sell direct into the territory concerned since an agent or distributor will have local knowledge and expertise in selling into that territory that can help you.
Whether you deal direct with customers or you appoint an agent or distributor, you need to protect your business interests as you do so. Language barriers and cultural differences can give rise to misunderstandings, and so it is vital that both parties (i.e you and either your customer, agent or distributor) are clear as to your respective obligations by formally agreeing a specific set of suitable terms of sale to your overseas customer (or terms of the agency/distributor appointment) at the outset.
Ensuring safe passage of goods to their overseas destination can be tricky. See guidance under Transporting Goods for Overseas Trade below.
Once you’ve managed to work out how to get your products safely transported to the relevant international location and agreed on terms of trade you’ll need to consider payment issues. See guidance under Payment and International Trade below.
Click on the relevant links below for further information.