Considerations in International Sales
Selling products or services abroad is exciting; billions of people live outside the United States. It’s a vast new market with seemingly endless potential. But sales abroad are not always as easy as they seem.
Some goods, by their nature, cannot be sold abroad. And there are some people abroad to whom US persons cannot legally sell.
Many transactions are perfectly fine to conduct. But a variety of rules still apply. Planning is often worthwhile.
One of the first things to consider is where a company ends up if something goes wrong. A company selling abroad may want to consider which country’s law will apply and where a claim will be litigated. It is also worth considering in advance whether litigating a breach of contract would even be worth it if the company is likely to end up in front of a foreign judge. All these factors play into the value of the deal.
Companies will also often want to consider the CISG or Convention on the International Sale of Goods, which provides uniform law for international contracts for the sale of goods. Relying on the CISG may not always be the optimal solution. And several countries are not signatories to the Convention, which means it may not apply in those countries.
Compliance can be crucial as well. It is often well worth being familiar with the FCPA or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when doing business abroad. It is also important to make certain that a company is not doing business with someone with whom they are banned from doing business with by sanction or other means.
A little forethought can often save a world of trouble down the line.