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Understanding laws proves critical for companies expanding overseas

Specially trained supervisors can train and monitor other employees to ensure full compliance with the company's practices and international law.

There are a plethora of ways to conduct business activity of an international flavour, and as such there are a myriad number of important customs, helpful best-practices and most vitally laws – both foreign and domestic — to adhere to when selling, buying, investing or partnering with companies or agents overseas and beyond the border.

The following article will be a short introduction on the appropriate level of due-diligence that decision-makers at companies engaging in international business should practice to avoid the negative effects of upset shareholders, bad publicity, and hostile, intrusive and costly government investigations. An inquiry that eventually clears a company, or any of its employees, of any wrongdoing, can nonetheless be hugely costly due to the above factors.

Read on for a variety of tips and considerations to keep in mind if you’re a decision-maker at a company that conducts international trade currently or an international expansion of some of your operations is in the offing.

Companies conducting cross-border business which haven’t updated their organization-wide best-practices and procedures, or are embarking on expanding into international trade opportunities for the first time, are well advised to find a highly reputable and reliable source of legal aid and counsel, particularly from a firm that specializes in business litigation law.

In fact, some firms, such as Bremer Whyte attorney law firm, can provide high-quality legal assistance to ensure that business runs smoothly while your business expands. Their team of attorneys will then become a dependable resource that you could call upon as needed as you navigate the tricky waters of critical contract review, analysis, negotiation, and more. Bremer Whyte’s business department is highly experienced in corporate transaction and business litigation. If you have any legal questions about your company’s expansion, schedule a consult with their firm today.

Two types of laws cover international trade. The first, for example antitrust, economic espionage and employment laws, apply both domestically and internationally. Americans are probably fairly familiar with these laws, but foreign-born employees, company representatives or partners may need extra training or instruction to become similarly well versed in these laws.

The second category of laws applies only to international dealings. An example of this is the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). This law is very important and somewhat tricky. It sets serious penalties for any company or their employees, consultants, joint venture partners or even recently acquired subsidiaries who bribe or tries to unduly influence any foreign or international organization official.

These are just a few of the laws that make it of utmost importance for a company undertaking international trade to be proactive in setting up broad compliance standards and procedures for every employee. The following will offer a few of the best-practices to achieve this.

Companies should begin by establishing and effectively communicating via several channels and materials their code of conduct that puts down into writing a given company’s general policy as determined by their goals, values and overall mission. This basic document should be then distributed to all a company’s employees, and their business partners and even consultants.

To supplement this, many companies also opt to give those employees, company representatives or business partners who could be in a position to violate the code of conduct or international trading law a pamphlet or handbook to further reinforce the company’s standards and expectations of compliance. Some information to include here is advice on when to seek out a supervisor, in-house legal staff, or compliance personnel if suspicions of violations arise.

Another good practice is to prepare a comprehensive reference manual for employees and supervisors who have the task of training and monitoring other employees to ensure full compliance with the company’s practices and international law.

It is not unusual for a company undertaking international business operations to establish standards and best-practices that are actually in many ways more stringent than what the law strictly calls for. In this way, an extra buffer zone is established to minimize as much as possible the possibility of any violations.

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