Navigating International Trade Law
This is the final installment of globalEDGE's series on global entreprenuership, in celebration of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The Impact of Globalization
With the rise of transportation and communications technology, globalization has come and dramatically shifted previously stagnant notions of comparative advantage. In the past, local producers could count on being the most efficient option, because the costs of storing and transporting goods made any long distance selling unfeasible. Now, markets are restructuring because of technological advances, and nations have put in place various restrictions and regulations - for better or worse. Regardless of your opinion on government regulation of markets, legal barriers to trade are a reality facing today's business leaders, and knowing how to successfully navigate the complex web of legal issues related to trade is essential to any successful business endeavor.
Legal Complexities and Large Corporations
Traditionally, large corporations have had the upper-hand in dealing with legal issues, because the law is so complex and it is often hard to find good information. Additionally, large corporations can afford legal teams that can help them understand the law so finding the most efficient supply chain practices becomes a lot easier. The largest corporations can even afford to lobby and shape public policy.
The Balance of Power is Shifting
Despite all this, the same technological advances that gave rise to globalization also work in the favor of small businesses. The internet makes it easier than ever before to find good information about legal barriers to trade and good advice. You don't need a legal team anymore to understand trade law, the advantages large corporations used to enjoy are now disappearing.
Even though the internet has the potential to work strongly in your favor, you can't harness the power of it unless you know where to go to obtain good legal information. Fortunately, globalEDGE has plenty of resources on international trade law that could help guide you through the process.
globalEDGE Modules on Trade Law:
Legal History of International Business - The Legal History of International Business module is set up to help one gain a better understanding of the definition of law and the bases of jurisdiction, sources of international law and how international law can conflict with domestic law, sovereign immunity and acts of state, and national treatment and most favored nation status. This module will be able to help those looking to launch their products and services internationally by laying out some of the political and legal aspects of doing business in multinational markets.
Legal Framework of International Business - The Legal Framework of International Business module can help one better understand the laws of governance of the sea and air, and how such rules and regulations can impact international business as well as advertising laws throughout much of the world. This module will be able to help those looking to launch their products and services internationally by laying out some of the political and legal aspects of doing business in multinational markets. A case study on the U.S. Passenger Services Act is also available.
Legal Systems of the World - The Legal Systems of the World module contains sections on the legal systems of the United States, Japan, and the European Union. After completing this module, one should have a general understanding of the following topics: the constitutional framework of the United States and where foreign affairs power resides in the different branches of government; understanding the deference U.S. Courts give the executive branch on foreign affairs issues; outlining the jurisdiction of the court of international trade; the structure of the Japanese government and the hierarchy of laws in Japan; and Romano-Germanic law and the European Union's legal system.
Tariffs, Quotas, and Non-Tariff Barriers - The Tariffs, Quotas, and Non-tariff Barriers module outlines the following components: the basics behind tariffs and quotas, including under what circumstances the WTO/GATT prohibits tariffs and quotas; the various types of non-tariff barriers that countries use to restrict imports; how the GATT has impacted the creation of non-tariff barriers; different types of subsidies; countervailing duties; the purpose and importance of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule; the basics of U.S. customs law; and the methods used by customs to determine an imported good's value when assessing tariffs. Also included is a case study on the recent disagreement between the U.S. and the EU over bananas.
General Resources about Trade Law
The Law of International Trade: A Business Overview - Produced by Warner Norcross & Judd LPP, this globalEDGE exclusive provides a thorough yet concise synopsis of major issues related to international trade law. Subjects covered include: Exporting, Importing, Contracts for the Sale or Purchase of Goods, Joint Ventures and Direct Investment, and a special section entitled "Traps for the Unwary." This is a must read for all business persons!
Juris International - Juris International is a project lead by the International Trade Centre (ITC-UNCTAD/WTO). The site is accessible in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. It features a vast collection of international legal instruments, model contracts, contract drafting guidelines, a listing of dispute resolution centers, and much more.
Lex Mercatoria: International Trade and Commercial Law Monitor - A great source for legal information on international trade and commercial law. The information is categorized into topics. Some sample topics include: tax and financial regulation, commercial arbitration, carriage transport and maritime law, environmental law, intellectual property, and electronic commerce.