Choosing A Great Business Attorney

6 International Trade Law Issues Every Company Should Understand

International trade law is a topic as diverse as the participants in the global business community. That can make it a tricky issue to navigate, and it's wise to retain the services of an international trade attorney if your enterprise has any import or export interests. You'll want to be familiar with the legalities involved in these six common legal problems in the international trade arena.


Many forms of international trade require appropriate licenses at both ends of the transaction. That generally means that importers will need to be licensed to receive goods in the destination country or able to work with a company that is. The exporter will face similar licensing issues at the opposite end of the deal.


Taxation of goods when they arrive in port is another issue that everyone has to address. You'll need to know what the costs of tariffs are, which products they apply to, and who payments should be remitted to.


Although it's easy to understand measures meant to prevent the person-to-person spread of diseases, it's also important to pay attention to quarantines involving products. It's very common for livestock and plants to be held up upon arrival in ports to make sure they're not transmitting diseases. Many products, especially foods and woods, are also regulated to prevent the spread of diseases and insects. You'll want to have a solid idea of what rules apply to everything you're moving into or out of the country.

Arms Control

This might seem like a simple concept, especially if you're not dealing with guns and ammunition, but it can be more complex. Many forms of electronics are subject to export controls because they can be used to upgrade weapons systems. Even some kinds of software are subject to controls for the same reason.

Money Laundering Regulations

Moving certain items in and out of the country also can be highly regulated due to fears about money laundering. For example, the gold trade out of Latin America has been tied to money laundering and the drug trade. It's important to have an international trade attorney help you with the paperwork necessary to provide the provenance for almost anything that might be used for laundering.

Anticompetitive Practices

Numerous traded items are subject to rules meant to limit or encourage competition. For example, steel dumping is tightly regulated to protect American manufacturers. If importing steel, a company should be prepared to prove that the materials didn't originate from a country known for dumping.