After hearing many experiences of smaller businesses trading internationally, the Institute of Export & International Trade realised that an increasing number have been acting without a contract and no payment terms agreed.
Given English contract law has a tendency to take businesses straight to a dispute rather than including options for mediation and arbitration, this is damaging our exporters' international relationships. A proper set of international T&Cs can give exporters alternative routes to dispute resolution, saving them significant legal costs and time.
In line with the government's export strategy, the Institute has consulted its members and partners, and realised the solution was to provide international T&C templates. As such, the Institute is delighted to launch four new international T&C templates, which cover the basic premises of trading overseas. This allows businesses to export confidently, safe in the knowledge that they have a legal framework specific to their international needs, including clauses relating to anti-bribery and anti-slavery laws.
Lesley Batchelor, director general of the Institute of Export & International Trade, said:
We understand that we can't change the culture of business overnight, but I believe that by offering template International T&Cs for SMEs, relevant to the different styles of business they operate in, we can begin to protect them from some of the risks of international trade, enabling them to export successfully and securely"
John Mahon, director general for Exports of the Department for International Trade, said:
"A crucial part of exporting is having the legal frameworks in place that allow businesses to trade confidently. I'm delighted that the Institute of Export & International Trade has launched these templates as part of a package of solutions on offer to help businesses export.
"I urge all UK companies that are currently selling overseas without proper contracts in place to take a look at these templates and implement the right one for them. Through our export strategy, DIT has set out an offer for all businesses to ensure they are able to make the most of the global opportunities this presents."
Elizabeth Ward, principal of Virtuoso Legal, who worked on the templates with the Institute, said:
"A finely considered set of T&Cs allows a business to determine from the outset of any agreement exactly how business between the parties is going to be conducted. They provide clarity on: the agreed processes for getting paid, where liability lies, and what happens when disagreements arise.
"These templates are a great start for businesses, helping to give them a basis upon which they can export confidently."
Covering four types of export
The international T&C templates will be available to members of the Institute of Export & International Trade. They will cover four uses:
● Distance (non-online) consumer goods services and digital content terms and conditions
● Online business and consumer goods services
● Terms and conditions for the supply of goods
● Terms and conditions for the supply of services
Each of the templates also include Anti-Slavery and Bribery Act clauses, allowing businesses to trade with peace of mind.
Helping exporters to trade compliantly and confidently
The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has for over 80 years been the professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade in the UK.
Through qualifications and training the IOE&IT has driven the export skills agenda in the UK and is the country's leading authority for best practice and competence in trade.
Members of the Institute get access to a wealth of information and support - including its technical helpline, online daily bulletins, a programme of networking events, free copies of the quarterly journal World Trade Matters, and now access to international T&C templates.
There are range of membership packages available to meet the needs of the whole export community, ranging from small business to corporate levels.