Cross-border e-commerce market is an ever-increasing sector! A growing amount of entrepreneurs and other businessmen buy and sell products and services cross-border. The increasing numbers of business among international parties present a lot of new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Intra country trade and cross-border revenue generation is on peak. If you are one among those who are planning to run your cross-border e-commerce business then keep reading!
Globalization is a fact
The world is becoming more internationally oriented. We thrive in an era of trade where companies abroad work together and, on top of that, the Internet is making everything faster and easier. E-commerce without boundaries has never been so easy. Do you have a well-established company in the United States or Europe? Have you already done extensive market research and want to open a branch abroad or expand your business online abroad? If so, the next couple of topics will be interesting for you!
International laws and regulations
Be aware that you will become an international entrepreneur with national laws and regulations of another, perhaps unknown country. In addition, European and international rules may apply. Running an international business is exciting, but it may also present a lot of difficulties. If this doesn’t scare you, does this mean you still want to pursue your dream of running an international business? Great! However, make sure to read experiences of your peers and perhaps bring in a specialist in international trade to bring you up to speed on important laws and regulations.
Consequences for your business
Cross-border E-commerce platform
Before you open a foreign office or expand abroad, it is wise to determine what the consequences for your company will be in the United States or Europe. For example, expanding abroad may have an impact on tax implications for your company. There is a difference between European countries in the European Union and countries outside the European Union. In addition, it is advised to determine whether it is best to maintain your current business structure or perhaps convert to a different structure. For such questions, you can contact the Chamber of Commerce or Tax Office in your country.
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Conduct research in your host country
The next step is to research laws and regulations that are relevant to your company when conducting business in another country. This includes conducting research on the business structure and what is possible and standard procedure in the host country. What fits with your business and your business goals? What kind of legal system is applicable in the country you want to open a new office? Is there a ‘common law’ legal system or a ‘civil law’? Contact the local Chamber of Commerce for business in that country and check out the website. Try to find entrepreneurs who have taken the steps before and ask for their experience. This is also a great way to get some insider tips & tricks.
Legal advice & contracts
Cross-border E-commerce growth
Now you have thoroughly investigated the legal pitfalls in the country where you want to expand your business. So what is next?
It is highly recommended to take necessary precautions in order to cover yourself and your business for legal risks you might run into when conducting cross-border business. For example, check if your contracts are applicable to the new legal situation – perhaps you have to create new contracts.
What do you have to do if a dispute arises with a foreign customer or partner, what kind of international trade relationship do you have? What (international) laws are applicable in case of a dispute? After all, international trading laws vary a lot and are very complex, different bilateral or multilateral trade agreements might occur. Is your country’s law applicable or are GATT/WTO agreements applicable? And what about arbitration? When is it wise to choose for arbitration? Or could you better appoint your home country court as a competent court? International private and trade law is very complex; read and understand all the aspects before beginning business ventures overseas.
Two major differences between international insurance exist: personal health insurance and business insurance. What if products are lost or damaged? Is your company insured for potential disasters or losses? Make sure to bring in an insurance consultant / advisor or contact your current insurance company for more information. Also, if your office is located abroad but you visit on a regular base, be sure to acquire an international health insurance plan. This often is an overlooked issue but equally important. What if something happens to you? Make sure to cover yourself for accidents or illness.
All in all, cross-border e-commerce business is an exciting opportunity with a lot of potential to grow your business. Don’t let this article scare you but rather inform you of possible dangers. Be smart and determined while running your business on an international scale!