Important laws to know as a international company

international law

International laws govern trade between world nations and companies trading on the international market must comply or risk perishing! Some of the key international laws to watch out for are:

Intellectual property

Companies with a global presence need to protect their products and processes under a patent, trademark or copyright and the World Intellectual Property Organisation oversees this process. Some treaties guarantee automatic copyright protection for companies who are members of the World Trade Organisation.

Global ethics

International laws prevent violations of human rights and/or condoning human rights abuses. Companies flouting these laws can get into very hot water and lose customers rapidly. Organisations such as the United Nations have international human rights standards, namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights requiring global participation.

Customs requirements

International companies must abide by national and international customs requirements for licensing, quotas and tariffs, familiarising themselves with these regulations, especially when exporting and importing goods. International customs transactions can be costly and time-consuming, particularly where there are high tariffs, export-import quotas to meet as well as quality regulations.

World Trade Organisation regulations

The World Trade Organisation oversees international trade’s carried out between trading nations. For example, governments can take action against companies exporting products at a lower price than in their country of origin.

Labour standards

Most countries have national labour laws in tandem with the International Labour Organisation’s standards , ensuring humane and equal working conditions are provided. Nations that have ratified the International Labour Organisation treaty can use the standards to make decisions in areas where national law’s insufficient. Different countries may also enforce their own labour laws for employment contracts, wages, working hours, membership of unions and visa requirements.

UK Trade and Investment’s the official Government body that works with UK businesses who want to expand into the international market, providing practical advice, market research and sometimes funding.