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8.1 Legal Contract Considerations
Exporters will need to be become familiar with the US business laws to gain a basic understanding of legal contract considerations. The US Constitution defines the broad powers and constitutional laws which exist at federal and state levels. While statutes of ordinances are legislation passed at federal, state and local levels; Common Law is a concept of precedence and applies mostly at a state level. Commercial law encompasses a broad number of commercial fields including consumer credit, contracts, debtor and creditor, negotiable instrument, sales and secured transactions. The Uniform Commercial Code facilitates and governs areas of commercial law and has been adopted as statutory law in almost all states. Exporters should to be aware that each state has their own particular version of the Uniform Commercial Code.
Since business litigation is very common in the US it is important that both parties have a mutual understanding of the terms of the contract to avoid any disputes. Differing business standards and legal systems are major barriers to overcome when forming a contract and qualified legal counsel legal counsel should be obtained. Speciality food providers should be sure to clearly stipulate the specifications, quantity, price, discounts, dates, conditions, payment, INCOTERMS, return policy and shipping details. In response to the fact that there is no global approach to the negotiation of contracts, the International Trade Centre has documented a number of "model contracts" developed by the International Chamber of Commerce. Some of these "model contracts" are presented below and can also be found at: http://www.jurisint.org/en/con/index.html. Exporters should be aware that litigation in the US can be very expensive and dispute resolution (mediation and arbitration) services are available in the US through the American Arbitration Association www.adr.org.
(i) Export Sales Contract
Name and addresses of the parties. State clearly and fully the parties to the contract.
- Documents for export and subsequent import of goods.
- Documents for the buyer to take delivery of the goods.
- Documents relating to payment.
- Special documents required by the nature of the goods, and conditions of sale (e.g., certain engineering goods may involve documents relating to construction, repair and maintenance).
Common export documents include the bill of exchange; commercial invoice and other invoices; bill of lading or airway bill; insurance policy; and letter of credit.
Source: International Trade Centre: http://www.tradeforum.or/news/fullstory.php/aid/166/Export_Contracts.html
(ii) Joint Venture Contract
The International TradeCentre has documented comprehensive model Joint Venture Contracts which can befound at:
A shorter sample is provided below and can be found at:http://www.jurisint.org/doc/orig/con/en/2002/2002jiconen4/2002jiconen4.pdf.
A model Joint Venture Contract is presented below:
This understanding is hereby made this day of [date] between:
[Company A] [address]
[Company B] [address]1. That the above named two Company shall promote a joint venture company to assemble/manufacture *products+ in *company A’s country+.