Many growing businesses quickly find that they need to deal with overseas suppliers, buyers, and contractors. Forward-looking business owners should consider taking advantage of expanding opportunities and resources in other countries. Different countries have different business laws, requirements, and regulations. It is important to have experienced legal counsel on your side to help handle international business in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Import/Export and Trade
Massachusetts is in the top 20% of U.S. states in terms of international export and import. There were more than 10,000 Massachusetts businesses selling products overseas in 2015. In 2018, total exports involving Massachusetts amounted to more than $27 billion with more than $35 billion in imports.
The top three trading partners with Massachusetts businesses are Canada, China, and Mexico. Some of the most common import and export goods include precision instruments, industrial machinery, electrical machinery, and pharmaceuticals.
With so much trade between Massachusetts businesses and foreign companies, many businesses that may not have focused on foreign trade and transactions may be able to expand their business operations, reduce costs, or increase sales by working with an experienced Massachusetts international business lawyer to do more business overseas.
Representing a Number of Massachusetts Industries in International Businesses Disputes
Many types of industries are expanding their reach beyond the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the U.S., and into Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, and across the world. Some of the most common industries in Massachusetts that are represented in international business transactions include:
- Industrial machinery,
- Electrical machinery,
- Commercial fishing,
- Food processing, and
- Information technology.
From small businesses and start-ups to multinational corporations, experienced international business litigation counsel can help protect your interests and achieve your goals.
Massachusetts Companies Handling International Business
International business legal assistance can involve business litigation or international business transactions. This can involve a one-time contract negotiation, large mergers & acquisitions, or foreign governmental investigation. Areas of international business law services include international:
- Business and contract litigation
- Corporate litigation
- Real estate litigation
- Franchise litigation
- Business arbitration and mediation
- Commercial collections
For businesses expanding operations in other countries, including business investment, negotiating contracts with overseas vendors or clients, and navigating foreign business requirements, an experienced business litigator can help companies avoid future disputes or litigation.
For businesses with existing operations overseas, enforcing foreign judgments, litigating breaches of contract, or enforcing arbitration awards, an experienced business litigator will fight to get money damages, enforce performance, and protect your company's reputation.
Contracts, Agreements, and Breach of Contract Disputes
The most common issue in international business dealings is the familiar breach of contract claim. A breach of contract between international companies can be different than breach of contract claims in the U.S., where there may be different standards of performance and interpretation of the contract terms.
Like domestic contracts, parties can breach an agreement through nonpayment, supplying nonconforming goods, failing to provide goods or services in a timely manner, or by breaching a warranty. Remedies in a breach of contract claim with an international company may include:
- Money damages,
- Liquidated damages,
- Modifying or reforming the contract,
- Rescission, or
- Specific performance.
Ideally, an international contract will be negotiated with an experienced attorney who understands the most common breach of contract issues and will work to implement protections into the contract to avoid future litigation. However, disputes can always arise and your business can benefit from the experience of a business litigator who will protect your company and work towards a quick and satisfactory conclusion.
International Contracts and Choice of Law
International business litigation can be a unique challenge because there may be more than one legal authority involved. This is one reason that contract negotiation is so important in international business deals because it generally provides for choice of law, venue, and jurisdiction. Even international businesses often use boilerplate contracts that may not represent the best choice of law language for either business.
Businesses based in Massachusetts often use Massachusetts law as their choice of law and as the default venue. Other businesses may opt for other popular corporate choice of law states, including New York or Delaware. Talk to your international business lawyer about options for designating choice of law, jurisdiction, and venue in contracts.
International Contract Arbitration Clauses
Another common term of business contracts provides for a mandatory arbitration or mediation. If arbitration or mediation is not provided for in business contracts, then litigation is the next option, which may be more expensive for both parties. However, for some business deals, litigation may be necessary. Talk to your international business lawyer about arbitration clauses, whether they should be enforced, and how to reduce unnecessary litigation costs.
International Creditor Claims and Collections
Protecting your financial interests in overseas transactions requires active enforcement of your creditor claims. In creditor claims, collections, and bankruptcy, time is of the essence, especially when your financial interests are located in a different country.
Experienced International Business Litigation Attorney
The Katz Law Group, P.C. has nearly 40 years of business litigation experience in Marlborough, Framingham, Worcester, Massachusetts, New England, and across the world. If you have any questions about business litigation involving an overseas company or international business counseling, contact the Katz Law Group today.