Export Knowhow

Regulatory and legal matters – things to consider

The careful coordination of your products and business projects with country-specific regulatory and legal regulations, norms and standards is one of the most important preparations for market entry. Even in groups of states such as the EU, where conditions have largely been harmonized, the various competent authorities can take different approaches. The exact requirements must therefore be reviewed for each country.

Image of a contract being signed

Tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade

In the age of GATT, WTO and numerous free trade agreements in Switzerland, tariff barriers such as customs duties no longer play the same role that they did in the past. Non-tariff trade barriers usually constitute a more significant hindrance to exports. This applies in particular to a country's regulatory, contractual and tax requirements for international trade in goods. Read more about typical trade barriers and how SMEs deal with it in this article.

Keeping track of industry-specific regulations

In addition to pharmaceuticals and medical technology, highly regulated sectors in most countries include the financial sector, the mechanical, electrical and metal industries as well as food and cosmetics. In some of these industries, the time and financial costs of each new market must be carefully calculated to meet local regulations and requirements.

Time-consuming permits and approvals – what’s the best route?

Business partners in foreign markets are generally only interested in serious discussions about cooperation when local approval is either available or foreseeable in the near future. This makes an agile prior scan of new markets in highly regulated sectors difficult. In such cases, an in-depth prior market evaluation, which takes regulatory and legal aspects into account, can be a worthwhile basis for a fundamental market entry decision.

Case- and country-specific differences – get support!

With commercial multinational contracts, Swiss entrepreneurs are sometimes faced with the question of whether Swiss or foreign law is applicable and enforceable. This question must be assessed on a case-by-case and country-by-country basis, especially as the legal systems of the countries in question can assess the same issue very differently. The drafting of a contract is not the beginning of discussions with business partners, but should clarify the legally relevant effects bindingly at the end, even across different legal systems. Legal assistance in the initial drafting and review of company-specific contracts to regulate multinational business cooperation generally makes sense.

Initial recommendations for action

  • Carefully drafted contracts are an important basis for clarifying responsibilities, common objectives and procedures across national borders. A Swiss contract with foreign partners is not always sensible and possible. An investment in a few hours of consultation from a suitable lawyer – depending on the local case in the target country – is well placed.
  • Obtain the necessary information on the need for marketing approval sufficiently early and begin the process on time – depending on the product, country and regulations, this can sometimes take more time than searching for a suitable business partner.

  • Seek the support of specialized service providers to check technical and legal conformity for document inspections, risk assessments, standards research and design services.

The following article is about the relevance that is given to the export business within companies. How do you go about resource and growth planning? Read about it here!

Would you like to get an overview of export entry? The “Export Compact” handbook shows you step by step which questions you should ask yourself during internationalization. To the “Export Compact” handbook

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