Find out how the right legal documentation can save you from losing money overseas.
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If you are a business owner who plans to buy products from an overseas company, you'll want to get a legally-sound import agreement in place. Find out how this important document can protect your international commercial interests. Plus, where to find legal services online and templates you can download.
What is an import agreement?
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Essentially, an import agreement is a legally binding contract between a buyer and a seller who is based in a different country. It is an important document that protects the rights of both importer and exporter, while laying out the terms and conditions of the commercial transaction.
When should I use an import agreement?
When you import goods from another country to sell in your own country, an import agreement ensures that international trade laws are being met. If you are exporting goods for sale overseas, you will need to use the same agreement before you seal the deal.
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Import agreement vs Distribution agreement
These two documents, though different in name, serve the same purpose with one slight difference. An import agreement deals with the buying of goods overseas, whereas a distribution agreement can be used for international trade as well as domestic.
What does an import agreement include and not include?
An import agreement lays out in plain terms the responsibilities of both parties and details their contractual obligations. It lists the contact details of each party and contains a description of the goods being bought.
- Price and payment terms
- Tax and duties
Typically not included
- Quarantine and treatment papers.
How effective is an import agreement?
Without an import agreement, you could run into trouble if the goods being shipped get lost or damaged, or if payment is withheld or the duties aren’t paid and your shipment is rejected at customs. So, it is really important to have such an agreement in place to secure your commercial transaction.
Do I need to use a lawyer?
That's entirely up to you to decide. One approach to consider would be to use a legal document template to help you draw up your import agreement. You can then customise the document to suit the transaction in question, and then consult with a lawyer to make sure it's up to scratch and is legally-sound.
How do I write an import agreement?
You can find many legal websites online where you can generate your own legal document (see the table above). Some of these sites take you through an automated process to create your document, while others offer template downloads often for free. It can be a good way to familiarise yourself with the layout of the document and the necessary wording.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like an import agreement
- Sprintlaw. With an expert team of lawyers to help you with business needs, this website also houses an extensive library of legal documents and templates for download. Operates solely online and on a fixed-fee basis.
- LawDepot. This legal site gives you access to free sample documents and first-time downloads. When you sign up for a monthly subscription, you get unlimited access to legal documents and legal advice.
- Lawpath. A legal website that contains many legal articles about commercial law, as well as access to free legal template downloads. Exclusive offers and unlimited revisions available with your annual membership.
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