Learning, Knowing, and Living Incoterms (Or, How Fast Times at Ridgemont High Can Help Your Export Strategy)

In a prior post, I revealed that I am a child of the 1980s.  This post will start with a quote from the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High: “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

While the context of that quote was the Brad Hamilton character (Judge Reinhold) trying to get the Jeff Spicoli character (Sean Penn) to wear a shirt and shoes in a fast-food establishment, this post will focus on the terms of trade and that Irish/Northern Irish companies need to learn, know, and live: Incoterms. This is probably the first time, anywhere, that Incoterms and Fast Times at Ridgemont High have been linked, but I digress.

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You’re Not Doing Business in the US…Unless You Are

I spoke recently with the owner of an Irish company that sells its products online to purchasers in the US and other countries. The US isn’t a true focus of this company’s expansion efforts, but the US market is a nice added benefit to the company’s revenue stream. They don’t have a US-specific website, but if you go to their order page you can enter a US address for delivery. In discussing their sales efforts, I asked what the company does in terms of US-focused terms/conditions of sale and related agreements. Nothing, I was told, because the company isn’t ‘doing business’ in the United States. In a limited way, that answer is correct. But, that answer also is wrong, and dangerously so. Continue reading

NDAs and You: Perfect Together

I’m about to betray that I made questionable music choices in the 1980s–but the song most relevant to this post is “Voices Carry” by the band ‘Til Tuesday. If those voices include your company’s confidential or sensitive information, your company will suffer competitive harm.  That’s why I recommend that non-US companies expanding into the US get familiar with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), also known as confidentiality agreements. Continue reading