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In-house lawyers to face jump in exports?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 13/03/14

General counsel may need to brush up on how to deal with exports to foreign countries as UK companies increasingly rely on sending their goods and services abroad, according to a new study from the National Business Awards.

Of course, overseas trade is part of England's rich historic tapestry along with, um, subjugating other nations in the unfortunate position of having fewer guns and ships than them, piracy, the lash, the BBC and sexual repression.

But the modern world has brought about a host of changes (the navy isn't allowed to use the lash any more, although most of those other traditions are still going strong), and in-house lawyers need to take steps to ensure their company is well-prepared to engage in business exporting.

The Business without Barriers study carried out as part of the National Business Awards found that 80 per cent of chief executives feel exports are vital to the country's ongoing economic success, reports the Telegraph.

Dame Helen Alexander, National Business Awards chair of judges and the first female president of the CBI, said: "During the recession I think we've seen some fantastic examples of organisations that have thrived and continued to grow, despite the tough economic backdrop.

"I think businesses have learnt from this and the years ahead will bring exciting and innovative strategies."

Recently, George Osborne was put under pressure to push through reforms to the UK's export finance system in the upcoming budget, with concerns that the country is too reliant on domestic trade, reports the Financial Times.

Christopher David, a senior associate with WilmerHale, warned last year that in-house lawyers need to be alert to the challenges of export trade.

"Both export control and sanctions are a potential minefield for British companies and institutions. This minefield is present both in relation to risk exposure on behalf of the company, but also in terms of client relationships," he explained.