What do you trade:

Select either the goods or services option and we will provide you with our tailored guides. Our trade guides
are designed to inform you about international trade in ways that are simple and clear for new traders.


Goods are the tangible products that your business produces and may sell for profit. Examples include products that you can purchase from a store, market, online shop, or any other retailer.

I trade goods


Services are amenities or benefits provided by your business to your consumers. They can only be delivered at a particular moment. For example postal services, banking, insurance, etc.

I trade services

1What should I know for trading services?

  1. Can I trade my service internationally?

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      Services Trade

      What Should I Know Before Exporting My Service?   Several trends, including digital innovations, have resulted in the rapid growth in the export of services. Service exports are defined as any service provided by a person or business in one customs territory delivered to or provided to people or businesses from another customs territory. Increasingly, companies are looking for new markets for their services, including international markets.   How can services be exported?    There are four different ways, or ‘modes of supply,’ for exporting services, as defined in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) in the General Agreement on Trade in Services GATS. These are:   Cross-border supply (Mode 1): When your company is based in one country and supplies services to a customer in a different country. For example, an architect in country A sends building plans to a developer in country B.   Consumption abroad (Mode 2): When your company supplies a service to a foreign customer who is present in your country. For example, this includes hotel or restaurant services supplied to foreign visitors.   Commercial presence (Mode 3): When your company establishes a commercial presence in a foreign market, such as opening a subsidiary, branch, or representative office, to provide services to local consumers. This is the case, for instance, of a foreign supermarket serving customers in the local market.   Presence of natural persons (Mode 4): When you, as an independent service supplier, or an employee of your company, are present in a foreign country temporarily to supply a service to local customers. For example, an IT specialist is abroad to develop a new piece of software for a foreign client.   What are the key practical steps for exporting services? Decide if your service is ready for export: Is your service already successful in your domestic market? Does your company have the capacity to offer this service in export markets? Does it have sufficient staff, time, financial and legal resources? Is your company’s management committed to expanding into export markets? Does your company have a comprehensive financial/marketing/business plan with clearly defined goals in support of exporting? Does your company have a concrete strategy for how to export the service? For example, you can export your service directly to your buyer in your target market, such as another company or a consumer. Or you could export via e-commerce platforms? Is your intellectual property protected in export markets? Does your company have the capacity and expertise to adapt its service according to cultural preferences or different standards in export markets? Find target markets and customers: Trade agencies, chambers of commerce, and other business support organizations may offer online information tools and networking events for finding target markets and customers as well general exporting information. Check for any benefits from regional trade agreements: Services exports may be subject to preferential market access under regional trade agreements (see Trade4MSMEs guide on trade agreements) the Trade4MSME guide on trade agreements provides more information. Meet the conditions in target markets: Depending on which mode of supply you rely on to trade, which market you are targeting, and which service you are exporting, you may face various requirements and restrictions in the target market. These can include: Mode 1 (cross-border) service suppliers may need to obtain licenses and/or authorizations, comply with local presence requirements, and/or face nationality requirements. Mode 2 (consumption abroad) exports of services would generally not entail meeting additional conditions beyond those required to supply services domestically. Mode 3 (commercial presence) service suppliers may need to acquire licenses and/or authorizations, be required to establish as a specific type of legal entity, and/or be confronted with foreign equity caps or discriminatory procedures. Mode 4 (presence of natural persons) services exports often require securing business visas, having diplomas recognized, or acquiring specific qualifications. These exports may also have to contend with quotas or labor market tests.   Links to Supporting Information    WTO World Trade Organization  WTO | Services –  The GATS: objectives, coverage and disciplines   European Commission  Guide for export of services | Access2Markets (europa.eu)  Steps to take to export a service.   International Trade Centre ITC  ecomConnect Connects entrepreneurs, organisations and industry experts to share e-commerce solutions and access free learning resources.   Trade4MSMEs Guide Trade Agreements   United Nations  TRADE IN SERVICES AN ANSWER BOOK | Shop.un.org : Official Source for United Nations Books and More   The Institute of Export and International Trade Export essentials: getting started selling services overseas – The Institute of Export and International Trade

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      Export Readiness Assessment Guide

      Is my business export ready?  One of the first questions to consider is why Export? What are the benefits? Research shows companies that export are more profitable, more productive and more innovative than those that do not. Research has shown that businesses are 11% more likely to survive if they export. The reasons for this range from spreading export risk amongst different country markets, to increasing turnover and improving innovation by developing specific services for specific overseas markets. Increased Sales – If you are selling well in your own home market, and your service is in demand, exporting is a way to develop new additional sales in other countries. If your services are in demand at home, then there is likely to be significant demand in foreign markets. Higher profits result from increased sales – If you can cover fixed costs through domestic operations or other types of financing, your export profits can grow very quickly. Economies of scale – You can benefit from the cost savings when you produce and sell more services. The benefits from the economies of scale can be very advantageous. Global competitiveness – The experience your company gains internationally will help keep you competitive in both your home market and in the global marketplace. Domestic competitiveness – Successful exporting companies are often more resilient to potential foreign competition. Reduced risk – If you can sell into several different countries, you are spreading the risk. If you diversify into international markets, you avoid depending on a single marketplace and suffering from any domestic instability. New knowledge & experience leads to innovation – The global marketplace abounds with new ideas, approaches and marketing techniques that could also prove successful in your home market. Adaptations to your service for example leads to new innovations and new service development. Trading internationally not only helps with all of the above, in addition trading globally can boost your company’s profile, reputation and credibility.   Is my business export ready?  We live in an increasingly interconnected world, which means that businesses of all sizes might receive enquiries from buyers in other countries. An export-ready business is one that has the capacity, resources and management to deliver a marketable service on a global scale at a competitive price. To determine if your business is ready to export internationally you can do your own export readiness assessment.   Here is a check list of areas to consider Set clear and achievable export objectives. Develop an Export Plan. Understand your service USPs (unique selling points) in export markets. Formulate a realistic idea of what exporting entails and create a timetable for results. Understand what is required to succeed in the international marketplace. Confirm you have staff in place with the knowledge and skills to trade internationally or are willing to learn Is finance in place to help scale up for export? Undertake market research and decided on the best international target markets. These could be neighbour countries who are part of a trading bloc or developed countries with large populations and large purchasing power. Understand international marketing requirements. Research your competitors – both international competitors but also competitors based in the country which you want to export to. Considered any adaptations that may be required. Understand any cultural and language needs. Research your market entry strategy how, and to whom you will sell to in the export markets: Direct sales to a business or consumer / Intermediary representatives / licensing / foreign direct Investment through establishing a company in your target export market Understand destination country regulations, export and import documentation, customs requirements and procedures. You can also use export readiness assessment tools. A typical export readiness assessment will involve answering questions to determine a final score. This score is then used to help guide businesses through the necessary steps to become fully export ready. See the links for more information.   Links to Supporting Information The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service           Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting(tradecommissioner.gc.ca)   Official Website of the International Trade Administration USA   Exporter Assessments (trade.gov)   Government of Canada Export quiz  Are you ready? (international.gc.ca)   Caribbean Export Development Agency  10 Steps to Exporting | Caribbean Export (carib-export.com)   Kenya Export Promotion & Branding Agency  BrandKE – Guide to Exporting  

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      Export Potential Guide

      What is export potential and why is it important for my business?  Export potential refers to the likelihood that a company’s service can be successfully sold abroad. Businesses usually identify the export potential of their services by analyzing: customer profiles. service modifications. transportation, shipping, and logistics. local representation in overseas markets. exporting services. business development capacities.   Additional information like the export market’s economic outlook and current trade conditions may also be useful. Analysing these areas enables businesses to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their targeted overseas markets and to determine whether and why an export has the potential to succeed abroad. How do I determine my business’ export potential?  There are two practical ways to assess the export potential of companies’ services in overseas markets. If you are already selling successfully in your domestic market, look for an overseas market with similar characteristics. Assess the unique features that make your service different from those found abroad and therefore desirable in a foreign market. How do I select my target markets? Online trade statistics are a useful tool, as they provide an overview of markets in target countries. They can show if target countries are already importing the services that your company is intending to export. They also indicate supply levels in target countries. One resource for identifying target markets is the European Commission’s Guide for export of services, (see links to supporting information).   How do I find potential buyers?  The next step after identifying a target market is to find and connect with potential trade partners and business contacts. For example: Trade fairs are a great place to find business partners, as this is where companies from across the world can meet to explore business opportunities, find potential markets, and use contacts or word of mouth. Events hosted by business support organizations for domestic companies, with the aim of helping local companies explore export opportunities, is another option.   There are also an increasing number of online platforms that connect buyers and sellers. In addition to well-known global marketplaces like Clickworker, Amazon Mechanical Turk or Appen, a simple internet search is another way to identify specialized online marketplaces (see the Trad4MSMEs guide on selling abroad online).   Links to Supporting Information United States International Trade Administration’s (U.S. ITA)  How to Analyze a Product or Service’s Export Potential   The Government of Canada’s Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting  Getting started: assessing your export potential   The U.S. ITA export guide for small businesses Guide_To_Exporting   The European Commission’s Guide for export of services.  Guide for export of services | Access2Markets   The U.S. ITA guide on how to find buyers and partners.  Find Buyers and Partners   Trade4MSMEs guide Selling Abroad Online   IMF (International Monetary Fund) World Economic Outlook  World Economic Outlook   Google’s Market Finder training Find Global Business Opportunities – Market Finder by Google    & (110) Discover International Growth Opportunities with Market Finder by Google – YouTube

  2. Is there a trade agreement or preference scheme in place between my country and my potential destination market?

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      Trade Agreements Guide

      What is a regional trade agreement?    A regional trade agreement (RTA) is a treaty or contractual agreement that two or more governments sign to grant each other preferential market access and set rules to govern their trade relations. Through trade agreements, governments agree on a range of obligations. These can include improved market opportunities for services and may also include processes and regulations for trade in services and investment, among other commitments.   The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)   The creation of the GATS was one of the landmark achievements of the World Trade Organization WTO. It includes the following key concepts: MFN (Most Favored Nation) treatment: Under Article II of the GATS, WTO (World Trade Organization) Members are held to extend immediately and unconditionally to services or services suppliers of all other members “treatment no less favourable than that accorded to like services and services suppliers of any other country” Transparency: WTO Members are required to publish all measures and respond to other member countries requests for information, through national enquiry points. Market access: Commitment from members to negotiate on access to markets. There may be some limitations and Article XVI(2) has details. National treatment:  WTO Members are not allowed to discriminate in favor of their indigenous services or suppliers.   The GATS agreement was structured to encourage and increase the participation of developing countries in services trade. The GATS does allow a waiver to allow preferential treatment for exporters of services from least-developed countries (LDCs). How can trade agreements affect my business?    Trade in services: Businesses can benefit from preferential market access terms for supplying their services in the markets where a RTA is in force. Intellectual property protection and enforcement: Trade agreements increasingly include detailed chapters on intellectual property protection and enforcement. For more information, see theTrade4MSME guide on Intellectual Property. Investment: A RTA can provide favorable circumstances enabling companies to set up a commercial business presence in a foreign market.  Investment rules in RTAs (Regional Trade Agreements) or international investment agreements (IIAs) can in some cases protect foreign investments in host countries. More information on international investment policy can be found at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) various tools can help assess the benefits of RTAs and IIAs. What are the different types of RTAs?    RTAs are signed on a bilateral (an agreement between two governments) or regional basis (agreements with more than two governments). Governments signing these agreements benefit in terms of preferential market access. They also often contain rules that aim to facilitate trade in services. How do I know if my service benefits from preferential treatment under an RTA?    The World Trade Organization (WTO) website has more information on regional trade agreements. Trade agencies, industry associations, and chambers of commerce may also have information on how you can benefit from regional trade agreements. Links to Supporting Information   WTO  WTO | Services –  The GATS: objectives, coverage and disciplines  Trade in services.   WTO   directdoc Directory of country contact points for trade in services.   Trade4MSME guide Intellectual Property Considerations   UNCTAD  Home | UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub Investment information   UNCTAD  International Investment Agreements Navigator | UNCTAD Investment Policy Hub information on IIAs   WTO WTO | Regional Trade Agreements – scope of RTAs  Information on regional trade agreements RTAs   WTO  WTO | Regional trade agreements    Regional Trade Agreement Database   WTO (16) WTO Database on RTAs Tutorial series – Main functionalities – – YouTube  Tutorial on how to use the RTA database   I-TIP (Integrated Trade Intelligence Portal) Services World Trade Organization and the World Bank. WTO | I-TIP Services    A set of linked databases that provides information on provisions for trade in services within regional trade agreements (RTA).   IOE&IT Export essentials: how to make the most of preferential tariffs – The Institute of Export and International Trade

  3. How can I protect my intellectual property rights?

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      Intellectual Property Considerations – for Businesses

      What is intellectual property (IP) and what are IP rights?    IP refers to creations of the mind and includes inventive products or processes, designs, distinctive signs, and creative works. IP may be generated by investments in research and development and activities aimed at differentiating products by improving product quality, reducing production costs, and/or delivering greater value to customers. IP rights are generally private rights granted by governments to individuals, businesses, or associations to exclude others from using a protected work without the owner’s permission for a limited period, subject to exceptions, limitations, and exclusions.   IP rights are granted and enforced at the domestic level and valid only in the jurisdiction in which they have been registered or otherwise acquired. See the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Guide to the TRIPS Agreement for an introduction to this crucial multilateral treaty on IP, which is otherwise known as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. You can also visit the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) website and the International Trade Centre (ITC) and WIPO’s guidebook on Secrets of Intellectual Property: A guide for small and medium-sized exporters for more information.   What are the different types of IP rights?    IP assets can be grouped into two main categories: Copyright and related rights: Copyright refers to the rights of authors in their literary and artistic works, including books, music, films, computer programs, and advertisements. Related rights include the rights of performers over their performances, producers over their “fixations” (recordings) of performances, and broadcasting organizations over their broadcasts. Copyright and related rights seek to encourage and reward creative work. See WIPO’s Understanding Copyright and Related Rights for more information. Industrial property: Industrial property, discussed in greater detail in WIPO’s Understanding Industrial Property, can be subdivided into two fields.   The first of these fields involves: Distinctive signs and geographical indications, which inform consumers, prevent consumer deception, and help to ensure fair competition among producers. Within that category, there are a series of sub-categories: Trademarks: These are any sign or combination of signs, including words, letters, numerals, figurative elements, and color combinations, capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one undertaking from another. These signs and sign combinations are protected as trademarks. Geographical indications (GIs): A GI is a sign that identifies a good, and in some jurisdictions a service, as originating in a place where a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its origin. Most geographical indications are associated with agricultural products e.g., “Champagne” for a white sparkling wine from a region in France, “Tequila” for a spirit drink from a certain region of Mexico, or “Darjeeling” for a tea from a certain region of India.   The second of these fields involves: Patents, industrial designs, trade secrets, and other types of industrial property, with an aim to stimulate innovation and enable the transfer and dissemination of technology and associated know-how. Within that category, there are a series of sub-categories: Patents: Patents protect inventions, along with new solutions to a technical problem in the form of a product or process. Various technologies found in smartphones, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and self-driving cars are patented in certain jurisdictions. Industrial designs: New and independently created ornamental or non-functional aspects of an article, such as its shape, patterns, lines, or colors, may be protected as an industrial design. Businesses create industrial designs to customize products, develop new market segments, and strengthen brands. Household products, textiles, toys, and cars often incorporate industrial designs. Trade secrets: Information that is secret has commercial value because it is secret and has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret may be legally protected as a trade secret. Also known as “undisclosed information,” manufacturing processes, algorithms, customer lists, and formulas for producing products may constitute trade secrets. Why does IP matter for my business to trade?    Domestic IP laws and regulations have implications for the following: product development, design, and delivery. marketing, exporting, licensing, and franchising. pricing; and businesses’ ability to raise financial resources and attract foreign investors and partners.   Identifying the various types of IP that your business develops, which IP rights to protect and enforce, and in which jurisdictions are important steps when considering foreign markets. Researching which IP rights are already protected for other businesses in your field of activity in a target market is equally critical to avoid infringement.   As IP rights are protected and enforced at the domestic level, exporting goods and services often entails navigating through IP laws and procedures that apply in each target market to assess whether export licenses are needed, and which trademarks are appropriate for the markets considered. As engaging in trade expands the marketplace for your business, understanding and protecting your IP rights in relation to your competitors enables you to take advantage of market value, hold transparent negotiations with business partners, and avoid costs from IP infringement.   For more information on why IP rights matter for exporters, refer to WIPO Training of Trainers presentation.   Where can I learn more?    The domestic and/or regional IP office for either your area or that of your target market may offer useful resources and services.   The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) offers several useful tools including: WIPO IP Diagnostics: This free, online diagnostic tool can help you assess your business’ IP. The diagnostic contains several sections with questions on the types of IP that your business may have. At the end, this diagnostic provides a report with suggestions on how you can enhance the competitiveness of your business. The Inventor Assistance Program (IAP): This program supports inventors in developing countries in filing patent applications by matching developing country inventors and small businesses with limited financial means with pro bono patent attorneys.   Links to Supporting Information   WTO Guide on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights  Guide to the TRIPS Agreement   WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization’s website   WIPO guidebook on Secrets of Intellectual Property: A guide for small and medium-sized exporters   WIPO Understanding Copyright and Related Rights   WIPO Understanding Industrial Property   Trade4MSMEs guide  Ways to Resolve an IP Dispute   WIPO training of trainers   WIPO Directory of Intellectual Property Offices   WIPO WIPO IP Diagnostics   WIPO Inventor Assistance Program (IAP)  

  4. Who should I talk to if I have a problem or question about the conditions of services supply?

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      Services Contact Points

      What are services contact points?   The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) requires WTO Members, set up contact points who can make it easier for services suppliers from developing countries to obtain the information they need. The information provided by these contact points concerns commercial and technical aspects of the supply of services in the domestic market; registration, recognition, and obtaining of professional qualifications; and the availability of services technology. Where can I find other resources on this?    Services conditions are often specific to a particular location and industry. Places to start when looking for more information on exporting your service include professional associations for your business, local chambers of commerce, or government trade bodies both domestically and in your target market.   Links to Supporting Information   WTO contact points   WTO directory of contact points for trade in services directdoc.aspx (wto.org)  

2What is trade Finance and how can I access it?

  1. What are the different types of trade finance options?

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      Trade Finance Introduction – for Businesses

      What is trade finance and why may I need it?    There are many definitions of trade finance, varying by organization and purpose. Trade finance includes the financial instruments and products used by companies to finance international trade, importing and exporting. Trade finance covers a wide range of financial products and can help companies increase the volume of transactions they make, help them satisfy large contracts, scale and grow internationally. (See Trade Finance Global’s  Trade Finance Explained.)   Many firms do not have the necessary working capital to self-finance exports where payment might only be received after the goods arrive at the purchaser, or to pay up-front for imported goods that are being shipped from abroad. Because of the time between purchase and delivery and the many possibilities for disruption that can occur due to transportation mishaps, purchaser demand, or economic and political events, international trade has many risks that can be alleviated through trade finance.   Trade finance and Incoterms are highly related. Incoterms is an abbreviation for “International Commercial Terms.” Issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and globally recognized, Incoterms define the obligations between buyers and sellers. (See the Trade4MSMEs Guide on Incoterms).   What are the different types of trade finance arrangements directly between buyer and seller?   Trade Credit: This is the least expensive arrangement for the buyer (importer). Normally, the buyer has to pay for the product within a set timeframe after shipment is complete, often ranging between one to three months. This can leave the seller (exporter) with a high level of risk of non-payment. The seller often takes out insurance in case the buyer fails to comply.   Cash Advances: This involves the payment of unsecured funds to the exporting business before the goods are shipped. Like trade credit, it is often based on trust, however, cash advances take the risk from the seller (exporter) and place it on the buyer (importer), as the seller receives payment immediately. Risks can include shipping delays or non-delivery. What are other types of trade finance and methods of payment?   By using different types of financing, like letters of credit and receivable finance, suppliers can not only reduce their risk for non-payment but can also receive early payment for their invoices and other documents, thereby decreasing the risk of supply disruptions and increasing working capital.   Letter of credit (LC): These are contractual commitments issued by banks or specialist trade finance institutions. An LC guarantees that the seller will be paid on behalf of the buyer if the terms specified in the LC are fully met. Letters of Credit are created to protect both exporters and importers.   Bank payment obligation (BPO): This is similar to a letter of credit and requires a bank to pay if appropriate documents, in this case digital, are presented. BPO is an irrevocable undertaking given by one bank to another that payment will be made on a specified date after successful electronic matching of data according to industry-wide rules set by the International Chamber of Commerce Banking Commission (ICC)   Documentary collection:   Documentary collection is an exchange between banks, where the seller/exporter requests payment by presenting its export documentation, including shipping and collection documents to their remitting bank. These documents are presented to the buyer/importer’s bank and the exporter’s bank will be credited by the importers. Unlike a letter of credit, no payment guarantee is made, no document verification is made, and no credit or country risks are assumed by the bank. Payment is solely based on the available funds of the buyer.   Bill of exchange or promissory note: These are documents between two transacting parties that confirm a financial transaction has been agreed.   Open account transactions: These are arrangements for buyers to pay sellers within a certain amount of time (typically 30-90 days), with no additional formalities. This type of payment is very beneficial to buyers but leaves sellers with more risk. Supply chain finance: is a cash flow solution that businesses can adopt to help free up working capital stuck in global supply chains (see the Trade4MSMEs guide on supply chain finance).   Other forms of financing: There are other types of financing tools that firms can also consider for trade, including equity finance, leasing, asset-backed finance, or even fintech like crowdfunding or peer-to-peer financing.   Term loans: These are also a longer-term financing option permitting the borrowing of a determined amount for a specific period of time from a bank or other financial institutions. They come with a specified repayment schedule and fixed or floating interest rate payments. What type of trade finance is right for me?    It is important to understand the costs and benefits of using trade finance to help you decide if it would be a good option for your business. You may have the cash to enable a transaction without additional finance, but It’s worth considering if the additional assurances and guarantees that trade finance provides could help you free up working capital for other business development and expansion. Links to Supporting Information    Trade Finance Global’s  Trade Finance Explained, a guide for MSME importers and Exporters. This guide is co-authored by Trade Finance Global, the ITC, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), the British Exporters Association (BExA), the Forum of Private Business (FPB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).   International Trade Centre’s (ITC) How to Access Trade Finance  information on types of trade finance and how to access it.   International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy’s What is Export Finance  Guide Export Finance   Trade Finance Global  Methods of payment in trade finance | TFG 2023 Guide (tradefinanceglobal.com) and  Letters of Credit (LCs) – TFG 2023 Ultimate Guide & Free Video (tradefinanceglobal.com)   UNECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Bank payment obligation – Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide on Bank Payment Obligation   International Chamber of Commerce  ICC-Guidelines-for-the-Creation-of-BPO-Customer-Agreements   Trade Finance Global Documentary Collections (DCs) | Trade Finance Global [UPDATED 2023]   Trade4MSMEs guide  Trade Insurance   Trade4MSMEs guide Incoterms   Trade4MSMEs guide Supply Chain Finance   The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) How to Access Trade Finance guide, written for small exporters to understand how to access trade finance.   The ITC SME Trade Academy  ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Export Finance and Payments training course on Export Finance and Payments   The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) offers a trade finance online training and certificate.   The Global Trade Helpdesk can also suggest potential trade finance providers

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      Supply Chain Finance

      What is Supply Chain Finance (SCF)?    Supply Chain Finance SCF is a cash flow solution that businesses can adopt to help free up working capital stuck in global supply chains. It is a wider category of trade financing, encompassing all the financing opportunities across a supply chain.   What are SCF products?    SCF has two main categories of various products for buyers and sellers to receive finance:   Receivable purchase SCF: This is when a finance provider purchases the amount you owe to another business, called a receivable, at a slight discount so that you have immediate access to working capital and your debt burden is not affected. The amount is taken off your balance sheet, which can increase your borrowing capacity. These types of products include receivables discounting, forfaiting, factoring, and payables finance (reverse factoring).   Receivables discounting is when a financial institution purchases receivables from a seller of goods or services, such as unpaid invoices, at a slight discount. At the receivable’s maturity, the buyer listed on the receivable pays the financial institution directly, rather than the originator of the invoice (receivable).   Forfaiting is when medium- to long-term payments for foreign accounts receivable (such as letters of credit or promissory notes) are sold at a discounted price for immediate payment. The importer/buyer then pays the financial institution directly upon the receivable’s maturity. Forfaiting only applies to international transactions.   Factoring refers to when accounts receivable documents, such as invoices, post-dated checks, or bills of exchange are sold to a financial institution at a discounted price for immediate payment(see the Trade4MSMEs guide on Trade Documents). Information on other trade documents for export can be seen in the Trade4MSME guide on Trade Documents for Exports. Upon sale, the financial institution also becomes responsible for managing the debtor portfolio and collecting the receivable. As previously, the buyer pays the financial institution directly when the debt is mature.   Payables Finance (reverse factoring) refers to early payments to suppliers by a financial institution both based on the buyer’s creditworthiness and at the buyer’s initiation, not on the seller/supplier’s credit grade or request. The buyer then pays the financial institution directly at the debt’s maturity or due date.   Loan-based SCF: Is where the receivable stays on your balance sheet and is used as collateral to access finance. These products include loan/advance against receivables, distributor finance, loan/advance against inventory, and pre-shipment finance.   Loan/advance against receivables is when financing is made available based on current or future receivables and is usually, but not always, secured with those same receivables. At its maturity, the seller of the receivable accessing the finance repays the financial institution.   Distributor finance is when a large manufacturer or other financial institution provides finance to cover the costs of distributors between the time, they receive goods and the time they sell them to consumers. This finance is usually through direct loans. At maturity, the distributor repays the manufacturer or financial institution directly.   Loan/advance against inventory is a loan to a participant in a supply chain for holding or warehousing inventory. Generally, the loan is issued against that same inventory and the proceeds of sales are used for repayment.   Pre-shipment finance is credit made available to a seller to finance the preparation and shipment of goods to a buyer, generally requiring a purchase order from an anchor firm. The financial institution issuing the finance usually requires a percentage of the value of the order as an advance and disburses the loan in stages as the order is fulfilled. At maturity, the seller repays the financial institution.   SCF techniques are more likely to be used in open account transactions when the two parties know each other and have done business previously. SCF may also be referred to as supplier finance, payables finance, or reverse factoring.   How can I access SCF and what are the benefits?    SCF is offered by banks, funding providers, and alternative lenders, including FinTechs. Some of the benefits your business could gain include: Improved working capital efficiency Less expensive sources of financing Payment security / reduction of late payment Mitigation of default risk Improved relationships with your anchor company Expanded sales, which can enable more growth Off-balance sheet financing   Links to Supporting Information    International Finance Corporation  Supply Chain Finance Knowledge Guide(ifc.org). In-depth guides on SCF are available from the International Finance Corporation   Trade Finance Global Supply Chain Finance | 2023 Guide | Trade Finance Global   Trade4MSME Guide  Trade Documents for Exports   World Bank Group:  International Finance Corporation  World Bank Document comprehensive guide to Supply Chain Finance by Development Banks and Public Entities   SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) Finance Forum:   An in-depth presentation on SCF. The recorded course is available here Supply Chain Finance Training Series – IFC & SME Finance Forum on Vimeo

  2. Who can help me finance my trade activities?

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      Trade Finance Providers

      What kind of trade finance lending do I need?    Small businesses and new exporters can often find it difficult to access credit and finance, there are however lots of different resources MSMEs (Micro and Small Medium Enterprises) can explore.   Who are the Trade Finance Lenders?    There are several types of trade finance lenders to consider. Below are brief descriptions of some of the most common: Corporate and Commercial Banks: These banks can provide a range of trade credit options to businesses, including accepting letters of credit or bills of exchange, or facilitating documentary collection (see Trade4MSMEs guide on Trade Finance). Corporate banks typically service very large transactions, whereas commercial banks are more accessible to smaller traders. Alternative Finance Providers: These are non-bank lenders. These can include private investment, crowd-funding options, or other fintech that allows users to access financial services other than through a traditional bank. Alternative, or non-bank, finance can sometimes be more accessible to smaller traders because they do not face the same regulations as traditional banks, which can make traditional banks unwilling to spend the resources required to enable smaller transactions. Alternative finance providers based on new technologies may also be able to look at different types of collateral, which can open new areas of funding for businesses including Supply Chain Finance (SCF) (see Trade4MSMEs guide on Supply Chain Finance). Development Finance Institutions (DFIs): These provide trade finance help to businesses to promote economic development. They might be funded by national governments and tend to be country or region-specific. DFIs usually operate as joint ventures in emerging markets and can provide insurance and guarantees against political and socio-economic risk to encourage investment. Like commercial banks, they may also provide standby letters of credit, invoice discounting facilities, and project finance from mid-term to long-term projects. Although DFIs may have an overall objective of increasing small business finance, they often do not lend directly to businesses. Export Credit Agencies (ECAs): This financing is used to assist exporters through loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. The transactions supported by ECAs are capital intensive, such as machinery for large-scale projects. They have long-term financing maturities with attractive conditions, as they are usually provided through government financing facilities. ECAs may have minimum requirements, such as the size of a transaction, which could exclude certain smaller traders.   What do I need to access this finance?    Lenders have different requirements and criteria to access their financing options based on the level of risk, interest rate, and repayment conditions. If you are interested in accessing trade finance, first understand your financial needs and then reach out to your targeted lenders.   Links to Supporting Information    International Trade Centre (ITC) How to Access Trade Finance A guide for small exporters.   Trade4MSMEs guide  Trade Finance Introduction   Trade4MSMEs guide Supply Chain Finance   United Nations OHCHR | Development finance institutions   OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Development finance institutions and private sector development – OECD   The ITC’s SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) Trade Academy  Export Finance and Payments Course  Online training course   Trade Finance Global  Trade Finance Explained, an SME Guide for Importers and Exporters, is a publication co-authored by Trade Finance Global, the ITC, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), the British Exporters Association (BExA), the Forum of Private Business (FPB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

  3. What do I need to know about exchange rates to make an international transaction?

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      Exchange rates

3How can I make the best use of digital tools to trade?

  1. How can I benefit from e-commerce?

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      Selling Abroad Online

      Why might I want to sell online?    Selling online offers a competitive edge to small businesses seeking to expand into new markets. It is often a lower cost, lower risk business model for small businesses starting out in international trade. Retail e-commerce sales worldwide have seen a rapid increase in recent years. E-commerce can be a quick and effective way to attract more customers. By selling online, it is possible for you to reach a new global customer base with lower overhead than if sales were only made through physical stores.   How can I sell online?    From online marketplaces and platforms to social media and e-commerce websites, there are a wide range of digital sales options in addition to traditional or physical stores. Some of the most common ways to sell online are listed below.   Marketplaces: These could be general or specialized by market sector (for example textiles, or electronics). General marketplaces are suitable to sell products or services with mass appeal when branding is not a business priority. In contrast, specialized marketplaces enable businesses to position their brands, find market niches, and offer customized value propositions to clients. Listing websites: These are useful for MSMEs with business models that focus on buying and re-selling common items. They are also appealing for businesses that sell by offering competitive prices or promoting additional features of goods and services advertised on the web. Social media: Social media platforms enable businesses to create customized webpages linked to online e-commerce sites and marketplaces with mass reach. Your own online webshop: Building and maintaining your own online shop can be effective, you can engage a commercial company /website builder to do this for you. This is the quickest, easiest route to creating a sleek, professional online presence for your ecommerce business. Many companies also offer competitively priced template sites that you customize. Or, if you have the knowledge and skill, you can code your own.    What should I consider before selling online?    A starting point is to plan a sound e-commerce sales strategy and get customer feedback on products and services. Either through social media or direct contact channels, you can reach out directly to potential customers to understand their needs and find target markets domestically and/or internationally. Understanding your customer base can help you customize products and services and identify market entry options. Other things to consider include payment methods, as well as the shipping and returns policies that may be best suited for your customers. These may vary depending on the market. You should also research market access requirements that may affect your products and services(see the Trade4MSMEs guides on services export potential and services contact points)Services Contact Points have more information. Many businesses can benefit from online communities and training courses about online sales methods and e-commerce strategies.   Links to Supporting Information   WTO (World Trade Organization) regional initiatives on e-commerce  WTO | Electronic commerce   UNCTAD Global E-Commerce Jumps to $26.7 Trillion, Covid-19 Boosts Online Retail Sales | UNCTAD   Statista  Global retail e-commerce sales 2026 | Statista   International Trade Centre (ITC)  ecomConnect:   ecomConnect | E-commerce Community Engagement Platform for Everyone   Is an e-commerce online community   Trade4MSME Guide  Export Potential Guide   Trade4MSME guide Services Contact Points   ITC Online training courses  ITC SME Trade Academy – Catalogue (intracen.org)   ITC ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to E-commerce (intracen.org)   ITC ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Using Virtual Marketplaces for your E-commerce Initiative (intracen.org)   ITC ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Creating Quality E-commerce Content (intracen.org)   ITC ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of E-Commerce for your B2B Business (intracen.org)   Google Free Online Marketing & Career Courses – Google Digital Garage – Google Digital Garage (learndigital.withgoogle.com)   Google Skillshop tutorials on using Google Ads Google Ads : Google (exceedlms.com) and Get a business online – Google Digital Garage (learndigital.withgoogle.com)   PayPal How to Sell Internationally | PayPal US

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      Assessing E-Commerce Readiness

      How can an e-commerce readiness assessment support my business?    Selling online has advantages over selling in traditional shops and stores. Businesses can reach customers worldwide and enter new markets quickly and easily. Geography no longer creates the same physical barriers to trade. It is always best to check that you have everything in place before you start. An E-commerce readiness assessment can help you evaluate what stage you are at.   What is an e-commerce readiness assessment?    An E-commerce readiness assessment is the starting point to help any businesses understand what is needed to design an online sales strategy. An e-commerce readiness assessment is a tool that evaluates the capabilities needed to set up and run a successful online business. It will help you evaluate strengths, as well as identifying areas that need improving. It shows that by investing in market research, online payment systems, developing good fulfillment and logistics, and creating great customer service experiences, will help build a more successful business.   What is the structure of an e-commerce readiness assessment?    The International Trade Centre ITC has developed a quick and easy short quiz to check your businesses readiness to start online sales. It will look at the following five sections: E-commerce planning: This involves getting you to think about your product and services value proposition, ask yourself why customers should buy your products. It gets you to think about your ideal target customers.  Confirm if your products or services comply with regulations in your target markets. Online presence: This involves identifying whether you are going to run your own e-commerce website, or if you will list products and services in marketplaces. Digital marketing: This involves looking at the extent to which businesses use digital marketing to promote their online sales and monitor digital goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). Shipping and inventory: This involves checking that your inventory, fulfillment and shipping options meet the expectations of your customers. Confirming that you can manage the customs import duties, taxes and other charges needed is essential. Customer service: This involves understanding what good customer service is and that your business is supplying the right information about products and services. Coupled with the ability to communicate, interact and build trusted relationships with your customers and clients, will ensure your business will thrive.   Links to Supporting Information   ITC International Trade Centre  ITC ecomConnect – Readiness  an e-commerce readiness assessment quiz   ITC International Trade Centre  How to Start Your First E-commerce Business | ecomConnect   ITC  ITC ecomConnect – Calculator  & Video tutorials from ecomConnect   Strive Community’s Ecommerce Training Toolkit ecomConnect   IOE&IT Export essentials: How to make the most of ecommerce platforms – The Institute of Export and International Trade

  2. What digital tools and approaches can help my business?

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      Digital Tools and Approaches

      How can technology help my business trade?    Businesses that adopt new technologies are better positioned to seize opportunities in global marketplaces. Understanding consumer and business trends will also help you develop and sell the right products and services. New technology can help build more resilient and more efficient businesses, that can scale-up quickly. The adoption and use of mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing can reduce up-front investment costs and improve business management and marketing to reach customers worldwide. New technologies can also help your business trade by outsourcing services and building partnerships in supply chains essential for entering new markets.   What new technologies and digital tools can I consider for my business?    Some examples of new technologies that can help your business become more competitive in global markets include: 3D printing: If your business is in the manufacturing industry, using a 3D printer can help you innovate and develop new products quickly to satisfy your customer’s needs. 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing andconsists of making three-dimensional solid objects from layering materials like plastics, composites, or biomaterials. Cloud computing: Is a centralized location on the internet that stores data and information. Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than using a local server or personal computers. This can save businesses the cost of installing hardware and software, it can increase productivity and performance. Cloud computing also allows companies to easily set up e-commerce shops. Digital platforms: These platforms are online infrastructures and networks that facilitate commercial interactions between suppliers and consumers. Some examples include e-commerce and social media websites that you can use to advertise your products and services, promote additional features, and offer payment options (see the Trade4MSMEs guide on selling abroad online). Electronic payments: E-payments are payments for goods and services that users make electronically through digital platforms. E-payments can help your business to trade overseas because they save costs, provide security, and are convenient for collecting money transfers from customers. Social media: This consists of websites and applications that facilitate information and content sharing. Some of the well-known social media apps are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Your business can use social media tools to create customized webpages for reaching out to customers through online e-commerce sites and marketplaces. Other technologies: Blockchain/distributed ledger technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) are other technologies that can offer opportunities for your business to grow and expand into global markets. How can I learn more about useful technologies for my business?    The SME Trade Academy is the online learning platform of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. With over 200 online courses on trade and trade-related topics, specifically tailored for learners in developing and least-developed countries. Courses that can help you learn more about new ways of doing business and trade through new technologies.   Links to Supporting Information   ITCs (International Trade Centre) SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to E-commerce  Course on introduction to e-commerce: This course showcases business opportunities in e-commerce and strategies for developing online sales channels.   ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Supply Chain Management Course on Supply chain management : This course introduces methods that help businesses design a digital transformation roadmap.   ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Innovating for Success: A Guide for Entrepreneurs  Course on innovation for entrepreneurs: This course teaches entrepreneurs and business owners about the most relevant aspects of innovation and digital technologies.   ITCs SME Trade Academy  ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Blockchain for Trade  Course on introduction to blockchain for trade: This course explains the role of blockchain in doing business through international trade.   ITCs SME Trade Academy ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Export Finance and Payments (intracen.org)Course on Export Finance and payments    What other resources should I look at?    Microsoft What Is Cloud Computing? A Beginner’s Guide | Microsoft Azure  What is cloud Computing.   Trade4MSME guide  Selling Abroad Online   ITC ecomConnect – Calculator  a tool to calculate e-commerce costs amazon Etsy Shopify eBay.   Information Technology & Innovation Foundation ITIF ITIF Technology Explainer: What Are Digital Platforms? | ITIF   UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide United Nations Economic Commission for Europe   ITC SME Academy  ITC SME Trade Academy – Summary of Introduction to Blockchain for Trade   ITC ecomConnect  African Marketplace Explorer | ecomConnect African Market Place explorer   ITC  Latin America and the Caribbean Marketplace Explorer | ITC Latin American and the Caribbean Marketplace Explorer   ITC Living with the Genie Artificial Intelligence in Content Creation for Small Businesses in Trade   Google  Google Digital Academy and Analytics Academy (google.com) and   Understand the basics of machine learning – Google Digital Workshop   The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Training overview | ITU Academy

  3. How do I protect my business from cyber attacks?

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      The Importance of Cybersecurity

      What is cybersecurity?    Introducing Cybersecurity into your organization is a way individuals and businesses reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. It is also known as information technology security or electronic information security. Using technology and digital platforms for commercial activities exposes companies to cybercrime like phishing, malware, or data and identity theft. Cybersecurity embodies a set of systems, processes, and actions and its core function is to protect businesses from digital attacks. We all use smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers, and we access multiple services online at home and at work and we need to protect them from theft or damage. To reduce these cyber threats, learn more about how to protect your organization’s data, assets, networks, programs and your reputation from digital attacks. Introducing cybersecurity can protect your data and systems.   Why does cyber security matter for my business?    We all live in an increasingly interconnected world, and this has had many positive effects enabling businesses to collect and share more information, reach new customers and innovate. It has also though, led to a rise of criminal activities that profit from stealing customer data and spying on business practices. Small businesses can often be victims of cyber-attacks, putting their assets, data, information, and technology equipment at risk. Investing in sound cybersecurity systems can prevent you from suffering financial losses and corporate reputation damage.   How cyber threats could affect business?   Some examples of cyber threats that may affect your business. Phishing: This is a social engineering tactic that lures individuals into providing sensitive data by offering fake rewards. Through this tactic, criminals often target personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. Malware: This consists of malicious software that comes from website downloads, spam emails, and connection to other machines or devices. Hackers use malware to gain access to networks and steal or destroy data on computers. Ransomware: This is a form of malware that encrypts business files, making them no longer accessible. Criminals use it to demand a ransom in exchange for unlocking the data targeted. Weak passwords: Passwords are weak when humans or machines can easily identify them. Criminals that correctly identify passwords have easy access to business accounts that store confidential and sensitive data. Insider threats: These threats are performed by current or former employees, business contractors or other associates who seek to access critical business data for illicit purposes. How can I protect my business against cyber risks?    Protecting your business from cyber risks can enable you to counteract criminal activity and keep pace with emerging trends in data privacy. You can start planning cybersecurity strategies by identifying systems, data, and users that are essential for your business operations. This mapping exercise will highlight vulnerability points that can be the subject of your cybersecurity goals and strategies, as well as help you to develop a cybersecurity plan at your business.   Links to Supporting Information   Cyber Research Institute Roadmap A guide to being cyber ready.   Cyber Research Institute  Cyber Readiness Program – Cybersecurity Awareness Workforce Training This program guides SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to become cyber against cyber threats.   GCA (Global Cyber Alliance) Cybersecurity Training  Small Business    and Know What You Have – GCA Cybersecurity Toolkit | Tools and Resources to Improve Your Cyber Defenses   The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) offers a cybersecurity toolkit designed for small businesses and online training courses.   US Small Business Administration  Strengthen your cybersecurity   The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre  and Small & medium sized organisations – NCSC.GOV.UK  provides training and certification.   Government of Canada  Cyber Secure Canada offers an SME-targeted certification scheme.

4What happens when there is a trade disagreement?

  1. What do I do when my trade transaction doesn’t go as planned?

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      Dispute Settlement

      What happens if there is a breach of commercial contract?    If your business trades with a company based in another country or customs territory, this is classed as ‘cross-border trade’ and effectively it means, in legal terms, that the other party is not necessarily subject to the jurisdiction of courts where you are based. It is important that you get the right commercial agreements in place, and confirm the law applicable to the contract, and a dispute resolution mechanism, at the very start of trading internationally.   Although you hope it will never happen, should a dispute arise, it is always better if you can have it resolved in your local court, with your own lawyers and in your own language.   If this is not possible and the dispute involves an overseas jurisdiction, this can complicate things and you would need to obtain legal advice familiar with commercial law in both country’s jurisdictions.   Points to consider when drawing up a contract: Look to minimise your risk with fair and transparent contracts and terms and conditions. Appoint a legal professional / specialist international trade lawyer to help guide you. Ensure you have a clear understanding of what all your obligations will be under the finalised contract. Don’t accept “standard terms” with which you cannot comply. Ensure you have a clear understanding of what all your obligations will be under the finalised contract. Be clear on the extent of your potential liabilities. It would usually be sensible to try and agree a cap on liability – in many cases this comprises a multiple of the contract value. Deliver on time to the terms of the contract   When a breach of an international contract occurs, the parties encounter issues such as: What type of case it is. Where the case will be decided. Which law will be used to decide   It is also important to agree on a dispute resolution mechanism at the start, choices can include: Judicial Proceedings Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR mechanisms Arbitration Mediation   While choosing the mode of resolution, another factor to consider is where and whether the ensuing judgment or arbitral award will be recognized and enforced. It would not be helpful if, for example, the judgment or the arbitral award was in your favour but cannot be recognised and/or enforced in another state where your other contractual party has assets.   The law applicable to the contract will be applied to settle the dispute arising from the negotiation, conclusion, performance, interpretation, or execution of the contractual terms.   Links to Supporting Information   The International Trade Centre ITC  Model Contracts for Small Firms | ITC Model contracts are available free of charge   WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Alternative Dispute Resolution  Alternative Dispute Resolution (wipo.int)   New York Convention for arbitral awards 1958 New York Convention   The UN (UNCITRAL)  United Nations Commission on International Trade Law  and  Online Dispute Resolution: On-line Resources | United Nations Commission On International Trade Law

  2. What should I do if I think someone has infringed on my intellectual property?

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      Intellectual Property Disputes

      What is an IP (Intellectual Property) dispute?    An IP dispute is a conflict or disagreement over Intellectual property rights (IP rights) (see the Trade4MSMEs guide on Intellectual Property Considerations). A dispute is usually started by the individual or business with in which the IP was created known as the “right holder.” Businesses raise IP disputes when they believe that other individuals, companies, or entities have made an unauthorized use of their IP assets, such as copyrighted material, patented inventions, trademark-protected signs, and trade secrets.   As with other commercial disputes, it is important to maintain and understand your own IP rights and how they can be protected, as well as recognize and respect the IP rights of others. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a center of excellence for training and education on this subject.   How can IP disputes arise?    IP disputes arise when the holder of an IP right alleges that its IP has been acquired or used by another (infringed) without its permission. For example, use of a trademarked sign or patented invention without the holder’s consent may constitute trademark or patent infringement. Acquiring trade secrets or protected information dishonestly may also violate the holder’s rights. Unfortunately, an IP dispute may also be raised in bad faith by a business which alleges the infringement of a right that does not in fact exist, with the goal of eliminating or delaying competition. IP disputes can also arise over the ownership and authorization to use IP developed by joint partnerships or through other cooperative arrangements.   What can I do in the event of an IP infringement?    It is usually the responsibility of the IP right holder to protect their rights by identifying and challenging infringement. You should seek expert legal advice if you suspect someone else has infringed your IP rights or alleges that you have infringed theirs. As IP rights are enforced at the local level, specialized knowledge of domestic laws and practices is required to successfully protect your IP or defend against an infringement allegation. Depending on the right holder’s location or jurisdiction, businesses can contact local business support associations to find out what help, and guidance may be available.   The five actions listed below are among those commonly taken in the event of IP infringement: Cease-and-desist letters: When the identity of an alleged infringer is known, the IP right holder often first attempts to resolve the dispute directly by sending a cease-and-desist letter that notifies the infringer of how its business activities conflict with an IP right(s). If the infringement was unintentional, the infringer will often either discontinue its activities or consent to negotiate a licensing agreement. Border actions: IP right holders who suspect that infringing goods are being transported across borders may file written applications with the competent domestic authorities for the suspension of such goods by customs authorities. Administrative proceedings: Most jurisdictions maintain registers of patents and trademarks, among other IP rights, which are protected in their jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions offer procedures for opposing a registration or invalidating an already registered right. IP right holders may pursue such administrative procedures to prevent similar or allegedly infringing signs or inventions from obtaining legal rights. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR): ADR proceedings are sometimes less costly and complex alternatives to resolving an IP dispute than judicial proceedings. Two types of ADR processes may be available. In a mediation procedure, a mediator helps the parties reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. In an arbitration procedure, one or more arbitrators make a binding decision for all parties based on the rights and obligations of the latter and arbitral law. Licensing agreements and other contracts often provide for parties to resolve disputes under the agreement through ADR in lieu of judicial proceedings. Judicial proceedings: Judicial proceedings seeking resolution through the courts is usually the last resort for resolving an IP dispute. Different judicial venues and remedies may be available under domestic law. Judicial authorities may issue temporary and/or permanent injunctions enjoining infringing activities; order the infringer to pay compensation for the IP right holder’s damages and expenses; and/or order the disposal of infringing goods. Domestic law enforcement may also pursue IP infringers with criminal proceedings and penalties in certain circumstances.   The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has an Arbitration and Mediation Center that provides mediation and arbitration services at reduced fees for small businesses in case the latter opt for ADR mechanisms to resolve IP disputes. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center can assist with procedures and provide templates for contract clauses and submission agreements to present in an IP dispute.   Links to more information    The Trade4MSMES guide Intellectual Property Considerations   The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Academy provides additional training WIPO Academy   WIPO Alternative Dispute Resolution  Alternative Dispute Resolution (wipo.int)   WIPO Mediation  Guide to WIPO Mediation   WIPO Arbitration   Guide to WIPO Arbitration   WIPO Mediation and Arbitration center for MSMEs WIPO Mediation and Arbitration for SMEs   WIPO WIPO Clause Generator  suggested clauses related to IPR for use in contracts