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D. International trade and Internet transactions

If you have business dealings with foreign companies, you may need to consider the following issues.

  • Customs duties are only levied on imported liquor, tobacco, hydrocarbonate oil and methyl alcohol at the rates that are set out in schedule 1 to the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance (Cap. 109 of the Laws of Hong Kong). You can also obtain more information from the website of the Customs and Excise Department.
  • Import and export regulations cover packaging for shipment, means of transportation, freight cost and delivery time, insurance, import broker services, warehousing costs, packaging for local distribution, health and labelling requirements, method of distribution (by mail from home, agent or retailer), pricing, discounts and delivery costs.
  • You may need a letter of credit, which is a bank's promise to pay the seller on behalf of the buyer against certain documents (e.g. bill of lading or other documents of title or ownership to the goods) to be received. This is a common method of payment in international trade.

You need to know which country's law is applicable to your contract. In addition, you can rely on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Arbitration Rules (please refer to the website of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre) if no compromise can be reached between the contracting parties. Please note that the relevant legal points are very complex, and legal advice should therefore be sought.