International export contracts

Last updated: 29 June 2017

Having the right international contracts and insurance for your exports can help manage your risk, protect your company and ensure you're paid.

You may need different types of international contracts depending on how many partners you work with to get your goods to market. The main ones are:

  • contracts for the sale of goods
  • contracts for the supply of services
  • distribution contracts, also known as a distributor agreement
  • agency contracts, also known as an agency agreement
There are free model contracts for small businesses on the International Trade Centre's website.

Make sure you get legal advice for Scotland and the countries you plan to export to before you sign any contracts.

Your contract framework

What to include in an export contract

When drafting a legal contract with a distributor, think through the following points.

Make sure you speak to a legal adviser before signing any contracts.

Clauses and annexes

The clauses and annexes should be negotiated by you and your export partners based on needs.

Some typical clauses you might find in a sales contract or an agency and distribution agreement are:

  • names and addresses of parties
  • what the agreement covers
  • territory covered
  • exclusivity – or not
  • how long it will last
  • notice period
  • items to be distributed
  • conduct at severance
  • distributor obligations
  • principal's obligations

More help and other things to consider