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Strategies for Successful Cross-Border Negotiation

by Global Link Law
Jun 26, 2024
cross-border negotiation

International business is growing. We live in an increasingly globalized world—with more and more companies engaged in cross-border transactions. Commercial agreements with businesses and organizations in other countries can be especially difficult to negotiate. If your company is engaged in international business, it is crucial that you have a well-developed process in place for negotiating transactions. Our international contract lawyer highlights five strategies that can help set your company up for success in cross-border negotiation. 

Tips for Successful Cross-Border Negotiation

Strategy #1: Develop Comprehensive Goals

A successful cross-border negotiation begins with clearly defined, well-articulated goals. You need to know exactly what your company is trying to get out of the process. What constitutes a positive outcome? What constitutes a transaction that went wrong? Be sure to establish what you aim to achieve in these negotiations. As a general rule, planning requires understanding not just the ultimate objectives—revenue targets, market expansion metrics, etc—but also the subtleties of what success looks like in different contexts. As an example, if you are looking to build a long-term partnership, that strategy may be different than if you are engaged in a one-time relationship. By defining goals clearly and early, you will put your company in the best position for success. 

Strategy #2: Get Organized (Gather All Relevant Information)

Organization is at the foundation of successful business negotiations—and cross-border transactions are certainly no exception to the rule. Indeed, organization is key in any negotiation. Still, it is especially critical when dealing with parties from different countries. The differences in legal systems, languages, and even time zones can all add serious complexity to the transactions. You should start the negotiation planning by identifying and assembling a team that has expertise in the relevant legal and business areas. Make sure that you get everyone on the same page. 

Strategy #3: Identify Regulatory/Legal Barriers

One of the most significant challenges in cross-border negotiation is navigating the complex web of regulations and laws—as they can vary drastically from one country to another jurisdiction. Regulatory matters should not be overlooked. Early in the negotiation process, you should proactively identify any potential legal and regulatory barriers that could impact the agreement and the business relationship more broadly. Among other things, this could include tariffs, trade agreements, local business practices, and other types of compliance requirements. The last thing you want to do is to negotiate a favorable agreement that you cannot actually carry out because of some unidentified legal/regulatory problems. Understanding the barriers that exist can help you develop a strategy and mitigate potential legal risks.  

Strategy #4: Do Not Overlook Cultural Differences

In far too many cases, international negotiations stall out because of cultural differences. As noted by a report in the Harvard Business Review, “cultural differences can influence business negotiations in significant and unexpected ways.” Cultural differences can influence negotiation styles profoundly. What is considered a persuasive argument in one culture may be seen as aggressive or disrespectful in another. To bridge these differences, invest time in understanding the cultural norms and communication styles of the parties involved. 

Here is an example: During a negotiation between a Japanese company and an American company, the American team made a direct and aggressive offer. They expect quick decision-making. Being unfamiliar with the Japanese cultural emphasis on consensus, the American team mistakes the Japanese team’s request for time to consult with superiors as a lack of interest or evasion. The Japanese team, feeling pressured and disrespected by the Americans’ push for immediate answers, then withdraws from the negotiation process. That is a cultural misunderstanding that could undermine a potentially fruitful negotiation. 

Strategy #5: Seek Professional Guidance and Support

Finally, do not underestimate the value of seeking professional guidance and support. With so many potential legal, regulatory, and logistical issues, the right advocate on your side can make a dramatic difference. At Global Link Law, we have extensive experience working with companies engaged in cross-border negotiation. Our expertise can be relied upon to find solutions and help you effectively navigate a potentially complex transaction. The right professional guidance can be extremely valuable in harnessing the opportunities offered by cross-border transactions. 

Contact Our Cross-Border Negotiation Attorneys Today

At Global Link Law, our international contract attorneys provide strategic, solutions-focused strategic guidance to clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about cross-border contract negotiations, we are here to help. Give us a call now or contact us online to arrange your confidential consultation. Our firm handles the full range of international contract negotiations. 


The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by accessing or using this website. Please consult with a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions. Global Link Law is not liable for any reliance on the information provided. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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