It can be difficult to recover a debt from a debtor based overseas, bearing in mind that the debtor is in a different time zone and has different laws and customs to adhere to. Cultural issues also come into play when pursuing international business debts. For example, in the UK, late payment is an ongoing and increasingly problematic issue for many businesses, whereas other countries take a much timelier approach when paying debts because incurring debt can be seen as something more shameful.              

Debt recovery is important in the manufacturing industry as you want to ensure you can make payments for equipment and facilities for your business.

Here are our top tips for creditors trying to recover a business debt from a creditor based overseas within the manufacturing industry:

Mitigating the risk of late payment

To mitigate the risk of late or even non-payment, creditors can:

  • Carry out credit checks on your clients/customers before agreeing to extend any credit to them; and/or
  • Require the client/customer to pay upfront for the goods or services.

Seek legal advice

When pursuing an international business debt, it can often be more cost-effective to seek advice from a specialist debt recovery solicitor rather than trying to pursue the debt yourself. A solicitor with expertise in dealing with international debts will be able to advise on the best approach to try and recover the debt owed, taking into account the relevant laws. Also, instructing a solicitor means you can concentrate on what’s important, running your business. 

Pursuing International Business Debts for Manufacturing Businesses

Do your research

If you’re carrying out manufacturing for an overseas client, doing your research on what is required will be necessary. The process can be time-consuming, especially for those not experienced in dealing with business debt recovery claims that have an international element to them. 

It is often sensible to engage the services of an enquiry agent who can gather information about the debtor, such as contact details, assets owned by the debtor and other debts owed by the debtor. Often, an enquiry agent will only need basic details about the debtor to find information that will be invaluable in pursuing the debt. 

Act quickly

We understand that sometimes it is important to maintain a business relationship with the debtor. However, it is our experience that by the time a business contacts us about a problematic debt, the debtor has already been given ample opportunity to pay the debt. With the manufacturing industry having a high overhead, cash flow is very important.

To stop a problematic debt from becoming a cashflow issue for a business, many businesses would benefit from instructing a specialist debt recovery solicitor. Furthermore, the quicker you act in pursuing a debt, the easier it is likely to be in recovering the debt.

Consider jurisdictional issues

With 45% of total UK exports being accounted for manufacturing, it is a sector that regularly involves working with overseas clients. Jurisdictional issues can arise, particularly in regard to which court should deal with any dispute. The best way to deal with this is to have contracts in place which expressly state which country’s laws will apply if a dispute arises. This provides important clarity to all parties as to how international contracts will be dealt with. 

Here to help

Myerson is the Manchester and Cheshire law firm member for the MSI Global Alliance, a top 20 ranked, leading an international association of independent professional firms. This means that if any debt recovery matters we deal with in the manufacturing sector and other areas involve an international element, we can call upon the expertise and knowledge of our fellow MSI members to ensure that our client’s global interests are protected.

If you would like further information about how we can help your business recover its business debts, whether those debts are domestic or international, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Manufacturing Team below.

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