What do I do if I fall into a commercial dispute with my buyer/distributor in an overseas market?

The Australian Government is often called upon to provide assistance to Australian companies involved in commercial disputes. Very often there is little that it can do to assist.

The Australian Government can provide companies with assistance such as providing referral lists of local law firms and arbitrators, sharing basic information on potentially applicable trade agreements and providing advice on relevant business practices. However, the Australian Government is not in a position to provide Australian companies or individuals with legal advice. Neither can it interfere in foreign legal processes and law enforcement - including in relation to the return of property stolen; or the refund of deposits or payments for goods and services rendered in foreign markets.

As this is a legal matter involving a commercial dispute, you will need to seek legal assistance. Australian exporters registered with Austrade can obtain a list of referral service providers by contacting a trade adviser at Austrade. The embassy and high commissions of various countries in Canberra provide lists of attorneys who may be able to assist. You can also consult the Law Society website.