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Will increasing regulation place you at greater risk of facing an international legal dispute?

At the moment there seems to be an increasing amount of regulatory pressure being placed on every type of product.

We recently reported on the European Commission’s attempts to reclassify any product with CBD or hemp extract in as a ‘novel food’, forcing manufacturers to jump through additional testing and authorisation hoops and, to our eyes at least, pretty much removing Europe as a potential market.

And their efforts are raising eyebrows as many experts – including the World Health Organisation – have said that there is no issue over the safety of including cannabinoids within foods or supplements as most adults are perfectly tolerant. Stranger still The Industrial Hemp Association of Europe has said hemp extracts have been used for 80 years without causing any harm not to mention the fact CBD has already been officially recognised by the European Commission as an ingredient in the production of a range of products.

Last year Singapore followed Thailand in banning the use of e-cigarettes or vaping. They had already tried to outlaw the sale of the materials but now simply owning e-smoking products will automatically result in a heavy fine.

But while the reclassification of foods and supplements including CBD and the banning of vaping in Asia may be of interest to some, why are we – a London law firm – writing about it? The reason is that while these things may seem rather niche and/or happening a long way away, the increasingly complex regulatory environment governing international trade is a trend every business needs to be aware of.

As specialist litigators we know that increasing regulation increases the likelihood businesses trading internationally will find themselves embroiled in disputes.

As legislation changes, different parts of your supply chain look to work around a new set of rules, you may find yourself buying inferior or even incorrect products. The agreements you have in place with suppliers or customers may be placed at risk which in turn means you are likely to face legal action over your inability to uphold your obligations or have to start your own action if suppliers or customers can’t deliver against theirs.

In some cases you may even be forced to cease trading in specific territories or risk significant fines or extra charges should you try to.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Local regulations may also open up new opportunities. They may lead to new market demand in some territories or require manufacturers to invest in new processes, kit or R&D. The only problem is as you start to exploit those opportunities you may find yourself facing legal action from your competitors who are trying to use existing regulations to block you out of their markets.

If you do find yourself in an international or cross-border dispute, we will help. We have extensive experience of resolving highly complex disputes involving multiple parties in multiple jurisdictions providing bespoke solutions to any problem a business may encounter as they increase their international reach.

We will also advise you on the best route to take whether that is International litigation, International arbitration or International negotiation and, if required, we will tap into our network of highly regarded contacts all over the world so you get the informed ‘local’ view you’ll need to make business critical decisions as to how you’d like to proceed.

If you are facing any type of international or cross-border dispute or you would like a legal perspective on the regulatory environment within an industry or territory you would like to start trading in, please call us today on 0207 792 5649 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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