Resolution of disputes among foreign companies arising from export and import activities in the Republic of Belarus

Resolution of disputes among foreign companies arising from export and import activities in the Republic of Belarus

Prior to concluding import or export contracts with a Belarusian resident, a company from another state must be aware of the peculiarities of Belarusian legislation, including currency regulation.

The Belarusian legislation defines foreign trade as trading goods and/or services and/or intellectual property with foreign companies. At the same time, foreign trade in goods means import and/or export of goods.

Although the Vienna Convention of 1980 considers a contract for the international sale of goods concluded verbally, under Belarusian law such contracts between foreign and Belarusian companies must be concluded only in writing. If the simple written form is not complied, the contract will be invalid.

In addition, foreign and Belarusian law regulates the same aspects of supply contracts concluded between companies of the two countries differently.

Taking into account the legislative differences, the determination of dispute resolution procedures will be one of the important points in the process of foreign trade activities between companies of Belarus and another country. Such disputes are settled by the courts within the system of state courts of the countries, as well as by international arbitral tribunals.

Thus, when entering into foreign economic transactions, in order to protect their rights and interests, foreign and Belarusian parties must include in the main agreement condition, that any disputes that may arise between them in the future must be resolved. This agreement is commonly referred to as an arbitration clause (or arbitration agreement).

In the case if there is no arbitration agreement between the parties the foreign party has the right to apply for judicial protection according to the rules in force in its state. The Belarusian party, on the contrary.

Dispute resolution may be submitted by a foreign company to an arbitration or state court, which is chosen by the contracting parties and fixed in the contract. The dispute resolution procedure may provide indication of subjects of the dispute submitted to the court or arbitration, name of the chosen court or arbitration, indication of the law applicable to the transaction, place of the arbitration proceedings, number and procedure of selection of arbitrators, etc.

An arbitration clause in a foreign trade contract is deemed to be legally autonomous from the contract itself, i.e. it has legal effect irrespective of the validity of the contract of which it forms an integral part.

As a general rule, a contract of sale of goods between foreign and Belarusian companies is subject to the 1980 Vienna Convention. Belarusian law may be applied in cases where the parties have excluded the application of the Vienna Convention 1980 in whole or in part. As a rule, foreign and Belarusian companies specifically mention applicable law in the case of a conflict arising out of such a contract. The parties' agreement to the choice of law must be explicitly stated or directly derived from the terms of the contract. Contracting parties may agree on the choice of law which will be applied either for the contract as a whole or for parts of it.

The contract may not specify the law applicable to the resolution of disputes and disagreements. In such a case, the law of the seller's principal place of business shall apply. If it is not possible to determine the principal place of business of a party, the law of the country where the party is established shall apply.

Economic Dispute Law Firm represents interests of foreign purchasers and sellers (suppliers) during negotiations with a Belarusian counterparty, during drafting of foreign trade agreements and settlement of conflict situations in pre-trial or court proceedings. To form a successful litigation position lawyers carry out a thorough risk assessment of the forthcoming court proceedings, develop a strategy and tactics of legal support, formulate a claim and prepare a database of evidence.

Our lawyers speak English fluently and use Belarusian and international legislation in their work.

For the entire period of practical work, the lawyers of the "Economic Disputes" law firm have gained considerable experience in legal support in disputes arising from export and import trade with the participation of Belarusian and foreign companies.