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Top Risks in Global Expansions

If you are a technology or life science firm considering global expansion, you need to become aware of some foreign risks that need to be managed. Tips to handling foreign risks include:

Establishing a Global Risk Management Program – Handling of foreign risks is different from the management of domestic risks. Foreign risk requires different treatment and a firm understanding of the differences in laws, business practices and procedures for handling certain risks. With an ever-increasing number of firms that are expanding their operations to include facilities on foreign soil, it is important to establish overall goals for your risk management program.

The goals for your global risk management program should include the standardization of risk management controls, and an improved ability to predict potential losses. You will also need to eliminate gaps in your insurance coverage, identify hidden costs in your insurance program and ensure that you are in strict compliance with local laws and are leveraging economies of scale in your insurance program.

Political Risks Play a Role in International Expansions – Political risk is defined as the threat of losing assets, management control, or potential earnings as a result of political action by the host country. Generally speaking, a country with a stable government poses less of a risk than one in turmoil. Specialized Political Risk insurance policies can protect against certain types of perils for companies doing business or conducting operations in foreign countries. These insurance contracts often address business exposures faced by these companies as a result of foreign governmental action. Types of exposures that can be covered under political risk policies include confiscation, expropriation, deprivation, nationalization, political violence and currency inconvertibility. They can also be customized to include export credit.

Economic Risk Come in Different Shape and Size – Economic risks speak to the chance that a host country may impose sanctions that will restrict or regulate the activities of foreign corporations. Most common among these are exchange controls, which restrict movement of foreign money out of the country, tax policies that are often used to control foreign companies by placing large taxes on their products, and price controls in which host countries establish regulations controlling the price range of a business’s goods or services.

Don’t Forget the Cultural Risk – Cultural risk can be as damaging as political or economic dangers. National cultural risk is the possibility of doing something considered unacceptable by the social culture of the host country. Business cultural risk is the threat of doing something inappropriate within the business environment as a whole. Corporate cultural risk is the risk of making a cultural error when dealing with a specific company.

Managing foreign risks can determine your level of success in the global market. The international network of professionals in TechAssure Association can help you establish a solid global risk management program. Contact us to learn more about our members.

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