Political factors greatly influence international business. Political turmoil in Iran, Syria, Egypt, and various countries in Africa suggests how volatile this factor can be to international markets. Sometimes political unrest results in acts of violence such as destruction of a firm’s property. According to Washington D.C. Translation Services experts, years ago, the Managua, Nicaragua paint factory of H.B. Fuller Company, a U.S. manufacturer of paints, coatings and adhesives was destroyed and burned by Sandinista revolutionaries. U.S. companies operating in Mexican border towns are also under constant threat due to drug cartels and gangs.
Many U.S. firms have set up international political risk assessment (PRA) units or turned to outside consulting services to evaluate political risks of the marketplace in which they operate. Sometimes firms must go as far as to employee armed mercenary groups to protect staff and facilities. Many times, U.S. corporations will also employ translation services firms to run public relations campaigns to generate goodwill among the public and negotiate with organized crime rings.
Many nations try to achieve political objectives through international business activities. Japan for instance, has openly encouraged involvement in international marketing because much of its economy depends on export sales. This heavy reliance of Japanese exports has also fueled the need for translation services to localize instruction manuals, user guides, legal contracts and marketing materials into languages spoken throughout the world.
Legal requirements complicate the world of business and frequently legal translation services can offer businesses some assistance. Different countries have different regulations regarding advertising, product packaging, safe handling and product labeling. In some markets, a government agency must approve all advertisements. These examples illustrate the need for international companies to work closely with legal translation firms and foreign government agencies.
The legal environment for U.S. firms operating abroad can be divided into three dimensions. These include: (1) U.S. law (2) International law and (3) legal requirements of the destination country. International law can be found in treaties, conventions and agreements that exist among nations. The United States has many friendship, commerce and navigation (FCN) treaties – agreements that deal with many aspects of commercial relations with other countries. Other international business agreements concern worldwide standards for various products, patents, trademarks, reciprocal tax treaties, export control, international air travel and international communication.