Monday, August 31, 2015

Everything Korea, Episode August 31 Agreements and Expectations

As a trusted friend constantly reminds me, Don, no one does what you do.
Share and inform. aspects of Korea facing business.

This notedContracts, legal agreements and negotiations go hand in hand with business. I was once told that in Korea the purpose of signing a contract or agreement was essentially to formalize the partnership. Over time terms would be subject to change and re-negotiation.

My Korea facing experience has been that the contract fundamentally solidifies the working relationship.  However, to maintain the partnership contractual obligations the contract will require on-going changes to reflect business conditions. In contrast terms in legal agreement in the West are seen as immutable.

Major differences in how Korean and Westerners perceive legal agreements can surface during the negotiation stage and even after the contract is in place. In particular, requests by Korean teams for changes to a Western companys standard agreements and contracts can cause considerable frustration, especially for their legal counsel. In the West some red lining of a document may take place but legal teams may see unprecedented levels of questioning the most basic contractual language. Great patience may be required to walk Korean teams through the Western legal terminology and clarifications of what cannot be changed within the document to maintain compliance with international laws.

Finally, it is not uncommon for terms to be re-visited and questioned by other departmentsoften with limited or no international legal or business experience despite months of work between the Western and Korean lead teams! 

Oh, one more thing
Ensuring success and sustainability in dealing with Korea-facing business partnerships will require well-communicated expectations and cross-cultural understanding. In particular any business plan and strategy needs to take into account differences in the cultural realities between the West and Korea.   Its here I can help., and echoing my opening statement. Don, no one does what you do.

Questions? Comments?  Want to chat?

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