Cross border trade comes in all shapes and sizes. The term encompasses a wide range of potential transactions that relate to the flow of goods between the U.S. and a foreign country and services in each of the countries. It also encompasses the concept of manufacturing in a foreign country, real property purchases in the U.S. by foreigners or purchase of foreign real property by U.S. parties.

The number of businesses that provide logistics, legal, accounting, marketing, financial and other services to assist business with

these transactions is very extensive.  If one does an Internet search, there will be hundreds of businesses that offer advice on how to set up foreign operations.  Their websites  provide extensive information on how,where and what to do in establ ishing businesses in foreign countries  and procuring foreign  customers .

So how does one go about selecting the proper assistance for a particular transaction? Our experience living and working on the border between Arizona and Mexico for more than 30 years as practicing lawyers has taught us that it is best to focus your needs for outside help by focusing on what you want to accomplish.

If for example one wants to manufacture furniture in the State of Sonora, Mexico with minimal financial commitment, one would want to hire local law firms, accounting firms and logistics companies to assist. If one wants to sell products throughout Mexico, firms having a presence in the various locations should be utilized.

Local knowledge is invaluable in obtaining licensing and access to vendors, brokers, labor markets and information in general.

If one is headed south of the U.S. border to conduct business in Mexico, be prepared to:

  1. Have U.S. counsel to guide you through the maze. Make sure local counsel knows the businesses, politicians, lawyers and accountants in the area in which the business will be conducted.
  2. Have local Mexico counsel to assist in providing access to local government and regulation requests.
  3. Make sure both your U.S. and Mexico lawyer have industry knowledge before you proceed.
  4. Use both your U.S. and Mexico attorneys to assist your business and tax structure and to put you in communication with the proper persons or firms to help you with logistics and other needs.
  5. Be patient. Don't be in a hurry to get something done because it does not happen that way in Mexico. Some advisors will make it sound easy to do business in Mexico, but it is not. The regulatory environment is very different and requires specialized knowledge. If they make it sound easy, that is usually not a good sign.
  6. Research free information available to you regarding business issues and requirements before you start asking questions so as to focus your questions to those assisting you.
  7. Undertake your due diligence before any relationship with foreign parties is established. Your success will have much to do with whom you are working.
  8. Do as the locals do. This applies very much to the concept of doing business in Mexico and other countries.