Monday, 16 Jul 2012
Overseas Business Risk – United States
UKTI USA is not aware of any issues causing critical concern to UK customers in the areas of organised crime, corruption, physical security or political risk. We do, however, wish to highlight two topics that we consider most relevant: terrorism and intellectual property.
Political and Economic
More information on political risk, including political demonstrations, is available in the FCO Travel Advice.
The Government believes that free trade and economic growth promote development and respect for human rights. We encourage British businesses to be aware of their potential impacts on human rights. Through the FCO human rights webpage we provide information for businesses that operate, or intend to operate, in countries where there are human rights concerns.
The US Government supports the UN Human Rights Council’s “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, which aims to create a framework for states to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, and for corporations to respect human rights.
Still, as British business expands overseas we will need to ensure that this success is not achieved at the expense of human rights. We will strive to promote competitive and transparent conditions for doing business by spreading internationally agreed standards of responsible business and best practice. Good business and respect for human rights should be mutually reinforcing. Respect for human rights helps legitimate, sustainable business: it creates stable operating environments and sustainable markets with lessened risk of reputational damage or of litigation. And good business practice has a positive impact on human rights: it sets standards of behaviour, improves governance, provides livelihoods free of abuse, removes incentives to abuse, helps tackle disadvantage, maximises skills and sustainable employability and strengthens communities.
Bribery and Corruption
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.
In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.
The United States was ranked 19 in the 2012 Transparency International’s corruption perception index (CPI).
Visit the Business Anti-Corruption portal page providing advice and guidance about corruption in overseas markets.
Read the information provided on our Bribery and corruption page.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates a threat advisory system offering information on the current terrorist threat level in the US, and advice on protective measures. More details on the system, and the current threat level, can be found at www.dhs.gov. You may also wish to consult the Department of Homeland Security’s advice to businesses on at www.ready.gov.
Read the information provided on our Terrorism threat page
Protective Security Advice
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also provides protective security advice to businesses
Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page
IP rights are territorial, that is they only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered. If you are thinking about trading internationally, they you should consider registering your IP rights in your export markets.
US intellectual property law is well-developed and offers robust protection for businesses operating in the United States. US and UK intellectual property regimes are broadly similar but not identical. For example US patents are awarded on a 'first-to-invent' basis, rather than not the 'first-to-file' basis in the UK. The number of costly intellectual property infringement litigation cases in the US has increased markedly in recent years. The main government office responsible for intellectual property is the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which issues patents and trademarks and governs their use. Copyrights must be registered with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Protection of trade secrets can vary from state to state, though most adhere to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA). Businesses which have suffered intellectual property infringement have recourse to the domestic legal system.
Read the information provided on our Intellectual Property page.
Read the information provided on our Organised crime page.
More information is available on overseas business risk in a range of markets.