Successfully importing equipment for wind energy demands extensive preparation, says Patton Boggs partner Hwan Kim.
"A standard purchase order simply won't work," Kim
"People generally don't miss the big things-price, delivery date, product specifications-but there are many, many little things that can trip them up."
"It's all about ... not assuming that things are done the same way there as they are here."
HwaN Kim, on importing wind-energy equiptment
For example, it's not enough to let the manufacturer choose how to ship the equipment just because they are responsible for delivery.
seen suppliers send 50-meter steel wind towers across the Pacific Ocean without the right packaging to protect them from the salty air.
They arrived pitted and rusty.
Before placing an order, Kim
says, buyers should travel abroad to inspect a potential supplier's manufacturing plant.
also insists the supplier secure a performance bond worth the full or a significant percentage of the purchase price-an unusual provision in an equipment purchase contract.
The bond minimizes the risk that the buyer won't have to seek compensation through a foreign legal system.
"If the supplier won't [secure the bond], my questions would be: Are they financially viable and are they as good as they say they are?
"It's all about being as thoughtful as possible, planning for contingencies and not assuming that things are done the same way there as they are here."
Buyers should also make sure their purchase contract gives them the right to inspect their equipment at the manufacturing plant before it gets shipped to the United States.
"The engineering specs on these things are very tight," says Kim