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Law, trade, culture affect each other

WHAT HAS culture got to do with business? A lot, if you believe Professor Shelby Quast, director-general of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), US office. Professor Quast, a lawyer who also teaches international business to students, along with Professor Dharmendra Sengar, chairman, legal management group, IIM-Lucknow organised a workshop on ?International Business: Legal and Cultural Implications? at the premier management institute on Monday.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 00:54 IST

WHAT HAS culture got to do with business?

A lot, if you believe Professor Shelby Quast, director-general of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC), US office.

Professor Quast, a lawyer who also teaches international business to students, along with Professor Dharmendra Sengar, chairman, legal management group, IIM-Lucknow organised a workshop on ‘International Business: Legal and Cultural Implications’ at the premier management institute on Monday.

Professor Quast said that in international business transactions culture played a very important role. Advocating for coming together of lawyers, business people, government and academia on one platform to support international business, Prof Quast said that culture too played a very important role in international trade.

“In international trade two parties are involved and both of them have a distinct language, culture, legal systems and way of dealing. What I am saying is that it is possible to protect one’s culture and yet celebrate diversity while making these business transactions,” Professor Quast said.

“It is also important that a businessman should get to know about law and a lawyer about businesses. Often we see that a lawyer steps in only after damage is done. So, it would be in the best interests to involve a lawyer at each step of business,” she added.

The workshop was attended, among others, by Dr Jamshed Siddiqui, deputy director, United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), PC Sharma, retired IAS officer and Dr RL Singh, former chief conservator of forests. There were questions posed on issues like ‘how can partnership between business and law be best fostered in India, how can small and medium sized businesses in India prepare themselves for global markets, what are the current barriers to international trade and potential solutions and does the Indian legal environment support participation of SMEs’.

Prof Sengar said: “Law of a particular country,” he said, “reflects the customs, traditions, culture of that nation. Law also influences culture. We ourselves are observing a change in our culture due to our business partnership with fast food companies like Mcdonalds. The work culture in call centres is affecting food habits too.”

Participants at the workshop like Prof Ajay Kumar and Tarun Agarwal from BLS Institute of Management, Ghaziabad found the workshop enriching. “In fact, we now feel that such workshops should be held more frequently,” Prof Ajay said.


First Published: Jan 31, 2006 00:54 IST