7 July 2006

China, Singapore, Sri Lanka Sign UN Convention on Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts

NEW YORK, 6 July (UNCITRAL) -- China, Singapore and Sri Lanka today signed the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts at an event held at United Nations Headquarters.

The goal of the Convention is to enhance legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in international contracts.  It does so, for instance, by setting the criteria to establish the equivalence between electronic communications and paper documents, and between electronic authentication methods and handwritten signatures.  The Convention also contains rules on how to locate a party in an electronic environment, and on how to determine the time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic communications.  It further recognizes that contracts may be concluded by automated message systems.

China, Singapore and Sri Lanka now join the Central African Republic, Lebanon and Senegal as signatories.  Other States, including the United States, also made statements supporting the wide adoption of the Convention and stressing its importance for global e-commerce.

The Convention was prepared by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and adopted by the General Assembly on 23 November 2005.  The signing took place during a special event held in conjunction with the thirty-ninth session of UNCITRAL.  The event, aimed at disseminating information on, and promoting participation in, the Convention, featured presentations on the Convention's provisions and on its relevance for international business.  The webcast of the event is available on the United Nations and UNCITRAL websites.

The UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law.  Its mandate is to remove legal obstacles to international trade by progressively modernizing and harmonizing trade law.  It prepares legal texts in a number of key areas such as international commercial dispute settlement, electronic commerce, insolvency, international payments, sale of goods, transport law, procurement and infrastructure development.  The UNCITRAL also provides technical assistance to law reform activities, including assisting Member States to review and assess their law reform needs and to draft the legislation required to implement UNCITRAL texts.  The UNCITRAL Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria, and maintains a website at www.uncitral.org .

For information, contact Jenny Clift, Senior Legal Officer, UNCITRAL Secretariat, e-mail:  jenny.clift@uncitral.org .

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