7 July 2006

UN Commission on International Trade Law Concludes 39th Session in New York

VIENNA, 7 July (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) concluded its 39th annual session in New York today. The main achievements of the session were the approval in principle of the key objectives and major policies of a draft legislative guide on secured transactions and adoption of revised legislative provisions on interim measures of protection and the form of the arbitration agreement.

The purpose of the draft legislative guide on secured transactions is to provide a legal framework that promotes access to low-cost secured credit. The draft legislative guide will address security rights in movable property, including inventory, equipment, receivables and other types of asset. The recommendations approved include: key objectives and scope of application, basic approaches to security, creation of the security right, effectiveness of the security right against third parties and registration, priority of the security right over the rights of competing claimants, pre-default rights and obligations of the parties, rights and obligations of third-party obligors, default and enforcement, insolvency, acquisition financing devices, conflict of laws and transitional arrangements.

The new provisions on arbitration reflect the need to align the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, concluded in 1985 and already adopted by some 50 States, with current practices in international trade, particularly with respect to the form in which arbitration agreements are concluded and the granting of interim measures of protection. These provisions, together with appropriate explanatory material, will significantly update the provisions of the Model Law and facilitate the use of arbitration as a method of settling disputes arising in the context of international commercial relations.

The Commission also adopted a recommendation regarding the interpretation of articles II (2) and VII (1) of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, dealing with the form of the arbitration agreement, which will greatly promote the uniform interpretation and application of the Convention.

With respect to future work on arbitration, the Commission gave priority to revision of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and consideration of the arbitrability of intra-corporate disputes (and possibly other issues relating to arbitrability for example in the fields of intellectual property rights, investment disputes, insolvency or unfair competition).

On the issue of electronic commerce, the Commission requested preparation of a study on authentication and cross-border recognition of electronic signatures for consideration at its next session in 2007.

The Working Group on Procurement reported on its ongoing revision of the 1994 Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services, to reflect new practices, in particular those that resulted from the use of electronic communications in public procurement. The Working Group on Transport Law reported on its development of a new international transport convention with multi-modal application, encompassing innovations such as electronic transport documents.

On the topic of insolvency law, the Commission agreed that a working group should consider the treatment of corporate groups in insolvency, including post-commencement finance, with work to promote practical experience on negotiating and using cross-border protocols in transnational insolvency cases to be developed informally in consultation with judges and insolvency practitioners.

The Commission welcomed the efforts and initiatives of its Secretariat aimed at increasing coordination and cooperation with other international organizations active in the field of international trade law, noting specific efforts in the fields of procurement and secured transactions. It also reiterated its commitment to fulfilling its mandate to ensure coordination with other international organizations and the forging of collaborative relationships to avoid duplication of work.


The Commission is composed of 60 Member States elected by the United Nations General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. Members of the Commission are elected for six-year terms.

Current members are: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (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. 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. UNCITRAL maintains a website at www.uncitral.org

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For information contact:

Jenny Clift, Senior Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
E-mail: jenny.clift@uncitral.org