23 January 2023
VIENNA, 23 January (UN Information Service) – Belize has acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (2005) (the “Electronic Communications Convention”). With its accession to the Electronic Communications Convention, Belize becomes the eighteenth State Party to the Convention. It will enter into force for Belize on 1 August 2023.
The Electronic Communications Convention aims to enhance legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in international contracts. For instance, it provides criteria for establishing functional equivalence between electronic communications and paper documents with respect to legal requirements such as "writing", "original" and "signature", building upon legal principles and provisions contained in other UNCITRAL texts on electronic commerce, such as the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, already adopted in some 160 jurisdictions across more than 80 countries.
Another goal pursued by the Electronic Communications Convention is removing legal obstacles to the use of electronic communications that may arise from the terms of treaties concluded before the widespread use of electronic media, including the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 1958 (the "New York Convention") and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, 1980 ("CISG").
The Government of Belize and the UNCITRAL Secretariat are cooperating on the establishment of an enabling legislative environment for digital trade in Belize. An earlier product of this cooperation was the adoption of the Electronic Transactions Act in 2021, which enacts, among others, the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records.
Further information about the Electronic Communications Convention is available on the UNCITRAL website: https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/ecommerce/conventions/electronic_communications
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, and maintains a website at uncitral.un.org.
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For information, please contact:
José Angelo Estrella Faria
Principal Legal Officer and Head, Legislative Branch
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