22 June 2007

UN Commission on International Trade Law to Hold 40th Session in Vienna, 25 June - 12 July 2007

UNCITRAL to celebrate 40th annual session with a congress on "Modern Law for Global Commerce"

VIENNA, 22 June (UN Information Service) -- The finalization and adoption of a draft legislative guide on secured transactions will be a key topic for consideration by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as it meets in Vienna, Austria, for its 40th session from 25 June - 12 July 2007. 

A Congress celebrating the 40th annual session of the Commission will be held on the last four days of the session from 9-12 July 2007. The Congress will provide an opportunity to review the working methods and achievements of UNCITRAL, as well as related work of other organizations active in the field of international trade law, assess on-going work and consider and evaluate topics for future work programmes.

Finalization and adoption of the draft UNCITRAL legislative guide on secured transactions and possible future work on security interests in intellectual property

The draft legislative guide on secured transactions deals with credit agreements between a credit institution and a business or individual, including consumers, in the context of which credit is extended while a security interest is given in a movable asset to secure the credit. The guide covers security interests in a wide array of assets, such as goods, equipment, inventory, receivables, bank accounts, letters of credit, negotiable instruments and negotiable documents, in a range of financing transactions, such as inventory and equipment financing, revolving credit financing, securitization and acquisition financing. The guide, which includes commentary and recommendations addressed to the legislator, could have a significant impact on the availability and the cost of credit to both businesses and individuals and thus on national and international trade. It could also result in alleviating the inequalities in the access to lower-cost credit between parties in developed countries and parties in developing countries, and in the share such parties have in the benefits of international trade. The guide, together with the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law, could also facilitate the provision of financing after the commencement of insolvency proceedings, the purpose of which is to reorganize the insolvent business, saving jobs and preserving the interests of small suppliers and other unsecured creditors, which should benefit the economy as a whole.

The Commission will also consider a report on a Colloquium on Security Interests in Intellectual Property Rights, which was held in Vienna on 18 and 19 January 2007, and suggestions for possible future work in the area of security interests in intellectual property.

Other topics to be discussed

The agenda for the meeting also includes progress reports from working groups, including:  revision of the 1994 Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services; preparation of a new international transport convention with multi-modal application, encompassing innovations such as electronic transport documents; revision of the 1976 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules; and on insolvency, treatment of corporate groups in insolvency and coordination and cooperation in international insolvency proceedings. The coordination of UNCITRAL's work with that of other international organizations, including in fields relating to secured transactions, procurement, transport law, insolvency law and arbitration, as well as potential future work on electronic commerce and commercial fraud are other key issues.

The status and promotion of UNCITRAL legal texts, technical cooperation and assistance to law reform, as well as the possible endorsement of the Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts, which complement a number of international trade law instruments, including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, are also scheduled for discussion.


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 terms of six years, the terms of half members expiring every three years.

Following elections on 22 May 2007, 30 new members will join the Commission at the commencement of the 40th session.  The full membership therefore will be: Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, 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, and 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