For information only - not an official document

1 March 2013

The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts Enters into Force on 1 March 2013

VIENNA, 1 March (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts entered into force on 1 March 2013. The Convention aims at enhancing legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in relation to international contracts. Hence, its adoption by States would provide a significant contribution to trade facilitation through the creation of an enabling environment for paperless trade.

The goals of the Electronic Communications Convention include: removing legal obstacles to the use of electronic communications that may arise from the terms of international agreements concluded before the widespread use of electronic media; fostering the modernization and harmonization of existing e-commerce legislation; and providing jurisdictions that have not yet adopted laws on electronic transactions with a modern set of rules for both domestic and international application.

Thus, for instance, the adoption of the Electronic Communications Convention removes any doubt about the acceptability of using electronic communications to satisfy written form requirements arising under 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 (the "CISG"). The Convention also contains a provision on the cross-border recognition of electronic signatures.

The Dominican Republic, Honduras and Singapore are States parties to the Electronic Communications Convention. Sixteen other States have signed the Convention and several other States, including Australia, have started the consultation and review procedure for becoming a party to the Electronic Communications Convention. The Convention is open indefinitely for accession and ratification.

Further information on the Convention is available on the UNCITRAL website at


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.

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For information contact:

Timothy Lemay
Principal Legal Officer
UNCITRAL Secretariat
Email: timothy.lemay[at]