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UNIS/L/287
11 November 2019

Benin accedes to the UN Electronic Communications Convention and the Rotterdam Rules

VIENNA, 11 November 2019 (UN Information Service) - Benin has acceded to both the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (2005) (the "Electronic Communications Convention") and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (2008) (the "Rotterdam Rules").

With its accession to the Electronic Communications Convention, Benin becomes the twelfth State Party to the Convention. It will enter into force for Benin on 1 June 2020.

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 150 jurisdictions across more than 70 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") - both of which Benin is a State Party to. Further information about the Electronic Communications Convention is available on the UNCITRAL website: https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/ecommerce/conventions/electronic_communications.

Benin has also acceded to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (2008) (the "Rotterdam Rules").

The Rotterdam Rules were adopted by the General Assembly on 11 December 2008 to establish a uniform and modern global legal regime governing the rights and obligations of stakeholders in the maritime transport industry under a single contract for door-to-door carriage. The Rotterdam Rules builds upon, and provides a modern alternative to, earlier conventions governing the international carriage of goods by sea, as well as codifying important industry practice. The Rotterdam Rules provide a legal framework that accounts for the many technological and commercial developments that have taken place in maritime transport since the adoption of the earlier conventions, including the growth of containerization, the need for door-to-door transport under a single contract of carriage and the development of electronic commerce. Further information on the Rotterdam Rules is available on the UNCITRAL website: https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/transportgoods/conventions/rotterdam_rules.  

Benin has become the fifth State Party to that Convention, which will enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of one year after the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

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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 https://uncitral.un.org/ .

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For more information please contact:

José Angelo  Estrella Faria  
Principal Legal Officer and Head, Legislative Branch  
UNCITRAL Secretariat  
Email: joseangelo.estrella-faria[at]un.org