For information only - not an official document
8 July 2010
Singapore Ratifies the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts
VIENNA, 8 July (UN Information Service) - With its ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (the Electronic Communications Convention), Singapore becomes the second State Party to the Convention.
The Electronic Communications Convention aims to enhance legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in relation to international contracts. It addresses, among other things, the determination of a party's location in an electronic environment; the time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic communications; the use of automated message systems for contract formation; and the criteria to be used for establishing functional equivalence between electronic communications and paper documents - including "original" paper documents - as well as between electronic authentication methods and hand-written signatures.
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.
At the ceremony that took place during the Commission session in New York on 7 July, the Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations, Vanu Gopala Menon said that Singapore recognized the importance of electronic commerce and the use of electronic communications in the development of world trade and that as such, it has been among those states which have been at the forefront of implementing laws relating to electronic commerce and ICT. Mr. Menon said: "I am pleased that Singapore is now among the first in the world to ratify the Convention. The Convention sets a new global standard for national electronic commerce legislation and will remove barriers to cross-border electronic commerce arising from disharmony in national electronic commerce legislation. We hope to see a wide adoption of the Convention so as to achieve harmonisation of electronic commerce legislation amongst countries."
The Electronic Communications Convention is open indefinitely for ratification and accession. It will enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of six months after the date of deposit of the third instrument of ratification or accession. Further information on the Convention is available on the UNCITRAL website.
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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