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    UNIS/L/155
    14 July 2011

    UN Commission on International Trade Law Concludes 44th Session in Vienna

    UNCITRAL adopts texts on procurement and insolvency, establishes pilot regional centre, and confirms commitment to meeting in Vienna and New York

    VIENNA, 13 July (UN Information Service) - On 8 July 2011, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) concluded its 44th annual session.

    Finalization and adoption of texts

    During the session, the Commission adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement, which updates the 1994 UNCITRAL Model Law on Procurement of Goods, Construction and Services.

    The Commission also adopted "The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: the judicial perspective", a text designed to provide information and guidance for judges on cross-border related insolvency issues.

    Future work

    At its 45th session in 2012, the Commission will undertake an ambitious program, focusing on work by Working Group VI (Security Interests) on a security rights registry guide and work by Working Group I (Procurement) on a guide to enactment to accompany the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement. Work in the areas of transparency in treaty-based investor-State arbitration, online dispute resolution and cross-border insolvency will continue.

    During this session, the Commission also decided to reconvene Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce), which has not met since 2004 and to task it with work in the field of electronic transferable records. The final product of this work is intended to complement existing UNCITRAL texts in the field of electronic commerce and will also be beneficial for the implementation of other UNCITRAL texts, such as the "Rotterdam Rules".

    UNCITRAL regional centres pilot project

    At its 42nd session, the Commission requested that the UNCITRAL Secretariat explore the possibility of establishing a presence in regions or specific countries by, for example, having dedicated project staff in United Nations field offices, collaborating with such existing field offices or establishing Commission country offices with a view to facilitating the provision of technical assistance with respect to the use and adoption of Commission texts.

    In accordance with that request, the Secretariat invited Member States of the United Nations to express their interest in establishing UNCITRAL regional centres in different parts of the world, particularly in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Once established, UNCITRAL regional centres, envisaged as project-based offices, will enhance international trade and development by promoting certainty in international commercial transactions through the dissemination of international trade norms and standards, in particular those elaborated by UNCITRAL. Bearing in mind the limited availability of resources, the regional centres will also engage actively in fund-raising activities for their operation and activities.

    There was broad support in the Commission for the initiative undertaken by the Secretariat, which was considered a novel yet important step for the Commission in reaching out and providing technical assistance to developing countries.

    As of 8 July 2011, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Kenya, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Singapore have formally expressed an interest in hosting an UNCITRAL regional centre. During this session, the Commission was informed of a specific offer from the Government of the Republic of Korea for the establishment and operation of an UNCITRAL regional centre in Incheon, Republic of Korea. After expressing its gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its generous contribution to this pilot project, the Commission approved the establishment of an "UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific" in the Republic of Korea.

    Place of future meetings

    During the session, the Commission considered a cost-saving proposal from the Secretary-General to hold all sessions of UNCITRAL and its working groups in Vienna. In response, the Commission proposed reducing the time budgeted for meetings of UNCITRAL and its working groups from fifteen to fourteen weeks, a proposal that would achieve roughly the same cost-savings. The Commission unanimously supported maintaining the long-standing practice of holding sessions alternately in Vienna and New York.

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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, security interests, 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:

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