Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    UNIS/L/159
    26 January 2012

    New UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific opens in Republic of Korea

    VIENNA, 26 January (United Nations Information Service) - International trade and development in the Asia-Pacific Region will be enhanced with the opening of the first regional office by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) earlier this month in the Republic of Korea. The Regional Centre in Incheon will disseminate information on international trade norms and standards and deal with requests for technical assistance in the Asia-Pacific Region which have been increasing steeply in recent years.

    The centre was opened on 10 January 2012 by the Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs of the United Nations, Patricia O'Brien, who emphasized the importance of the principle of the rule of law and the role of the Regional Centre in enhancing international trade and development in the Asia-Pacific Region: "Respect for the rule of law is also a key factor in sustaining economic progress and development. In that context, UNCITRAL plays a key role in the promotion of the rule of law by providing internationally acceptable rules in the field of commercial law and supporting the enactment of those rules." (The full text of her speech is available at: http://untreaty.un.org/ola/media/info_from_lc/POB%20Incheon-Welcome%20Address.pdf) More than 150 people attended the opening ceremony including the Korean Minister of Justice, Kwon Jae-Jin and the Mayor of Incheon, Song Young-gil, representing the project's two main donors, the Secretary of UNCITRAL and ambassadors, government officials, diplomats, academics and legal practitioners from all parts of the region and all the geographic regions represented at the United Nations. The opening programme concluded with the signing of key agreements and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially launch the Centre. The ceremony was followed by a regional workshop in which panellists discussed the role of the Regional Centre and the significance of UNCITRAL texts in the region.

    The new Regional Centre in Incheon is the first one of its kind for UNCITRAL and there are several proposals for such centres in other parts of the world. As the Commission noted at its forty-fourth session in July 2011 when approving the establishment of the Regional Centre, this marks a novel yet important first step for UNCITRAL in reaching out and providing technical assistance to States in the region.

    Additional information about the Regional Centre is currently available at http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/tac/regionalcentre.html.

    ***

    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.

    * *** *

    For information contact:

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

    Hanjo Kim
    Legal Expert
    UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific
    Email: hanjo.kim[at]uncitral.org