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68. U.S. statement to Sixth Committee on work of UNCITRAL (Oct. 23, 2007)

The United States is pleased again to be able to support the work of the Commission on International Trade Law. The Commission has continued its technical and non-politicized approach to commercial and economic law reform, and has focused on promotion of commerce in all geographic regions and for states at all levels of development. The Commission and its Working Groups throughout their work in 2006 continued to recognize that, despite liberalization of trade through international agreements, the failure to also upgrade commercial laws has meant that trade liberalization is less effective and its benefits do not reach as many sectors as it might. The Commission’s work continues to help close that gap and reflects the practical achievements possible within the UN system.

The principal achievement at the 2006 Plenary session was partial approval of the draft Legislator’s Guide on secured finance reform. The remainder of the Guide is expected to be concluded at a second meeting of the Plenary Session scheduled for mid-December of this year in Vienna. The Guide will have over 200 legislative recommendations, which is a very significant achievement in an area considered by many international financial institutions to be the front-line area for law reform to boost economic development in less developed and emerging states.

We also support the continued progress in the other Working Groups, including upgrading procurement practices for electronic commerce; modernizing commercial arbitration rules; and seeking solutions to the treatment of corporate groups and promoting protocols on cross-border cooperation in bankruptcy cases. The Commission’s Working Group III is moving toward finalizing a multilateral treaty on carriage of goods which offers an opportunity to harmonize an area of trade law that has lacked that for over eighty years. In that regard, we think it very important to maintain the Working Group’s decision to allow certain parties the right to freely negotiate terms of carriage so as to both mirror existing maritime practices and reflect modern commercial law.

We note that at this year’s UN treaty event, additional states have signed the Commission’s Convention on electronic commerce, which will promote modern laws to enhance the growth of internet commerce and other areas of electronic commerce. The US supports the Convention’s provisions and its market-based approach to laws enabling e-commerce without overly regulating the field.

Coordination remains an important focus, and we support the continuing work in cross-border business insolvency law toward a merger of the insolvency legislative recommendations concluded by this Commission and approved by the UNGA and parallel recommendations prepared by the World Bank with the goal of producing a single standard to be adopted by the Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The United States welcomes the Commission’s continued efforts concerning the growing problem of commercial fraud in a number of sectors, such as banking and finance, cross-border bankruptcy, maritime cargo documentation, and other sectors. This work which does not fall conveniently into the core area of activity of any existing UN body should continue to be undertaken in coordination with UNODC and other UN bodies as appropriate.

Finally, we note that the Commission, while doubling the number of its active Working Groups and projects, enhancing its outreach through innovative websites, and upgrading its technical assistance programs has remained within its existing budget. We support the efficiency and management approach that has made that possible. In line with that, we support the ongoing discussion of ways to clarify the Commission’s working methods, and support the substantial majority who welcome guidelines but wish to avoid overly detailed rules.


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