International trade secretariat

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 "to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law." The UNCITRAL Secretariat has its seat in Vienna (Austria).

UNCITRAL drafted the 1976 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, the 1980 United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) and the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

UNCITRAL's original membership comprised 29 states,and was expanded to 36 in 1973, and again to 60 in 2002. Member states of UNCITRAL are representing different legal traditions and levels of economic development, just as various geographic regions. States includes 14 African states ,14 Asian states, 8 Eastern European States, 10 Latin American and Caribbean, 14 Western European States.

The methods of work is organized at three levels. The first level is UNCITRAL itself (The Commission), which holds an annual plenary session. The second level is the intergovernmental working groups (which is developing the topics on UNCITRAL's work program. The third level is The Secretariat, which assists the other two in the preparation and conduct of their work.

Uncitral is:

  • Coordinating the work of organizations active in this field and encouraging cooperation among tham.
  • Promoting wilder participation in existing international conventions and wider acceptance of existing model and uniform laws.
  • Preparing or promoting the adoption of new international conventions, model laws and uniform laws and promoting the codification and wider acceptance of international trade terms, provisions, customs and practice, in collaboration, where appropriate, with the organizations operating in this field.
  • Promoting ways and means of ensuring a uniform interpretation and application of international conventions and uniform laws in the field of the law of international trade.
  • Collecting and disseminating information on national legislation and modern legal developments, including case law, in the filed of the law of international trade.
  • Establishing and maintaining a close collaboration owith the UN Conference on Trade and development.
  • Maintaining liaison with other UN organs and specialized agencies concerned with international trade.
  • Taking any other action it may deem useful to fulfil its functions.


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