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Tuvalu accedes to the UN Electronic Communications Convention

Tuvalu has acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (2005) (the “Electronic Communications Convention”). With its accession to the Electronic Communications Convention, Tuvalu becomes the seventeenth State Party to the Convention. It will enter into force for Tuvalu on 8 June 2023.

The Electronic Communications Convention aims to enhance legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in international contracts. For instance, it provides criteria for establishing functional equivalence between electronic communications and paper documents with respect to legal requirements such as “writing”, “original” and “signature”, building upon legal principles and provisions contained in other UNCITRAL texts on electronic commerce, such as the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, already adopted in some 160 jurisdictions across more than 80 countries.

Another goal pursued by the Electronic Communications Convention is removing legal obstacles to the use of electronic communications that may arise from the terms of treaties concluded before the widespread use of electronic media, including the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 1958 (the “New York Convention”) and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, 1980 (“CISG”).

The UNCITRAL secretariat, including through its Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, is cooperating with the Government of Tuvalu on the establishment of an enabling legal framework for digital trade. This exercise takes place in the framework of a broader effort for building digital resilience in the Pacific carried out in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, among others.

Further information about the Electronic Communications Convention is available on the UNCITRAL website: https://uncitral.un.org/en/texts/ecommerce/conventions/electronic_communications.
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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, 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 uncitral.un.org.

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