Remarks by John R. Arbogast, Counselor for Legal Affairs U.S. Mission to the United Nations on the Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

John R. Arbogast, Counselor for Legal Affairs
New York, NY
October 16, 2013


Mr. Chairman:

The United States wishes to commend the UNCITRAL Secretariat for its continuing work in promoting the harmonization of international trade law. The Report of the 46th session of the Commission reveals significant accomplishments during the past year.

We welcome the adoption of numerous instruments during the Commission’s 46th session. The UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration and the related revision of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules aim to make arbitrations involving a State, initiated under an investment treaty concluded after April 1, 2014, accessible to the public through publication of information regarding the commencement of the arbitration, key arbitration documents, open hearings, and participation by third parties. The UNCITRAL Guide on the Implementation of a Security Rights Registry provides commentary and recommendations on legal and practical issues that need to be addressed in a modern security rights registry. The guidance on procurement regulations to be promulgated in accordance with the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement and glossary of procurement-related terms used in that model law will provide assistance in the area of public procurement. Revisions to the Guide to Enactment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency are intended to address uncertainty that has arisen in the application of that model law and to provide valuable guidance to domestic courts. Part four of the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law provides a useful discussion of issues related to the responsibilities of directors of corporations that are in the vicinity of insolvency.

The Report also details the ongoing and new work in the various UNCITRAL working groups. Working Group I will focus on the reduction of legal obstacles faced by micro, small and medium sized enterprises throughout their life cycle, particularly in developing countries. Working Group II is preparing a convention on the application of the new Rules on Transparency to investor-State arbitrations initiated under investment treaties. Working Group III will continue to draft generic procedural rules for online dispute resolution for the resolution of disputes arising from cross-border electronic commerce. Working Group IV will continue to consider the electronic transferability of rights. Working Group V is in the process of clarifying how it might proceed with enterprise group issues and other issues. Working Group VI will continue its work on a model law on secured transactions.

In light of the financial situation affecting UNCITRAL and its member states, the United States provided a paper, A/CN.9/789, encouraging members to consider many aspects of the operation of UNCITRAL. The United States is pleased that the Commission did begin the process of considering whether changes are needed to the processes by which UNCITRAL operates. In particular, the United States is pleased that the Commission discussed criteria to be addressed when considering projects to be undertaken by UNCITRAL and that the Commission acknowledged various tools through which it can introduce flexibility, and perhaps greater efficiency, in its working methods, such as through the use of experts or special rapporteurs. Moreover, the United States is pleased that the Commission realized the benefits of substantive cooperation with other organizations such as the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) and the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and looks forward to the Secretariat’s forthcoming report on possible joint projects with these organizations. We also look forward to continued discussion of reform measures that could help maximize UNCITRAL’s ability to accomplish more using its limited resources and ensure a focus on the highest-priority projects.

The Report highlights the important role of UNCITRAL in furthering the broader rule of law agenda of the UN. We continue to believe that, through the practical mechanism of international instruments designed to harmonize international trade law, UNCITRAL contributes in a very concrete manner to promotion of the rule of law internationally. We think that UNCITRAL deserves recognition for this contribution.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2013/181