Thursday, February 11

Message to the Senate: The UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to certain declarations and understandings, I transmit herewith the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (Convention), done at New York on November 23, 2005, and entered into force on March 1, 2013. The report of the Secretary of State, which includes an overview of the Convention, is enclosed for the information of the Senate.

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The Convention sets forth modern rules validating and facilitating the use of electronic communications in international business transactions. The Convention will promote legal uniformity and predictability, and thereby lower costs, for U.S. businesses engaged in electronic commerce.

The Convention's provisions are substantively similar to State law enactments in the United States of the 1999 Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and to the governing Federal law, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, Public Law 106-229 (June 30, 2000). Consistent with the Federal law, all States have enacted laws containing the same basic rules on electronic commerce, whether based on UETA or on functionally equivalent provisions. The Federal statute allows States that enact UETA, or equivalent standards, to be subject to their State law, and not the corresponding provisions of the Federal law.

The United States proposed and actively participated in the negotiation of the Convention at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. Accession by the United States can be expected to encourage other countries to become parties to the Convention, and having a greater number of parties to the Convention should facilitate electronic commerce across borders.

The Convention would be implemented through Federal legislation to be proposed separately to the Congress by my Administration.

The Convention has been endorsed by leading associations and organizations in this area, including the American Bar Association and the United States Council on International Business. The United States Government worked closely with the Uniform Law Commission regarding the negotiation and domestic implementation of the Convention.

I recommend, therefore, that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to certain understandings and declarations.


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