The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the U.N. General Assembly by its Resolution 2205 (XXI) of 17 December 1966 "to promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law." UNCITRAL carries out its work at annual sessions held alternately in New York City and Vienna.
UNCITRAL is a subsidiary body of the U.N. General Assembly. It 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 international legislative texts for use by States in modernizing the law of international trade and non-legislative texts for use by commercial parties in negotiating transactions. UNCITRAL legislative texts address international sale of goods; international commercial dispute resolution, including both arbitration and conciliation; electronic commerce; insolvency, including cross-border insolvency; international transport of goods; international payments; procurement and infrastructure development; and security interests. Non-legislative texts include rules for conduct of arbitration and conciliation proceedings; notes on organizing and conducting arbitral proceedings; and legal guides on industrial construction contracts and countertrade.
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, as well as different geographic regions.
Member states includes 14 African states, 14 Asian states, 8 Eastern European states, 10 Latin American and Caribbean states, and 14 Western European states. The Commission member States are elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems. Members of the Commission are elected for terms of six years, the terms of half the members expiring every three years.
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