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Progressive Development of the Law of International Trade:
Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1966

Introduction

I. The law of international trade

A. Concept of "law of international trade"

B. Legal techniques used to reduce conflicts and divergencies

1. Choice of Law Rules

2. Harmonization and Unification of Substantive Rules

C. Development of the law of international trade

1. Similarity

2. Application

3. Formulation

II. Survey of the work in the field of harmonization and unification of the law of international trade

A. Inter-governmental organizations

1. The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law

2. The Hague Conference on Private International Law

3. The League of Nations

(a) The Geneva Conventions on the unification of the law relating to bills of exchange (1930) and to cheques (1931)

(b) The Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses of 1923  27  and the Geneva Convention on the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1927  28 

4. The United Nations

(a) The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958  29 

(b) Industrial property legislation

(c) United Nations regional economic commissions

(i) Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
a. The ECE General Conditions of Sale and Standard Forms of Contract
b. European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration
(ii) Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE)
(iii) Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA)
(iv) Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

(d) United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

(e) Centre for Industrial Development

5. The United Nations Specialized Agencies

(a) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

(b) Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO)

(c) The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

6. United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI)

B. Regional inter-governmental organizations and groupings

1. The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA)*

2. The European Economic Community (EEC)

3. The European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

4. The Latin American Countries

(a) Unification of conflict rules

(b) International commercial arbitration

(d) Other activities

5. The Council of Europe

6. The Benelux Countries

7. The Nordic Council

8. The Organization of African Unity (OAU)

9. The Asian-African Legal Consultative Committee

C. Non-governmental organizations

1. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

(a) The Court of Arbitration

(b) Incoterms 1953

(c) Uniform customs and practice for documentary credits

2. The International Maritime Committee (IMC)

3. The International Association of Legal Science

4. The International Law Association (ILA)

5. The Institute of International Law

D. Summary: main areas of harmonization and unification

III. Methods, approaches and topics suitable for the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade

A. Methods

B. Approaches

C. Suitable topics

IV. Role of the United Nations in the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade

A. Progress and shortcomings of the work in the field of harmonization and unification of the law of international trade

B. Desirable action to remedy the existing shortcomings

C. Role of the United Nations

1. Is the Unification and Harmonization of the Law of International Trade an Appropriate Subject for United Nations Action?

2. Would a United Nations Participation in this Activity Unnecessarily Duplicate the Work of Existing Agencies and Reduce or Abolish their Usefulness?

3. Would the United Nations be in a Position to Make a Significant Contribution to Furthering Unification on A World-Wide Scale or Otherwise?

4. Should the Functions of the United Nations be Confined to Co-Ordination or Should they Also Encompass Formulation?

5. Is There a Realistic Chance of Success or is the Task too Diffficult for Tangible Results?

D. Establishment of a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

E. Financial implications of the establishment of a United Nations commission on international trade law

Endnotes

Endnotes

Endnotes

Metadata

SiSU Metadata, document information

Manifest

SiSU Manifest, alternative outputs etc.

Progressive Development of the Law of International Trade: Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1966

copy @ Lex Mercatoria

Endnotes

 1. Ibid., Nineteenth Session, Annexes, annex No. 2, document A/5728.

 2. Ibid., Twentieth Session, Annexes, agenda item 92, document A/C.6/L.572, para. 3. 1...]

 3. See Hilding Eek, The Swedish Conflicts of Laws (The Hague, Nijhoff, 1965), p. 272.

 4. As the representative of China observed, ". . . should the various countries succeed in enacting uniform rules of substantive law, the rules of private international law would no longer be relevant since those rules presupposed that municipal laws would remain intact and merely sought to mitigate the disadvantages arising from them." He recalled "Beckett's comment that private international law was in a sense the antithesis of the universal unification of law. Its raison d'etre was the existence in different systems of law ... both the process of codification of private international law and that of unification of private law were designed to promote international trade, provided they advanced by degrees and did not turn out to have aims which were incompatible." (See Official Records of the General Assembly, Twentieth Session, Sixth Committee, 895th meeting, paras. 13 and 15.)

 5. See e.g., Gerard de Malynes' Lex Mercatoria, first published in 1636.

 6. Preceded by the Ordonnance sur le commerce of Louis XIV of 1673 and Colbert's Ordonnance de la marine of 1681.

 7. Preceded by the Allgemeine Wechselordnung of 1848. The Allgemeine Handelsgesetzbuch of 1861 is still in operation in Austria; in Germany it was superseded by the Handelsgesetzbuch of 1897.

 8. See T.F.T. Plucknett, A Concise History of the Common Law, 4th ed., (London, Butterworth, 1948), p. 332.

 9. See Clive M. Schmitthoff, "The Law of International Trade, Its Growth, Formulation and Operation" in The Sources of the Law of International Trade with special reference to East-West Trade, edited by Clive M. Schmitthoff (New York, Praeger, 1964), p. 3.

 10. See Henryk Trammer, "The Law of Foreign Trade in the Legal Systems of the Countries of Planned Economy," ibid., p. 42.

 11. See Clive M. Schmitthoff, "The Law of International Trade, Its Growth, Formulation and Operation," ibid., p. 4.

 12. See Aleksandar Goldstajn, "International Conventions and Standard Contracts as Means of Escaping from the Application of Municipal Law," ibid., p. 109.

 13. Austra, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Holy See, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Roumania, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Republic, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

 14. For analyses and comments on The Hague Conventions, see e.g. Philippe Kahn, "La Convention de la Haye du ler juillet 1964 portant loi uniforme sur la vente internationale des objets mobiliers corporels" in Revue trimestrielle de droit commercial (Paris). vol. 17, 1964, p. 45; John Honnold. "The Uniform Law for the International Sale of Goods: The Hague Convention of 1964" in Law and Contemporary Problems (Durham, North Carolina), vol. 30, 1965, p. 326; Harold Berman, "The Uniform Law on International Sale of Goods: A Constructive Critique," ibid., p. 354; Gunnar Lagergren, "The Uniform Law on Formation of Contracts for the International Sale of Goods" in Journal of Business Law (London, 1966), p. 22; Ernst von Caemmerer, "Internationales Kaufrecht" in Festschrift fur Hans Carl Nipperdey... (Munich, Beck, 1955), p. 211; Andre Tunc, Commentary of The Hague Convention of I July 1964 on the International Sale of Goods and on the Formation of Contracts of Sale (The Hague, Ministry of Justice 1966); Jorge Barrera Graf, La Reglamentacion uniforme de las compraventas internacionales de mercaderfas (Mexico, D.F., Universidad Nacional Autonoma, 1965).

 15. See Antonio Malintoppi, ' The Uniformity of Interpretation of International Conventions on Uniform Laws and of Standard Contracts," in Schmitthoff, op. cit., pp. 127-137.

 16. The record of the IIIrd Meeting may be found in Unification of Law: Yearbook, 1963 (Rome, Editions Unidroit, 1964).

 17. See "Utilite de rendre obligatoires pour tous les Etats, sous la forme d'un ou de plusieurs traites internationaux, un certain nombre de regles generales du droit international prive, pour assurer la decision uniforme des conflits entre les differentes legislations civiles et criminelles" in Revue de droit international, (Paris), vol. 7, 1931, p. 329.

 18. The decision to convene this first Conference owed much to the initiative of Tobias Asser, who subsequently served as President of the first four Hague Conferences (1893, 1894, 1900, 1904) .

 19. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 220 (1955), No. 2997, p. 121.

 20. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

 21. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 510 (1964), No. 7411, p. 147.

 22. See G.C. Cheshire, "International Contracts for the Sale of Goods," in Journal of Business Law (London, 1960), p. 285.

 23. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 286 (1958), No. 4173, p. 265.

 24. Ibid., vol. 527 (1965), No. 7625, p. 189.

 25. League of Nations, Treaty Series, vol. CXLIII (1933-1934), No. 3313, p. 257; No. 3314, p. 317; No. 3315, p. 337.

 26. Ibid., vol CXLIII (1933-1934), No. 3301, p. 7; No. 3316, p. 355; No. 3317, p. 407.

 27. Ibid., vol. XXVII (1924), No. 678, p. 157.

 28. Ibid., vol. XCII (1929-1930), No. 2096, p. 301.

 29. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 330 (1959), No. 4739, p. 3.

 30. For analysis and comments on the Convention, see e.g. Paolo Contini, "International Commercial Arbitration - The United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards" in American Journal of Comparative Law (Ann Arbor), vol. 8, 1959, p. 283; Samuel Pisar, "The United Nations Convention on Foreign Arbitral Awards" in Journal of Business Law (London, 1959), p. 219.

 31. The Role of Patents in the Transfer of Technology to Developing Countries (United Nations publication, Sales No.: 65.11.B.I).

 32. BIRPI publication 801 (E), Geneva, 1965.

 33. See note by the Secretary-General of the United Nations (E/4078, annex A).

 34. See Peter Benjamin, "The ECE General Conditions of Sale and Standard Form of Contract" in Journal of Business Law (London, 1961), p. 119.

 35. On the difference between these two sets, see "East-West Trade and UN ECE Conditions" in Journal of Business Law (London, 1965), p. 100.

 36. See Peter Benjamin, op.cit., p. 123.

 37. Ibid., p. 116.

 38. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 484 (1963-1964), No. 7041, p. 349.

 39. See David A. Godwin Sarre, "European Commercial Arbitration" in Journal of Business Law (London, 1961), p. 352.

 40. United Nations publication, Sales No.: 66.11.E/Mim.4.

 41. See document E/CN.11/721, para. 54.

 42. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 455, (1963), No. 6543, p. 3.

 43. The Nomenclature for the Classification of Goods in Customs Tariffs was elaborated by the Customs Co-operation Council, which was established as an inter-governmental organization on 15 December 1950, in Brussels. The Brussels Nomenclature has been introduced in seventy-five countries.

 44. See document TD/B/18.

 45. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 478 (1963). No. 6943. p. 371.

 46. Ibid., vol. 500 (1964), No. 7305, p. 31.

 47. Ibid., vol. 15 (1948), No. 102, p. 295.

 48. See K. Grzybowski, The Socialist Commonwealth of Nations, Organisations and Institutions (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1964), p. 67.

 49. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 368 (1960), No. 5245, p. 253.

 50. Ibid., p. 264.

 51. See Trajan lonasco and lon Nestor, "The Limits of Party Autonomy" in Schmitthoff, op. cit., p. 170.

 52. See Viktor Knapp, "The Function, Organization and Activities of Foreign Trade Corporations in the European Socialist Countries." in Schmitthoff. op. cit., p. 68.

 53. Ibid.

 54. See K. Grzybowski, op. cit., p. 106; see also 1. Vajda "Linking East and West', in The Times (London), 4 March 1966.

 55. United Nations, Treaty Senes, vol. 298 (1958), No. 4300, p. 3.

 56. Ibid., vol. 370 (1960), No. 5266, p. 3.

 57. Finland has concluded an Agreement of Association with EFTA (27 March 1961). This Agreement was extended to Liechtenstein by means of a Protocol concluded between the Member States of EFTA and Finland on the one hand and Liechtenstein on the other (27 March 1961). Ibid., vol. 420 (1962), No. 6043, p. 109.

 58. See G.A.L. Droz, "L'harmonisation des regles de conflits de lois et de jurisdictions dans les groupes regionaux d'Etats," in Rapports generaux aux VIe Congres international de droit compare (Hamburg, 30 july-4 August 1962), p. 399.

 59. Uniform Law on International Commercial Arbitration, Second draft, document CIJ20-A. Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., 1955.

 60. Final Act of the Third Meeting of the Inter-American Council of Jurists, document CIJ-29. Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., 1956.

 61. Draft Convention on a Uniform Law on the International Sale of Tangible Personal Property, document CIJ-46. Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., 1960.

 62. United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 87 (1951), No. 1168, p. 103.

 63. Ibid., vol. 218 (1955), No. 2952, p. 27.

 64. Ibid., vol. 218 (1955), No. 2953, p. 51.

 65. Ibid., vol. 523 (1965), No. 7555, p. 93.

 66. League of Nations, Treaty Series, vol. CXXXIX (1933-1934), No. 3209, p. 165.

 67. Ibid., vol. CLV (1934-1935), No. 3574, p. 115.

 68. International Chamber of Commerce, Rules of Conciliation and Arbitration (Paris, 1955).

 69. International Chamber of Commerce, Guide to /CC Arbitration (Paris, 1963), p. 11.

 70. Ibid., pp. 9-10.

 71. International Chamber of Commerce, Incoterms 1953 (Paris 1953/1954), p. 8.

 72. By Gunnar Lagergren in the Introduction to Frederic Eisemann's Die Incoterms in Handel und Verkehr (Vienna, GOF-Verlag, 1963), p. ix.

 73. For listings of the countries and territories concerned, see ICC document 470/INT.79 (19 April 1966).

 74. See Clive M. Schmitthoff, The Export Trade, 4th ed. (London, Stevens and Sons, 1962), pp. 211 ff.

 75. See A.N. Yiannopoulos, "The Unification of Private Maritime Law by International Conventions," in Law and Contemporary Problems (Durham, North Carolina, 1965), vol. 30, pp. 370, 372-3 (foot-notes omitted).

 76. See P. Chauveau, "L'unification du droit maritime et le C.M.I.," in Revue trimestrielle de droit commercial (Paris), vol. 16, 1963, p. 137.

 77. League of Nations, Treaty Series, vol. CXX (1931-1932), No. 2764, p. 155.

 78. Harold J. Berman and others, Aspects juridiques du commerce avec les pays d'economie planifiee (Paris, Librairie generale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, 1961); Some Problems of Non-Performance and Force Majeure in International Contracts of Sale, edited by H.E. Jokela (Helsinki, Institute of Comparative Law at the University of Helsinki, 1961); The Sources of the Law of International Trade with special reference to East-West Trade, edited by Clive M. Schmitthoff (New York, Praeger, 1964); and L'unification du droit de la vente internationale, edited by John Honnold (in preparation).

 79. See N.V. Boeg, "The International Law Association" in Liber Amicorum of Congratulations to Algor Bagge... (Stockholm, Norstedt, 1956).

 80. International Law Association, Report of the 50th Conference, (Brussels, 1962), pp.lii to lxvii.

 81. BIRPI publication 801 (E), Geneva, 1965.

 82. See Andre Tune, "English and Continental Commercial Law" in Journal of Business Law, (London, 1961), p. 246.

 83. Ibid., p. 240.

 84. As the representative of Hungary said, "It was particularly important for them [the developing countries] that the law of international trade should be updated and guarantee the highest security so that they would not be at the mercy of more experienced trade partners." (See Official Records of the General Assembly, Twentieth Session, Sixth Committee, 89th meeting, para. 8.)

 85. The technique of law reception is not a phenomenon which relates solely to the recent history of newly independent States. The legal systems of some countries or territories which in the past were dependencies of European States are still influenced by the law of the former colonial Powers. Thus the law in almost all states of the United States is derived from English law; many Latin-American States have received Spanish law; the Province of Quebec in Canada and the State of Louisiana in the United States have received French law. Furthermore, as between sovereign States the problem of adaptation to modern conditions has sometimes been dealt with by the same technique of law reception. Thus, for example, modern Greek and Japanese law have received German law and modern Turkish law has received Swiss law.

 86. See A.N. Allott, "Towards the Unification of Laws in Africa," in International and Comparative Law Quarterly (London), vol. 14, 1965, p. 389.

 87. See H.C. Gutteridge, Comparative Law, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, University Press, 1949), pp. 183-184.

 88. The representative of the Netherlands said, "The United Nations was already in the middle of the Development Decade, while the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development had initiated an ambitious programme of co-operation for economic development and the expansion of international trade. It was therefore important that the development of the law should not lag behind technical progress and material achievements ...". (See Official Records of the Ceneral Assembly, Twentieth Session, Sixth Committee, 896th meeting, para. 13).


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