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ICC Calls For Voluntary Rules On Electronic Contracts

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

18 September 2003


The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) revealed this week that it has begun drafting voluntary rules designed to help companies negotiate contracts electronically, arguing that a draft convention tabled by the United Nations Conference on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) which will be considered at a forthcoming conference in November is not the way forward.

In a statement released on Monday, The ICC revealed that misgivings cited by businesses with regard to the proposed UNCITRAL convention included inflexibility, doubts about its ability to cater to a rapidly evolving e-business environment, and the strong possibility that it will take many years to become law.

The ICC's 'E-Terms 2004' is expected to be available for use by companies in June 2004. The voluntary rules will be submitted to UNCITRAL's November meeting, alongside the draft convention.

Speaking with regard to the real and imagined problems associated with e-contracting, ICC's policy manager, Jonas Astrup acknowledged that:

'The danger is that people may click themselves into a contract by mistake, and we have to find a way to exclude that possibility. Doubts about the authenticity and validity of electronic signatures must also be overcome.'


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