United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

The official mission of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), which was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1966, is to "promote the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law" through conventions, model laws, and other legal instruments that deal with important facets of business, such as dispute resolution and the buying and selling of goods.

UNCITRAL conducts its business at yearly sessions that alternate between Vienna, where it is headquartered, and New York City, New York, USA.

What is International Trade Law?

The country's government uses international trade law as a tool to regulate and impose trade sanctions. International trade law is focused on adapting domestic laws to international trade laws and on implementing international trade law that is based on treaties.


UNCITRAL stands for United Nations Commission on International Trade Law −

  • In the area of international trade law, it is the central legal institution of the United Nations system.

  • With the understanding that "international economic cooperation among States is an important factor in the fostering of friendly relations and, accordingly, in the maintenance of peace and security," UNCITRAL was created in 1966.

  • Its business is to modernize and harmonize the laws governing transnational commerce.

  • UNCITRAL has 60 members who are chosen to serve terms of six years: 14 from Asia, 14 from Africa, 10 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 8 from Eastern Europe, and 14 from Western Europe and other countries.

The organization's guiding principle is that participation in global trade helps all of its constituents. Global economic interdependence is growing, and UNCITRAL wants to support and facilitate global commerce by gradually harmonizing and updating the law of international trade.

Its scope of authority includes −


There were two basics reasons for the formation of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law −

  • It was emphasized in the report of the Insolvency Law Committee (ILC), which had suggested adopting the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) with some adjustments to make it appropriate for the Indian context.

  • Trade leads to quicker economic development, improved living standards, and more business prospects.

Members of UNCITRAL

The number of members of UNCITRAL increased from 29 at its founding to 36 in 1973 and again to 60 in 2004. The UNCITRAL's member states represent a variety of geographical locations, legal systems, and economic development levels.

  • Twelve African states, fifteen Asian states, eighteen European states, six Latin American and Caribbean states, and one oceanic state make up the states.

  • The General Assembly chooses the countries that will make up the Commission.

History of UNCITRAL

National governments started to understand the need for a worldwide set of standards and rules to unify national and regional legislation, which had until then governed international trade, as world trade started to grow significantly in the 1960s.


Fair, contemporary, and harmonized business transactions are being developed by UNCITRAL. It contains −

  • International standards, model laws, and regulations

  • Guidelines and recommendations from the law and the legislature that are very helpful in practice

  • Information on current case law and uniform commercial law enactments

  • Aid with projects requiring technical assistance under the legislation.

  • Universal commercial law seminars at the regional and federal levels


In general, international trade provides a chance for both buyers and sellers to be exposed to new products and market environments. Globalization, multinational corporations, industrialization, advanced technology, and outsourcing have a significant impact on the world of trade and commerce. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that there are effective laws and statutes in this area that are applicable to and convincing to every member country under the WTO as well as numerous other international trade federations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. When did India become member of UNCITRAL?

Ans. UNCITRAL was established by the UN General Assembly in 1966 to promote the progressive harmonisation and unification of international trade law. India is a founding member of UNCITRAL. India is only one of eight countries which have been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception.

Q2. What is UN High Commission?

Ans. The top representative of the United Nations for human rights is the High Commissioner for Human Rights. All of OHCHR's operations and management are under the direct control of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who reports to the Secretary-General.

Q3. Does India follow UNCITRAL?

Ans. The UNCITRAL Expedited Arbitration Rules, which were adopted on July 21 and took effect on September 19, 2021, have recently come into existence. These guidelines serve as the parties' personal preferences.

Q4. What does the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law do?

Ans. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law, with a mandate to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade.

Updated on: 07-Apr-2023


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