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Electronic Signatures in International Contracts

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Carolina Monica Laborde

Electronic signature legislation seeks to facilitate e-commerce by providing an electronic equivalent to handwritten signatures in paper-based contracts. However, electronic signature legislation enacted in the past years in different jurisdictions has followed a dissimilar approach. In light thereof, this book analyzes the legal validity of electronic signatures in international contracts potentially subject to divergent electronic signature regulation. To this end, four major issues are addressed: the technological and legal concept of electronic signatures; the legal regulation of electronic signatures; the determination of the electronic signature legislation that will be applicable to an international contract; and, finally, the implications of applying one electronic signature law or another. The research covers the laws of Argentina, Germany and the United States of America as well as international conventions.

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B. Argentine Digital Signature Act 86

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86 Part II: Electronic signature legislation 427/1998 that excluded the use of the digital form for that type of acts. The new contracting process also contemplates the use of the Internet for the publication of invitations to bid as well as other relevant information during the contracting period (Section 32).234 As the Internet is a tool that makes information available at all times it serves the purposes of transparency and publicity, which are principles that shall govern the contracting process (Section 3). The use of the electronic form is not imposed but just given as an option. However, the public administration is obliged to receive documents relating to the contracting process which are in digital format and digitally signed (Section 21). The concrete implementation of the public electronic contracting was deferred to its regulation by each branch of the Federal Government. The Executive branch fixed a time period of 60 days in which to issue the relevant regulation and invited the Judicial and Legislative branches to enact the relevant regulation (Section 39).235 Consequently, the Senate introduced a computerized purchase system for the acquisition of homogeneous, low-cost, consumable products used regularly in large amounts.236 B. Argentine Digital Signature Act I. Legislative process of the Argentine Digital Signature Act 1. Congressional debate a) House of Representatives The digital signature bill originated in the House of Representatives (Cámara de Diputados). According to the Argentine National Constitution bills can either 234 When for reasons of national defense the contracting process is...

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