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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. United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods 150

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150 Part III: Electronic signatures and international contracts B. United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods I. Background The Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (commonly known as CISG) was approved on April 10, 1980 in the United Nations Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and has been opened for signature and accession as from April 11, 1980.464 Since then around 70 countries have become members of CISG, including Argentina, Germany and the United States of America.465 The goal of CISG is the unification of the rules for sale of goods contracts of international nature so as to promote international trade and remove legal barriers.466 CISG applies both to electronic and non- electronic contracts.467 CISG is the result of the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. On the very first UNCITRAL session the topic of the international sale of goods was included in the commission´s work program.468 In order to carry out the task of harmonizing the law of the international sale of goods, UNCITRAL instituted the Working Group on International Sale of Goods, which held its first session in January 1970469 and continued its work 464 UNCITRAL, Final Act of the United Nations Conference on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, Yearbook of the United Nations Commission on In- ternational Trade Law, Volume XI, 1980, (A/CONF.97/18), p. 150, para. 13. 465 UNCITRAL, Status of the United Nations Convention on the Contracts for the...

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