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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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C. Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations 156

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156 Part III: Electronic signatures and international contracts businesses contracting with companies located in contracting states and non- contracting states of CISG because it would make it possible to apply the same rules regardless of whether the requirements of Article 1 were met.492 However, that provision was eliminated from the final draft. The arguments raised by Germany and Norway addressed the fear that contracting parties may designate CISG as the applicable law to a pure domestic contract derogating mandatory provisions.493 It should be noted that under the Rome Convention the choice of a foreign law in a domestic contract is currently possible in EU member states but the mandatory rules of the country which the domestic contract is related to are safeguarded (Article 3.3). C. Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations I. Background The Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations,494 also known as the Rome Convention, was approved on June 19, 1980 and entered into force almost eleven years later, on April 1, 1991.495 The Rome Convention sets forth the rules of private international law on contractual matters for the EU member states.496 Its rules apply both to paper as well as to electronic International Trade Law, 1971, Volume П, (A/CN.9/52), pp. 52 para. 13 and pp. 54-55, para. 36-42. 492 UNCITRAL, Commentary on the draft convention on the International Sale of Goods, Yearbook of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Volume VII, 1976, (A/CN.9/116, annex II), p. 99. 493 UNCITRAL, Comments by Governments...

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