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The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the UN General Assembly in 1996, with the general mandate to further the progressive harmonisation and unification of the law of international trade. The Commission is composed of sixty member states elected by the General Assembly, for terms of six years.
UNCITRAL works on formulating, modernising and and harmonising rules on international commercial transactions. These include: conventions, model laws and rules which are acceptable worldwide; legal and legislative guides and recommendations of great practical value; updated information on case law and enactments of uniform commercial law; technical assistance in law reform projects; regional and national seminars on uniform commercial law.
One of the most successful and widely supported international initiatives in the field of e-commerce is the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. The focus of the Model Law is on mechanisms for the integration of e-commerce with traditional commercial law (e.g. recognising the validity of electronic documents). The Model Law has been used as the basis for e-commerce regulation in many countries.