Vietnam’s UNCITRAL membership: Elevating national position

Vietnam has been elected to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) for the 2019-2025 tenure at an election during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the US, on December 18 (Hanoi time).

Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN, speaks during a session of the UN. (Photo: VNA)
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN, speaks during a session of the UN. (Photo: VNA)

* Vietnam becomes member of UN Commission on International Trade Law

A high number of votes (157 out of 193) for Vietnam on its debut as a UNCITRAL member is the recognition of the country’s active and responsible contributions to the common affairs of the international community, while demonstrating Vietnam’s increasing international prestige and position.

As the core legal body of the UN, UNCITRAL was established by the General Assembly in 1966 with the tasks of promoting the harmonisation and unification of international trade law, thus reducing obstacles for the development of global trade.

UNCITRAL has completed a large volume of work so far, with a series of recommendations, draft international conventions and resolutions, concerning the legal issues, arbitration, trade dispute reconciliation, and investment, to be submitted to the UN General Assembly for approval. UNCITRAL’s legal documents and guidelines are the basic foundation to promote international trade, which are applied by countries, businesses, investors, lawyers and arbitrators throughout the world.

With such functions and responsibilities, UNCITRAL is one of the most important UN agencies in the legal sphere and becoming a member of the Commission is of great significance to nations. The level of importance is higher for Vietnam as this is the first time it has been elected to UNCITRAL. This not only continues to reflect the level of international credibility for the country, but also marks a new success in its international legal integration process, following Vietnam’s election to the UN International Law Commission (ILC) in 2016.

According to Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung, as an official member of UNCITRAL, Viet Nam will have the chance to participate more deeply in the affairs of the Commission’s working groups, as well as in discussing the building and adopting of UNCITRAL’s recommendations. This is an opportunity for Vietnam to contribute actively and proactively to UNCITRAL’s affairs, especially getting engaged in shaping international trade regulations and laws right from the stage of discussion and negotiations in accordance with the country’s interests. This is a successful step in implementing the Party and State’s policy of enhancing international integration and multilateral cooperation in the legal field, especially participating in the building and shaping of the “common rules” at the international level.

Over the past few years, Vietnam has joined numerous international conventions, while applying many model laws and rules developed by UNCITRAL, thereby helping finalise the country’s legal system on trade. In fact, prior to becoming a UNCITRAL member, Vietnam has step by step participated as an observer, attending and actively contributing to the meetings and discussions of some of UNCITRAL’s working groups, notably the activities related to dispute resolution and institutional reforms. The efforts made by Vietnam are the basis for international friends to continue to give high credibility and elect the country to important positions within the UN framework, most recently as a member of UNCITRAL, thus creating conditions for Vietnam to further participate and contribute to the common work.

In the current process of extensive integration into the world economy, Vietnam continues to support and promote trade and investment liberalisation through its participation in negotiation, signing and implementation of a series of bilateral and multilateral agreements, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This process poses an urgent need, while providing opportunities for Vietnam to improve its laws, mechanisms and policies, thus creating favourable conditions for the strengthening of international trade.

As a UNCITRAL member, Vietnam will join nations to promote the application of the Commission’s documents, initiatives and recommendations, which will enable the country to finalise and modernise national laws on trade, thereby reducing obstacles, adequately resolving disputes, and facilitating international trade in service of sustainable development, contributing to peace, stability and common prosperity.

Vietnam’s election to UNCITRAL is an implementation step of the Party and the State’s foreign policy of actively and proactively integrating into the world, accelerating and elevating multilateral diplomacy, and applying and participating in the development of international law, aiming to raise the efficiency of external relations and promote peace and prosperity for the country and the world. The success in its first-ever candidacy for UNCITRAL membership has marked a major step forward in Vietnam’s international integration, thereby elevating the national status, while providing more vivid evidence of the international community’s recognition of Vietnam’s achievements in reforms, economic development and integration, as well as its active and effective contributions to the joint efforts for global peace and development.