Wednesday, September 3, 2008

International insolvency law (and more signs)

An interesting piece of news on the international front just crossed my desk (dated July 29, but it is a UN document, not an organization known for intemperate speed). It reports that UNCITRAL, the UN Commision on International Trade Law promulgated a model law on cross-border insolvency (1997) and a legislative guide on insolvency law (2004), among many other documents and reports. The news is that an Insolvency Law Working Group is preparing for its 35th meeting (Nov. 17 to 21 in Vienna). High on the agenda are guidelines for multinational insolvencies and corporate bankruptcy. The U.S. is a member of the 60 state working group but the American negotiators aren't identified. Here are all the UN papers and background on the project:

Pivoting to antitrust, the UN Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD) offers technical assistance on law and policy and has a draft model antitrust law. But, the UN is not in the forefront of global developments in this field. Antitrust harmonization (don't say convergence) is an important work-in-progress and some 90 national antitrust agencies established their own virtual organization outside the UN or any other supra-national entity. This group has been meeting - in person and virtually - for the past 7 years to hammer out areas of agreement, establish benchmarks and recommend consistent procedures for mergers, monopolies, cartels and other substantive issues. Gratifying progress is being made on many issues.

So, bankruptcy specialists - do you predict that the UNCITRAL model law will be influential? Is it necessary? Is UNCITRAL more authoritative in your field than UNCTAD has been in antitrust?

Finally, international signage seems to be a hobby for lots of travelers. Here are some of my favorites from China:

This apparently illustrates the proper form for falling into the lake.

It says, "Old person, children need to be led by adult to take escalator."

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