The Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR), developed by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), aims to address a key roadblock in the transition to paperless trade: the lack of recognition of electronic transferable records (ETRs), such as e-bills of exchange, e-bills of lading, e-promissory notes, and e-warehouse receipts, in domestic legal systems. MLETR facilitates domestic and cross-border paperless trade by recognizing the legal validity of ETRs as equivalent to their paper-based counterparts. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) supports the alignment of domestic legal framework to MLETR in close collaboration with the Digital Standard Initiative (DSI), stablished and co-founded by the ADB and the Government of Singapore, and housed under the umbrella of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), to promote a globally harmonized digital trade ecosystem.
Alignment with and/or adoption of MLETR in national legislation creates an enabling environment for the digitalization and facilitation of global trade, a priority under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Integrated Trade Agenda (CITA) 2030. Technical assistance on MLETR was announced for pilot countries at the inaugural CAREC Digital Trade Forum in November 2022.
A series of capacity building sessions on MLETR for Georgia (April 2023) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (December 2022, July 2023) was organized through ADB’s CAREC Program, Trade Finance and Supply Chain Program, and Office of the General Counsel, in collaboration with UNCITRAL and the ICC.
On 28 August 2023, ADB and MOFCOM gathered over 50 government officials and private sector representatives in Beijing to enhance understanding of MLETR and its benefits and shared the experiences from jurisdictions that have already aligned -or are aligning- domestic legislative framework to the model law.
Legal recognition of electronic trade documents is critical to unlocking the benefits of paperless trade. We encourage CAREC members to align, wherever possible, their legal frameworks with UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records.