THE PHILIPPINES have submitted their instrument of ratification of a United Nations (UN) convention recognizing the use of electronic communications in commercial contracts, the Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) announced in a statement on Friday.

The instrument was deposited by the Philippine Mission to the UN in New York, the DFA said.

Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of the Philippines, Ariel R. Peñaranda, speaking at Digital Week 55e The annual session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law on Thursday called the treaty “an important step in strengthening our international trade across borders with key trading partners, some of whom are already state parties, as it ensures that the fundamental principles of e – commerce are recognized and applied across borders.

With the rateIfcation of the Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, the Philippines “will also pursue the establishment of guidelines for cross-border mutual recognition of digital signatures, electronic communications and contracts, noting that the Convention facilitates neutrality technological recognition between the parties,” Mr. Peñaranda said.

The convention, which was adopted in November 2005 and entered into force in March 2013, generalizes the use of contracts concluded and other communications exchanged electronically, recognizing them as valid and enforceable.

“RatiIfcation…sends a strong signal of the Philippines’ desire to adopt a modern and predictable legal regime for international electronic contracts. It will further strengthen our effefforts to promote cross-border transactions,” said former Secretary of Commerce Ramon M. Lopez.

Mr. Peñaranda said the signing of the convention is in line with the Philippines’ e-commerce roadmap.

The Philippines signed the convention in September 2007. It is the 16e State member of the convention and second state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ratify it.

In a 2021 United Nations global survey on digital and sustainable trade facilitation, the Philippines scored 86%, above the Southeast Asian average of 74%. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan