UN members sign treaty on mediation in trade disputes

United Nations member states signed on Wednesday an international treaty aimed at resolving cross-border commercial disputes through mediation.

The UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation was approved in Singapore by 46 countries, including the United States and China.

The treaty provides the framework for businesses to settle international disputes through mediation instead of through expensive and lengthy legal court proceedings. Mediation is commonly used to settle disputes in the United States and United Kingdom, but its application is not globally accepted. 

“Uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of settlement agreements had been the main obstacle of the greater use of mediation,” said UN Legal Affairs Assistant Secretary-General Stephen Mathias.

“The convention sets the standards for enforcing and invoking settlement agreements, the requirements for reliance on settlement agreements and the grounds for refusing to grant relief.”

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the signing ceremony that the treaty will support international trade and investment.

“Today, a group of states have come together to recommit ourselves to multilateralism and to declare that we remain open for business.”

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