UNCITRAL Colloquium on Contractual Networks and Other Forms of Inter-Firm Cooperation, 25-26 March 2019, New York

UNCITRAL International Colloquium on MSMEs

Colloquium on Contractual Networks and Other Forms of Inter-Firm Cooperation

New York, 25-26 March 2019


25 March 2019

Welcome address - Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, The Secretrary, UNCITRAL

10:45-12:30: Challenges faced by MSMEs in the modern economy: reasons behind networks of MSMEs

Moderator: Ms. Jeannette Tramhel (Senior Legal Officer, Organization of American States) Moderator's powerpoint

The session aimed at setting the context for the colloquium. It introduced the main economic issues behind the desirability of tools to facilitate and foster MSME business, such as those based upon inter-firm cooperation and contractual networks. For this reason, the words “cooperation” or “networks” were understood in a broad manner and not linked to any existing legal concept. The presentations and the open discussion helped identify the main legal issues concerning MSMEs’ cooperation, which were further analyzed and discussed in the following sessions. 

15:00-17:15: Examples of Multiparty Contracts Creating Networks

Moderator: Prof. Ethan Leib (Fordham University Law School, USA)

Economic development is increasingly driving local economies towards global markets prompting business entities of all sizes to join forces to access those markets. Such strategic alliances can result in the creation of corporate entities with high level of integration among the participants or more flexible forms of contractual cooperation. In some cases, those contractual forms of cooperation present features different from the more traditional corporate or contract law approach. This session discussed examples of those contracts that lead to the creation of networks of enterprises and the corresponding forms of legal architecture behind them.


26 March 2019

10:00-12:15: Legal tools in various legal traditions to facilitate MSME business

Moderator: Prof. Sinisa Petrovic (University of Zagreb, Croatia)

This session presented how States of different geographic regions address tools to foster MSME business through cooperation. It highlighted common approaches and divergences between existing regulated systems. The focus was on the comparison of various types of inter-firm cooperation, their formation, organization and governance. Particular consideration was given to solutions enabling the creation of models of inter-firm cooperation.

15:00-16:15: Would MSMEs benefit from a uniform trade law instrument?

Moderator: Prof. Maria Chiara Malaguti (Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Italy)

Taking stock of the presentations and discussions of the two days, this session examined whether States would benefit from a uniform instrument facilitating cooperation among MSMEs. The goal was to assist UNCITRAL in determining whether this could be an area of its future work.

Would a uniform trade law instrument promote contractual cooperation among multiple MSMEs and foster their business? If so, what would be an appropriate starting point for the work and what legal issues might be addressed?

Roundtable with:

  • Ms. Jeannette Tramhel (rapporteur session 1)
  • Prof. Sheraldine Pinto, (rapporteur session 2)
  • Prof. Sinisa Petrovic (rapporteur session 3)
  • Prof. Dan Danielsen (Northeastern University, United States)

17:30-18:00 Concluding remarks from the UNCITRAL Secretariat