"The trend toward codifying international law is now almost one hundred years old.435 The Hague Conference on Private International Law has been meeting since 1893.436 While no supranational body can draft and enforce such unified laws without co-operation from sovereign nations, the United Nations has taken significant steps toward addressing the problem. The U.N. General Assembly established the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL") in 1966.437 [*pg 82] UNCITRAL was formed to facilitate the "progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade."438
"The key UNCITRAL project in the field of international contracting is the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods ("CISG"). 439 CISG presents a comprehensive code governing contracts for the international sale of goods, analogous to an international version of the Uniform Commercial Code.440 Currently, at least fifty-seven countries have ratified the Convention.441 Other developoments include the Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts ("CLOUT"), a reporter of UNCITRAL-based cases from around the world. [*pg 83] The goal is for CLOUT to serve as suggested interpretations for judges, arbitrators, and attorneys in countries that have ratified the Convention.442
"Perhaps the most significant development to date, from a corporate governance standpoint, has been UNCITRAL's role in the development of cross-border insolvency laws.443 The UNCITRAL Model on Cross-Border Insolvency ("Model Law"), developed in 1997, attempts to move away from the traditional notion of territoriality to that of universality in jurisdictions.444 The Model Law currently is receiving serious consideration in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. There is a bill to reform U.S. bankruptcy laws pending in the U.S. Congress. The bill incorporates the provisions of the Model Law, and the U.S. Treasury has endorsed the changes.445 [*pg 84] These developments are quite impressive, given that they have occurred so soon after the creation of the Model Law.
"Such attempts at cross-border integration of laws are not restricted to governments and multilateral institutions. Private organizations also have shown significant interest in international contracting. The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law ("UNIDROIT"),446 founded in 1926, created a set of principles for cross-border commercial contracting in 1994. The UNIDROIT principles represent the most recent and ambitious attempt to provide an example of unified contract terms that can be employed worldwide. It remains to be seen if UNIDROIT's ambitions will be fulfilled.
"Although developments such as UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT are significant steps forward, the problems that remain and the new ones that will arise cannot be minimized. Consider, for example, the attempts to harmonize corporate law in the European Union. Despite impressive convergence on a host of economic and political issues, including moving toward the adoption of a common currency, members of the European Union have been mired in discussions and disputes for almost a quarter century on the question of adoption of an E.U.-wide corporate law. Similarly, scholars have long argued for the creation of a WTO-type cross-national body for the supervision of multinational corporations and for the creation of a uniform set of corporate standards worldwide, but to little avail.447 Nationalism typically stymies such efforts.448