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As the world approaches the next millennium, it is astonishing to realise that only since the post World War II period has there been an increased impetus to unify and harmonise rules of international trade law.1 This is particularly surprising when one realises that uniform international trade rules benefit countries and their citizens both economically and politically.2 Perhaps the reason for the slow progress is that only in this century has there been a dramatic increase in transnational commerce3 and a reduction in State protectionism.4 Even though general principles of international trade law (known as the lex mercatoria) have been around since the middle ages,5 it has only been as a result of the more recent work of international and inter-governmental organisations, such as Uncitral,6

UNIDROIT,7 the Hague Conference,8 and various private trade associations such as the International Chamber of Commerce,9 that any documented formulation of uniform international trade rules has evolved.