As an independent intergovernmental organization, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) studies methods for modernizing, harmonizing and coordinating private, and in particular, commercial law, as between States and groups of States.

With respect to legally binding instruments such as international conventions, the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts are a non-binding or "soft-law" instrument of commercial practice.

As a close partner to UNIDROIT, ICC monitored the process and appreciates its results. The lack of uniform rules creates difficulties for parties, particularly in the field of international agency agreements: They have to rely on national laws. Not only do these laws differ from country to country, but they also do not take into account the international nature of the contract.

Several ICC model contracts, including agency, distributorship and franchising, provide an alternative solution. To assist business people engaged in international trade and using uniform contractual rules, the models incorporate prevailing practice in international trade as well as the principles generally recognized by the domestic laws on agency.

The models include the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts as an appendix. Those principles offer a legal framework to the majority of general contractual problems (e.g. formation of contract, validity, performance, non-performance, damages, etc.).

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