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Lexical Initiative for International Commerce (LIIC)

Simplifying the Path for Cross-Border Transacting

In the global trading environment, where deals can be concluded with faceless trading partners via the exchange of documents, email and conference calls, it is possible to overlook or underestimate domestic cultural and legal understanding inevitably incorporated into every transaction.

Varying interpretations of an agreement or written statements by trading partners, and even courts interpreting said agreements and writings, creates an unpredictable and potentially unstable commercial environment. The Lexical Initiative for International Commerce (LIIC) was launched by the Institute of International Commercial Law as an effort to minimize misunderstandings due to multiple interpretations of commercial language.

In particular, the LIIC is premised on the idea that one of the ways to create a stable and predictable international commercial environment is to further develop resources that ease accessibility to legal information on international commerce and foster the common understanding and application of language forming the basis of a bargain.

The LIIC is dedicated to developing such resources.

Development of Controlled Vocabularies

One such category of resource is a controlled vocabulary that could be used to organize and facilitate the retrieval of materials on international commerce. The uniform organization of information is also a powerful means to harmonize understanding of language because when people access information the same way via the same terminology, it leads to a uniform conceptualization of the terms they are using and the information they are accessing. Accordingly, creating a controlled vocabulary for international commerce will help develop an international commercial language in an apolitical manner. A type of controlled vocabulary is a thesaurus. A thesaurus contains all the possible subject headings for an index and charts the semantic relationships between the terms. Given the international scope of LIIC's focus, a more involved controlled vocabulary type, like the thesaurus, is desirable. Both monolingual and multilingual thesauri can be created. The first undertaking for the LIIC is the International Sales Law Thesaurus Project. Inspired by the paper written by Vikki M. Rogers and Albert H. Kritzer, "A Uniform Sales Law Terminology," the Thesaurus will form the structural backbone for the organization of information on international sales law, and will be the LIIC's first step towards its objective to create common understanding of language in international commerce.

For further information about the International Sales Law Thesaurus Project, click here.

For information regarding members of the LIIC Advisory Board, click here.