Satellite Industry "Denounces" UNIDROIT Approval

Satellite Industry "Denounces" UNIDROIT Approval

Despite intense opposition, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) adopted and opened for signature a protocol that critics say could significanlty damage the global commercial communications satellite industry.

UNIDROIT adopted the protocol on March 9, 2012 at a meeting in Berlin, Germany.

In a strongly worded statement the same day, the major companies and organizations involved in the satellite communications business “denounced” the action.  Simon Twiston Davies of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) said “This new layer of supra-national law can only make the financing of new satellite projects more difficult and expensive, including those planned by developing nations to serve their citizens.”    David Hartshorn of the Global VSAT Forum added that “We hope that States will note the concerns of the global satellite industry and not ratify the protocol.”  Patricia Cooper of the U.S. Satellite Industry Association (SIA) called the action “disappointing” considering the “clear and unified opposition” of the industry.

The statement was issued by the European Satellite Operators’ Association, SIA, the Space Industry Association of Australia, the Canadian Satellite and Space Industry Forum, CASBAA, and the Global VSAT Forum.  It noted that “The global satellite sector continues to show unprecedented unity in its opposition to the UNIDROIT Space Assets Protocol.”

In December, more than 90 companies wrote to the Secretary General of UNIDROIT explaining their opposition and urging UNIDROIT to “halt your plans” to adopt it.   Those pleas clearly were not heeded.


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