Satellite Industry Opposes UNIDROIT Draft Protocol

Satellite Industry Opposes UNIDROIT Draft Protocol

More than 90 companies involved in the commercial satellite sector are strongly opposing a draft international protocol that they say would add unnecessary bureaucracy and costs.

The draft “Space Assets Protocol” was developed by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT).  Based in Rome, Italy, the organization operates under a 1940 mullilateral statute to which 63 countries, including the United States, are signatory.  Its purpose is to harmonize and coordinate private law between countries and groups of countries.

In a December 9 letter to UNIDROIT’s Deputy-Secretary General, a who’s who of the commercial satellite industry charged that UNIDROIT ignored their concerns during the years the protocol was being developed:  “Indeed, the organization has consistently disregarded the views of the satellite manufacturing, operator and financing communities in the UNIDROIT meetings and drafting.”

UNIDROIT plans to ask for approval of the protocol at a February 27 – March 9, 2012 meeting in Berlin, Germany — the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of the Draft Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Space Assets.  The letter calls on UNIDROIT to “halt your plans” to adopt the draft protocol.  

The organizations signing the letter span the spectrum of the commercial satellite marketplace around the world — operators, manufacturers, launch service providers, insurers, underwriters, financiers, and trade associations.   A few of the most recognizable names are Intelsat, Inmarsat, SES, Eutelsat, Arabsat, EchoStar, Iridium, Globalstar, Asiasat, Eurasiasat, Thuraya, Telesat, Sky Perfect JSAT, Korea Telecom, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Sciences, Space Systems/Loral, Astrium, Thales/Alenia, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. Space Division, OHB, Arianespace, International Launch Services, SpaceX, Sea Launch, Aon Risk Services, Munich Reinsurance Co., Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Cable & Satellite Broadcasing Association of Asia, and the Satellite Industry Association (SIA).

SIA and three other industry associations from Europe, Australia and Canada issued a joint press release questioning why “unnecessary and totally counter-productive burdens should be placed on the satellite industry” when “governments are urging industry to create more jobs and to enable growth…”

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.