Spain became the first country to ratify the Rotterdam Rules, a new international agreement governing liability for damages to ocean cargo.
Attorney Chester D. Hooper said Spain approved the rules Jan. 19. They will take effect after 20 nations approve them. Hooper was a member of the U.S. delegation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law working group that drafted the rules.
In the U.S. the Rotterdam Rules will replace the 1936 Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, which adopted 1924 Hague Rules. The new rules account for cargo liability in multimodal freight transportation, and they modernize package limits.
Hooper said a number of European nations appear ready to ratify the new pact, but all are waiting for the U.S. to act. The Rotterdam agreement is still being reviewed by the State Department. When it comes to Senate ratification, he expressed hope the rules will be considered noncontroversial.
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