The UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is a multilateral treaty that establishes a uniform legal regime for contracts for the cross-border sale of goods. Such sales contracts operate as the backbone of international trade, and uniform rules for sales contracts provide traders with an efficient, modern and comprehensive legal framework to support their commercial activities. Its uniform rules, specifically designed to meet the needs of cross border commerce, increase certainty in commercial transactions and decrease their costs. The CISG thus supports sustainable economic development in general, and because risks and costs are disproportionately felt by small and medium-sized enterprises, is of particular benefit in promoting cross-border commercial activities on their part.

The CISG has been adopted by 94 States from all legal traditions and levels of economic development and that together represent over two-thirds of the global economy. The UNCITRAL Secretariat is organising a series of awareness-raising events and technical assistance activities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the CISG in 2020 (“CISG@40”). The CISG@40 activities pursue several goals. One of them is to identify potential new States parties to the CISG, to support and promote the treaty adoption process, namely to accelerate the achievement of the symbolic number of 100 States parties, and to broaden CISG coverage by supporting the withdrawal of declarations and the territorial extensions for existing States parties. Secondly, as regards use in practice, the challenge is to raise awareness of the CISG’s benefits in the commercial environment and among the judiciary on its uniform interpretation. One important component of this line of activity is broadening and deepening contributors’ commitment to the Case law on UNCITRAL Texts (“CLOUT”) system and to involve new partners in the CLOUT network. In this framework, the publication in 2020 of a Guide on International Commercial Contracts (with a focus on sales) (prepared jointly by UNCITRAL, the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit) and the Hague Conference on Private International Law) stands out. Additional topics relevant for CISG@40 include the use of the CISG as a model for national law reform, the broader adoption and use of closely-related treaties such as the Limitation Convention and the Electronic Communications Convention, and matters relating to the use of the CISG in the digital economy such as the relationship between the CISG and smart contracts.

CISG@40 News

  • The Legal Guide to Uniform Instruments in the Area of International Commercial Contracts, with a Focus on Sales, jointly developed with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and UNIDROIT, is now available for viewing here. The Legal Guide is a user-friendly resource for those interested in the adoption, application and interpretation of uniform contract law, it provides an overview of key legislative texts prepared by the three sister organisations. More specifically, it features the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the HCCH Principles on Choice of Law in International Commercial Contracts and the UNIDROIT Principles on International Commercial Contracts, illustrating how these texts interact to achieve a predictable yet flexible legal framework for international trade. You are also invited to watch a video from the heads of the three organisations celebrating the launch of this wonderful resource. 

Launch of The Legal Guide to Uniform Instruments in the Area of International Commercial Contracts

  • The Journal of Law & Commerce has published a special issue containing the papers presented at a conference held in March 2019 celebrating “The CISG at Middle Age” as well as professor Harry Flechtner. Professor Flechtner is a globally-recognised CISG scholar who has worked with the UNCITRAL Secretariat on important projects such as the CISG Digest. He is also an acclaimed music composer, his most famous hit being the “CISG Song”. 

View News Archive here.

Additional Resources

The text of the CISG together with an Explanatory Note is available on the UNCITRAL website in all official United Nations languages.

The authoritative status of the CISG is available in the United Nations Treaty Collection.

The Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts (CLOUT) system contains about 1000 cases on the CISG and related texts. They are available in the CLOUT database. Moreover, the UNCITRAL Digest of Case Law on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods presents judicial and arbitral decisions in a clear, consolidated and comprehensive manner.

The UNCITRAL Library Online Catalogue contains more than 1000 citations of books, articles and other materials discussing the CISG and related texts. Materials available online include the publication “Thirty-five Years of Uniform Sales Law: Trends and Perspectives, Proceedings of the High-Level Panel held during the Forty-eighth Session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, Vienna, 6 July 2015”.

UNCITRAL has prepared other texts in the field of international sales of goods and related transactions. Among them, the Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale of Goods (New York, 1974) and the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (New York, 2005) are particularly significant.




Upcoming CISG@40 Events

CISG@40 Celebration Conference 
25 June 2021
Beijing, PRC
Video recording
Special report

The event was co-organized with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).

The Conference included 4 sessions: “Experiences and Challenges of Application of CISG in China”, “CISG — Right Solution for B&R Trade Disputes”, “E-CISG” and “Dispute Settlement Regarding Sales of Goods”. Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, the Secretary of UNCITRAL, spoke along with legal practitioners and experts from Belt & Road countries. In addition to sharing experiences in using the CISG to settle disputes in international sale of goods, speakers also explored measures for resolving trade disputes during the pandemic. The event was live-streamed with simultaneous Chinese and English interpretation. A recording of the event can be viewed here: Please find the Special Report on the CISG@40 Celebration Conference: The Application of the CISG in Chinese Arbitration by Mr. Wang Chengjie, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of CIETAC here.


本次研讨会包括四项议题:“CISG在中国适用的经验与挑战”、“CISG——为‘一带一路’贸易争议提供解决方案”、“数字经济时代的CISG”及“货物贸易的争议解决”。联合国国际贸易法委员会秘书长Anna Joubin-Bret女士和来自“一带一路”国家的法律工作者和专家作了相关发言。除分享使用CISG解决国际货物销售争议的经验外,讲者还探讨了在疫情影响下解决国际贸易纠纷的应对措施。研讨会进行了现场直播,并提供中英文同声传译。

关于活动回放,请点击观看: 关于中国国际经济贸易仲裁委员会副主任兼秘书长王承杰先生在“纪念《联合国国际货物销售合同公约》通过40周年国际研讨会”上的专题报告《〈联合国国际货物销售合同公约〉在中国仲裁的适用》,请点击查看

International Commercial Legislation: Trends and Perspectives
Doha, Qatar
2-3 November 2021
Call for Papers

The conference will celebrate the CISG@40 and will explore the following main themes: the role of UNCITRAL in the harmonization of national laws; the impact of model laws and international principles and guidelines in drafting national laws; the impact of the CISG on private transactions; and the broader adoption and use of the CISG in Arab countries.

40 años de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los contratos de compraventa internacional de mercaderías
Buenos Aires, Argentina
16 November 2021

La Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas de la Universidad del Salvador, Argentina invitó a la Secretaría de la CNUDMI a participar del Seminario sobre los 40 años de la CIM (CISG en inglés). El video del evento se encuentra aquí.

View all events here.