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 93 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.
- The Jamaica International Arbitration Centre (JIAC) recently held the event, "Dispute Management in a New World", as a part of its Arbitration Week celebrations. The event celebrated CISG@40 with the panel "Force Majeure under the CISG". A recording of the session is now available for viewing here.
- The Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ) recently issued a consultation paper on the proposed application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Read the press release here. Find the consultation documents and related information here (English) and here (Chinese).The CISG was also discussed at a meeting of the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, which is available for viewing here.
- Bahrain has recently acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (2005) (the “Electronic Communications Convention”), which is relevant to the international sale of goods concluded by electronic communications. It is the fourteenth State Party to the Convention and it will enter into force for Bahrain on 1 January 2021. Read the press release here.
- Kiribati recently acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (2005) (the “Electronic Communications Convention”), which is relevant to the international sale of goods concluded by electronic communications. It is the thirteenth State Party to the Convention and it will enter into force for Kiribati on 1 November 2020. Read the press release here.
View News Archive here.
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
Hong Kong, PRC
27 October 2020
2-3 November 2020
Call for Papers
St. Petersburg, Russia
18-21 May 2021