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.
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”.
The CISG and COVID-19. There has been a lot of discussion about the EU-AstraZeneca Advance Purchase Agreement since it was released by the EU following its dispute with Astra-Zeneca. In Global sales law in a global pandemic: The CISG as the applicable law to the EU-AstraZeneca Advance Purchase Agreement, Dr. Ben Köhler argues that the CISG is likely the applicable law for the agreement and discusses potential consequences of the CISG's application.
El 20 de enero de 2021 participó en un evento para celebrar la entrada en vigor de la CISG en Guatemala y promover su uso e interpretación uniforme. Este artículo ofrece una descripción general de la CISG desde la perspectiva de Guatemala.
A recent blog post, Africa in The Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods: Slow ratification by African countries, reviews the status of ratification of the CISG by countries in Africa. The blog post was written by Martin Gitau, an intern with tralac (Trade Law Centre) – a public benefit organisation based in the Western Cape region of South Africa that develops technical expertise and capacity in trade governance across Africa. Read the article here.
- In the most recent episode of Café Comparatum, the podcast of the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL), IACL Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Alexandre Senegacnik had a special discussion with the IACL Secretary General Prof. Diego P Fernández Arroyo and Prof. Alejandro Garro (Columbia Law School) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). Professor Garro is a member of the CISG-Advisory Council. Listen to the episode here.
- On 22 September 2020, the UNCITRAL secretariat participated in the conference hosted by UNIDROIT Secretariat on the contribution of HCCH, UNCITRAL and UNIDROIT to the harmonisation of the law of international sales, and the Tripartite Legal Guide to Uniform Legal Instruments in the Area of International Commercial Contracts (with a focus on sales). Read more about the event here. View the opening address and the three panels from the event here.
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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
Webinar del Comité Internacional de CACIF: "La CISG: un nuevo régimen legal para el comercio internacional en Guatemala", con motivo de la reciente entrada en vigor de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Contratos de Compraventa Internacional de Mercaderías (CISG) en Guatemala, el 20 de enero de 2021, 8:30-10:30 (Guatemala).
On 12 February 2021, Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara, will host the 6th Conference on International Arbitration and the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), in collaboration with the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Chamber of Commerce, Mexican Chapter (ICC Mexico) and the Charter Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB). The conference will provide an account of recent developments and necessary changes for arbitration and international contracts in a post-COVID-19 world. Panels I and II will take place in English, while Panel III will be held in Spanish.
The Asian International Arbitration Centre and AIAC Young Practitioners Group (AIAC YPG), supported by the UNCITRAL RCAP, will virtually host “Exploring The New Frontier: The Modern Landscape of International Arbitration”. The AIAC YPG virtual conference will be held on 3 March 2021, from 15:00 – 21:00 (MYT) in conjunction with the 5th AIAC [Virtual] Pre-Moot for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. The keynote will discuss how the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), other private international law instruments, and alternative dispute resolution contribute to the contemporary law of the sale of goods. Please register here. Programme can be found on the e-flyer and for any further queries, please contact email@example.com or +603-2271 1000.
International Commercial Legislation: Trends and Perspectives
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.