U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods


The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is an international treaty that provides a standardized legal framework for international commercial transactions involving the sale of goods. It was adopted by the United Nations in 1980 and came into force in 1988.

The CISG applies to contracts for the sale of goods between parties located in different countries that have ratified or acceded to the convention. Currently, there are over 90 countries that are parties to the CISG, including major trading nations such as the United States, China, Germany, and France. However, it is important to note that not all countries are party to the convention, and parties should check the status of their respective countries.

The CISG governs various aspects of international sales contracts, including the formation of contracts, obligations of the buyer and seller, remedies for breach of contract, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It establishes default rules that apply when the parties have not explicitly addressed certain issues in their contract or when their contract refers to the CISG.

The CISG provides a number of key provisions, such as the requirement of a written contract, the obligation to deliver conforming goods, the passing of risk from the seller to the buyer, the buyer’s right to inspect the goods, remedies for breach of contract (including the right to avoid the contract, claim damages, or request specific performance), and limitations on the parties’ ability to exclude or modify certain provisions of the convention.

However, it is important to note that the CISG does not apply to all types of contracts or all aspects of a contract. It does not cover the sale of services, certain types of goods (such as goods bought for personal, family, or household use), and issues related to the validity of the contract or the effect of the contract on the property rights of third parties.

When parties to an international sales contract are located in different countries that are parties to the CISG, the convention is automatically applicable unless the parties explicitly opt out of its application or choose another applicable law.

It is important for parties engaged in international sales transactions to be aware of the CISG and its provisions, as it can have significant implications for their rights and obligations under the contract. Consulting with legal professionals experienced in international trade law is recommended to ensure proper understanding and application of the CISG in specific situations.

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