The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of
While we export and import all the time, we often do not realize the applicability
of the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.
This Convention standardizes international sales law which is very important
when dealing with businesses from other States. A sale falls under this
Convention when it involves parties whose places of business are in different
states (ie United States and Portugal). Another important point is that
the CISG focuses on cross-border sales of goods, and not services. The
Convention recognizes this distinction and for contracts for sale of goods
and services, it applies special rules.
As of August 2010, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International
Sale of Goods has been ratified by 77 States, including the United States.
Most of the States that ratified it are in North America, Europe, Asia
and parts of South America. Significant numbers of States in Central Asia
and Africa have not ratified it. Since the Convention offers important
legal protections, it is important to know to which businesses they apply
by virtue of where the businesses are located.
This Convention sets uniform rules on the choice of law, formation of the
contract, sale of goods, and many other provisions which enhances transparency
and predictability. In many ways, the Convention is similar to the Uniform
Commercial Code (UCC), except that it is international.
There are many important distinctions between CISG and UCC. They include
terms of acceptance, writing requirements, and 'battle of forms.'
Since the United States ratified the CISG, it takes priority over UCC
under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
It is important to understand various aspects of the United Nations Convention
on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods when engaging in international
sales, its applicability, protections, and rules. International Business
Law attorneys at
The Federal Practice Group are ready to provide legal management and guidance for your international
transactions under CISG. This information is not legal advice and it is
intended for general public information only